Lawmakers Seek Update From DOJ on Avenatti, Swetnick Criminal Referrals: What Have You Done?
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, was among the lawmakers writing to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Oct. 8, wondering what the department has done with criminal referrals made in the wake of the hearings.
Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court but the hearings included a slew of sexual assault allegations, none of which were proven and many of which definitively debunked.
Grassley referred attorney Michael Avenatti and Julie Swetnick, an Avenatti client who accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, for a criminal probe in October 2018, asserting that both conspired to lie to Congress and obstruct an investigation.
Swetnick changed major parts of her story about Kavanaugh during a television interview. NBC came forward after Grassley made the referral with information that rebutted Swetnicks account. The network held the information for nearly one month.
In the new letter to the DOJ and the FBI, Grassley and other lawmakers, including current Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), asked Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray whats been done in the wake of the referrals. There were four referrals in total.
— Sen. Grassley Press (@GrassleyPress) October 8, 2019
“These criminal referrals were not made lightly. In each of the aforementioned cases, the referred individual(s) made false allegations against then-Judge Kavanaugh. These allegations were taken seriously and carefully investigated by Committee staff, resulting in the diversion of significant resources,” they wrote.
The other two referrals were about a man who initially claimed he witnessed Kavanaugh and a friend assault someone on a boat in Rhode Island but later recanted and apologized, and a woman who claimed she was assaulted in a car by Kavanaugh and a friend but later admitted she made the claim “as a way to grab attention.”
“When individuals intentionally mislead the Committee, they divert important Committee resources during time-sensitive investigations and materially impede its work. Such acts are not only unfair; they are potentially illegal. It is illegal to make materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements to Congressional investigators. It is illegal to obstruct Committee investigations,” the lawmakers wrote to Barr and Wray.
“It is important to protect the constitutional process from being hijacked by bad actors involved in insidious partisan operations. The Committee can bring bad actors to the attention of law enforcement and the American people by being as transparent as possible about its investigative findings. However, it is up to the FBI and the DOJ to hold those who mislead Congress acRead More – Source