Klobuchar Seeks More Info on Kavanaugh Investigation

Minnesota Democratic senator and presidential candidateAmy Klobuchar has asked Attorney General William Barr and White House counsel Pat Cipollone for more information on the FBI investigation into then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

That comes after the New York Times reported about a sexual misconduct claim against Justice Kavanaugh related to his conduct in college, one that the FBI apparently did not investigate. The FBI investigation of Kavanaugh was essentially a background check for his Supreme Court post rather than a criminal investigation.

The New York Times has subsequently corrected the original story with the information that the object of the incident did not recall it. It also apologized for a tweet promoting its story on social media.

That was enough to cause the President to defend Kavanaugh and call the Times fake news, but did not dissuade Klobuchar from trying to get to the bottom of the incident.

“The Committee and the Senate relied on the White House to oversee that the FBI conducted a thorough investigation to enable us to perform our constitutional responsibility to provide advice and consent on a lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court," she said Monday (Sept. 16). "Recent reports have again cast doubts on the completeness of the investigative process, raising additional questions as to whether certain information was followed up on and whether potential witnesses were interviewed," she wrote in a letter to the pair.

What she is asking for is:

1. "All communications between the White House and the FBI regarding the scope of the background investigation and supplemental background investigation.

2. "A list of witnesses interviewed in the course of the background investigation and supplemental background investigation, the dates on which they were interviewed, and any recordings, notes, or memoranda about the interviews.

3. "All underlying investigative materials provided for inspection by the members and staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee."

Klobuchar, Barr and Kavanaugh are all familiar players in the communications community.

Klobuchar has been a big backer of more cost-effective broadband deployment and a big critic of media mergers.

Barr is a former Verizon Communications executive and a member of the Time Warner board.

As a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Kavanaugh dealt with a host of high-profile communications issues, including supporting ISPs' petition for a full-court rehearing of the court's decision upholding the FCC's Title II reclassification of internet access service. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.