Sen. Dianne Feinstein — the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee and one of Brett Kavanaugh’s biggest critics during his confirmation hearings last week — has passed along secret information about the judge to federal investigators.
In a cryptic statement Thursday, Feinstein said: “I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. 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.”
Feinstein’s announcement comes on the heels of the Supreme Court nominee responding to more than 1,000 written questions by Democrats regarding his personal finances and judicial opinions.
Kavanaugh, if confirmed, would tilt the Court more conservative, and would cement President Donald Trump’s second conservative pick to the high court.
The information Feinstein handed over could possibly be regarding a potential sexual misconduct case between Kavanaugh, now 53, and a female peer when they were in high school, two people familiar told the New York Times. Whatever Feinstein, of California, is offering to investigators comes just a week before the Senate Judiciary Committee votes on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the high court. Democrats unsuccessfully tried to halt or postpone confirmation proceedings last week, saying they lacked information because Republicans withheld documents relating to Kavanaugh’s tenure as staff secretary in the George W. Bush White House. Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, has been releasing a barrage of documents considered “committee confidential” on Twitter.
“Throughout his confirmation process, Judge Kavanaugh has had 65 meetings with senators — including Sen. Feinstein — sat through over 30 hours of testimony, addressed over 2,000 questions in a public setting and additional questions in a confidential session. Not until the eve of his confirmation has Senator Feinstein or anyone raised the specter of new ‘information’ about him,” White House spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told the Times, adding, “Senator Schumer promised to ‘oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have,’ and it appears he is delivering with this 11th-hour attempt to delay his confirmation.”
The mysterious information Feinstein has was first relayed to her by Rep. Anna Eshoo, a fellow Democrat from California, according to the Times. Feinstein received that letter over the summer and told other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee about it on Wednesday evening, the Times reports. The letter was not shared with the committee’s chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa.
“This has all the indicators of an 11th hour character assassination and a desperate attempt to delay and defeat the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh, who has a sterling reputation in his community, his profession, his church and among hundreds of friends, colleagues and co-workers,” Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director at Judicial Crisis Network said in a statement. “Judge Kavanaugh submitted a questionnaire of over 17,000 pages, participated in two full days of public Senate hearings as well as a private session to discuss his background, and then he answered an additional 1,200 follow-up questions. We look forward to his prompt confirmation to the Supreme Court.”
During the customary grilling before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Kavanaugh fielded questions from Feinstein about his views on Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion access nationwide, and gun control.