WASHINGTON — Explosive revelations that the FBI never interviewed witnesses in one of the sexual abuse allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is prompting the House Judiciary Committee to consider options for addressing the lapse, at a minimum grilling FBI Director Christopher Wray about it next month, a committee source told the Daily News.
According to a forthcoming book on Kavanaugh and his controversial confirmation in the Senate, the FBI interviewed Deborah Ramirez about her charge that the future judge exposed himself to her at a college party. But the bureau never followed up with witnesses.
During his confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh adamantly denied Ramirez’s claims, as well as those levied by Christine Blasey Ford that he assaulted her in high school. Kavanaugh argued that if he’d exposed himself to the religious freshman Ramirez, it would have been the talk of Yale.
The new book by New York Times reporters suggests the incident probably was widely discussed, and reveals witnesses who back Ramirez's version of events, as well as the fact that dozens of people offered tips to the FBI that were not pursued.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler told WNYC on Monday morning that the issue would not be fodder for a new impeachment probe against Kavanaugh while the committee was busy investigating President Trump. But a Judiciary Committee aide said Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn) would question Wray at its October hearing to see if the administration tried to sway the bureau’s work.
"We will question Wray on their investigation and whether the White House pressured them," the aide said. "That would be a potential abuse of power and relevant for our larger work."
The committee’s larger work these days is not just oversight of the FBI, but investigating whether to recommend impeaching Trump.
Nadler also told WNYC's Brian Lehrer the Wray hearing could be of great interest to the Senate.
“These deeds that [Kavanaugh] allegedly did years ago would be very relevant to a senator voting for or against his nomination,” Nadler said.
Progressive activists have been pushing Nadler since the spring to get more aggressive with Kavanaugh, demanding that Nadler obtain millions of documents from the National Archives concerning Kavanaugh's past White House work.
Nadler requested the documents this summer, but told The News recently that he has not received any of the records yet.
Activists have also been hammering to dig back into the Kavanaugh probe, which, despite Nadler's downplaying the possibility Monday, looks more likely now, if only in relation to possible tampering by the White House.
While Nadler brushed off the idea of a Supreme Court impeachment, the new revelations have sparked calls for it.
Brian Fallon, who runs the liberal judicial activist group Demand Justice, argued that Congress should at least be looking at whether Kavanaugh lied under oath about misbehavior, whether the National Archives documents reveal any lies about his White House work, and why the FBI investigation stopped short, among other other issues.
“You have multiple tacks that ought to be investigated, any of which could be a basis for impeachment or a referral to the Justice Department,” Fallon said. "Even if they won’t take a vote to launch an impeachment proceeding, they damn well better pursue all theses lines of inquires — you shouldn’t rule out an impeachment proceeding until you’ve pursued all of this.”
Nadler’s primary opponent, Lindsey Boylan, called for impeachment over the weekend.