The FBI is facing allegations that the background check on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018 was “politically-constrained and perhaps fake.”

The 2018 background check was conducted after a woman accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, outlined his concerns on Monday in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland. He argued that there’s reason to believe the FBI did not properly manage its investigation and overlooked several potential witnesses.

“If standard procedures were violated, and the Bureau conducted a fake investigation rather than a sincere, thorough and professional one, that in my view merits congressional oversight to understand how, why, and at whose behest and with whose knowledge or connivance, this was done,” Whitehouse wrote. “The FBI ‘stonewall of all questions related to this episode provides little reassurance of its property.”

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Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school. After the testimony, multiple witnesses, including some represented by law firms, reached out to the FBI, saying they could corroborate her allegations, Whitehouse said. However, those witnesses said they could not get through to the bureau and asked senators for help.

Whitehouse said those lawmakers found that the FBI had “assigned no person to accept or gather evidence.”

“This was unique behavior in my experience, as the Bureau is usually amenable to information and evidence; but in this matter, the shutters were closed, the drawbridge drawn up, and there was no point of entry by which members of the public or Congress could provide information to the FBI,” Whitehouse wrote.

Whitehouse also claimed that the FBI offered a tip line for potential witnesses to call in about Kavanaugh that provided no transparency about how it manages and vetted that calls that came through.

This is not the first time Whitehouse, who was formerly a U.S. attorney, raised this issue. In 2019, he wrote there was “one warning flag after another” during the FBI investigation of Kavanaugh.

Progressive groups such as the Center for Popular Democracy Action (CPDA) supported Whitehouse on his claims.

“Senator Whitehouse is right to question the FBI’s rushed probe of Brett Kavanaugh when he was a Supreme Court nominee,” the CPDA said in a statement. “The purpose of the prove was never to uncover the truth. It was to present evidence that would advance the Trump administration’s agenda.”

Whitehouse’s letter outlined four additional instances of alleged FBI impropriety unrelated to the Kavanaugh investigation. FBI Director Christopher Wray, who former President Donald Trump nominated, could face uncomfortable questions if the attorney general decides to proceed with a probe.

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