The FBI has revealed that it received over 4,500 phone line tips in 2018 during the background investigation of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. However, the FBI only provided “relevant” ones to former President Donald Trump‘s White House counsel.

In response to a two-year-old request by Senate Democrats for more information about the background investigation, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) released a letter on June 30, disclosing the exact number of tips the FBI received about Kavanaugh.

This news sparked a new wave of outrage among Democrats who claim that the FBI and the Trump administration failed to thoroughly examine allegations against Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh’s most notable accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, alleged that he assaulted her at a party when they were in high school. Though this allegation nearly derailed Kavanaugh’s confirmation, he was eventually confirmed 50-48.


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According to Assistant FBI Director Jill Tyson, the Kavanaugh investigation was unprecedented in that it was the first time the FBI set up a phone tip line for a nominee undergoing Senate confirmation.

Tyson claims that “relevant” information was provided to the White House Counsel Don McGahn.

Though Tyson said that the FBI must serve as an “investigative service provider” for background investigations, she noted that it did not conduct a criminal investigation of Kavanaugh.

She added that the FBI does not reopen background investigations unless it is “specifically instructed to do so by the requesting entity.”

“The authorities, policies and procedures relied on by the FBI to conduct [background investigations] are not the same as the authorities, policies, and procedures used to investigate criminal matters,” she said.

In response to Tyson, Whitehouse, alongside six other Democratic senators, wrote in a letter to the FBI. “The admissions in your letter corroborate and explain numerous credible accounts by individuals and firms that they had contacted the FBI with information ‘highly relevant to . . . allegations’ of sexual misconduct by Justice Kavanaugh, only to be ignored,” the senators wrote. “If the FBI was not authorized to or did not follow up on any of the tips that it received from the tip line, it is difficult to understand the point of having a tip line at all.”

Ford’s attorneys, Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, have also weighed in on the matter, calling the FBI investigation of Kavanaugh a “sham and a major institutional failure.”

“Instead it handed the information over to the White House, allowing those who supported Kavanaugh to falsely claim that the FBI found no wrongdoing,” Katz and Banks said in a statement.

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