Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) wants an investigation into who leaked Dr. Christine Blasey Ford‘s July letter, in which she claimed Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s.
“I think it clearly was, honestly, a despicable thing to do to Dr. Ford,” he told POLITICO in a Sunday report. “And it kind of underscored the tactics that have been used: It started in committee and then went straight out into the public.”
It’s unclear if this request will gain traction among his Republican colleagues. Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told the outlet he is still thinking about it.
“I’ve got some people on my committee that feel strongly about following up on the leak and all that stuff,” he said. “I’ll have a conversation with them.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), the Senate Minority Whip, gave a similar answer. He said it would be worth probing “to the extent something improper may have been done, depending on who had the custody of the letter and what their motives were.”
Kavanaugh denied the allegation. Ford’s letter, to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), was first reported by The Intercept. She had asked that this story stay confidential “until we have further opportunity to speak.”
Ford first went public in a mid-September interview with The Washington Post, telling that outlet that she had decided in August not to step forward. She decided to finally talk after hearing false statements about her and feeling that her privacy was eroding.
Ryan Grim, who wrote that Intercept report, said neither Feinstein nor her staff leaked it.
Nor did she or her staff leak the existence of the letter to The Intercept. After our story, she turned it over to the FBI, which placed it in his background file, which meant that it became widely available and soon after it was leaked to CNN
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) September 27, 2018
Ford’s testimony before the Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27 was well received, and Republicans did not publicly tear into her after the fact. Nonetheless, they tended to insist that an FBI investigation into the matter didn’t discover any corroborating evidence. Critics of the process argued that the probe was rushed (only a week long), and agents didn’t contact all possible witnesses willing to talk.
GOP Senators took to arguing that Ford, while credible, might have had it wrong.
“I believe that she believes what she testified to,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said on State of the Union, but added she doesn’t think that Kavanaugh was the assailant.
[Image via Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images]
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