The Senate Judiciary Committee on Saturday asked the FBI to investigate a person who allegedly gave "false statements" to the committee alleging "misconduct" by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
What are the details?
According to a letter Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray, a Rhode Island man contacted Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) on Sept. 24 claiming to possess new allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh.
The man claimed Kavanaugh assaulted a woman in August 1985 on a boat in the Newport harbor. Grassley said the committee took the allegations seriously, and questioned Kavanaugh about them on Sept. 25. Of course, Kavanaugh denied the allegations. Then, after the allegations were made public, the man who reported them recanted his story via social media on Sept. 26. The tomfoolery diverted valuable committee resources and slowed the process of Kavanaugh's confirmation, Grassley said.
Grassley said the man's actions were potentially illegal.
"The Committee is grateful to citizens who come forward with relevant information in good faith, even if they are not one hundred percent sure about what they know. But when individuals provide fabricated allegations to the Committee, diverting Committee resources during time-sensitive investigations, it materially impedes our work," Grassley said.
"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," he added.
The identity of the man who provided the false claims is not clear. The man's name was redacted from Grassley's letter.
Why is this significant?
Kavanaugh vehemently denies each allegation against him. Attached to Grassley's letter was a transcript detailing Kavanaugh's denials when questioned about the additional allegations last Tuesday. The revelation that one of the allegations was fabricated adds casts additional doubt on the other allegations. While we may never know for sure, it's easier to doubt the allegations when others have certainly been pulled out of thin air.