Democrats in the Senate are questioning the FBI’s handling of the Kavanaugh investigation tip line.

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On Thursday, a group of Senate Democrats asked the FBI to look into sexual assault and misconduct allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, after the agency said it received more than 4,500 tips about the investigation.

The members of the Senate Judiciary Committee led by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Chris Coons, D-Del., wrote in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray alleging that details of the investigation shared in a June 30 letter by Jill Tyson, assistant FBI director, showed the agency was politically influenced.

“Your letter confirms that the FBI’s tip line was a departure from past practice and that the FBI was politically constrained by the Trump White House. It also belies the former president’s insistence that his administration did not limit the Bureau’s investigation of Justice Kavanaugh and his claim that he ‘want[ed] the FBI to interview whoever [sic] they deem appropriate, at their discretion,” they wrote.

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The senators wrote that the FBI received over 4,500 tips but failed to explain how the tips were evaluated and eventually categorised as relevant “corroborates and explains numerous credible accounts” of people who said they contacted the FBI with information but were ignored.

“If the FBI was not authorized to or did not follow up on any of the tips that it received from the tip line, it is difficult to understand the point of having a tip line at all,” the lawmakers wrote.

The lawmakers also asked the FBI to respond by Aug. 31 if it was directed not to interview Kavanaugh or his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, by former President Donald Trump’s White House.

In April, Whitehouse requested a congressional review of the investigation, accusing the FBI of conducting “a fake investigation,” failing to follow up on leads related to the allegations, and failing to provide transparency about the information received through the tip line.

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