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Feinstein asks FBI to review letter involving Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh

Jennifer Haberkorn, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- A letter reportedly alleging a decades-old incident involving Brett Kavanaugh has been referred to the FBI for review, according to two Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is considering President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court.

The letter originally was given to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the senior Democrat on the committee. She declined to release it publicly, and its details remain unclear.

"I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court," Feinstein said in a statement. "That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities."

"This matter has been referred to the FBI for review," Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., another member of the committee, told the Los Angeles Times. He also declined to reveal the contents of the letter.

Anyone can make a referral to the FBI and it does not mean Kavanaugh is under federal investigation.

His nomination is under intense scrutiny by Democrats who argue Kavanaugh would be the fifth solid conservative justice on the Supreme Court, a lock for Republican priorities such as scaling back abortion rights.

The existence of the letter was first reported by the Intercept, an online news publication. It said the letter apparently describes an incident involving Kavanaugh and a young woman while they were in high school, but included no details.

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Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have privately expressed frustration that they were not able to review the letter, according to several sources.

Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee refused to discuss it Thursday after a hearing in which a vote on Kavanaugh's nomination was postponed until Sept. 20.

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