September 26, 2018

Summary of Actions by Chairman Grassley and the Senate Judiciary Committee Related to Allegations Made and Disputed Regarding Judge Brett Kavanaugh

A 38-year member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chairman Grassley has worked to secure a thorough, credible and effective committee process as the U.S. Senate meets its constitutional duty of advice and consent in considering the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Grassley reopened the hearing after four days and 32 hours of testimony from the nominee during the week of September 4, including a closed session available to all Judiciary Committee members to scrutinize any issues or concerns about the nominee that involve confidentiality. Chairman Grassley has planned a hearing day scheduled for September 27 to give a fair and professional forum for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford to share allegations she made about the nominee in a July 30 letter and subsequently in a September 16 newspaper story, and for the nominee to respond to questions and address those allegations.
 
Additionally, Chairman Grassley has conducted extensive review and investigation of the allegations made by Dr. Ford and comments and statements made by others both in news media reports and in messages to other senators that have been given to the Judiciary Committee. A description of those efforts is provided here.
 
July 30
·         Dr. Ford drafts letter to Sen. Feinstein.
Thursday,
September 13
·         Sen. Feinstein transmits Dr. Ford’s letter to the FBI.
·         Sen. Feinstein tells Sen. Grassley of the existence of Dr. Ford’s letter after the Committee Executive Business Meeting to hold over the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
·         Contents of letter leak to media.
Friday, September 14
·         New Yorker publishes substance of Dr. Ford’s allegations, but does not identify her by name.
·         Mark Judge interviews with Weekly Standard and denies Dr. Ford’s allegations.
Sunday,
September 16
·         Washington Post publishes article containing Dr. Ford’s allegations and her identity. Dr. Ford names Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge as perpetrators and identifies two other individuals at party who are unnamed in Washington Post article.  Washington Post says that four boys and Dr. Ford attended the party.
·         Sen. Grassley learns Dr. Ford’s identity from Washington Post report.
·         Sen. Grassley instructs staff to begin investigation.
Monday,
September 17
·         Dr. Ford’s counsel appears on morning shows saying her client wants public hearing to tell her story.
·         Sen. Grassley invites Sen. Feinstein’s staff to join the staff interview of Judge Kavanaugh, Dr. Ford and other witnesses in a member-level phone call. Sen. Feinstein declined to have her staff participate in the routine follow-up calls when new information is provided to the Committee from the FBI for the nominee’s background file.
·         CNN publishes redacted version of letter originally sent by Dr. Ford to Ranking Member.
·         Committee notices hearing for following Monday, September 24 and invites Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh to testify.
·         Committee investigative staff sent three emails to Dr. Ford’s lawyers with no response.
·         Committee investigative staff requests interviews with Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh with Republican and Democratic investigators.
·         Judge Kavanaugh submits to interview with Republican staff. Democratic staff refuses to participate in interview. Judge Kavanaugh asks for a hearing as soon as possible.
·         Dr. Ford does not submit to interview.
Tuesday,
September 18
·         Committee investigative staff sent an additional email and placed two additional phone calls to Dr. Ford’s lawyers with no response.
·         Committee investigative staff contacts Mark Judge and requests an interview.
·         Committee investigative staff learns identity of two witnesses identified by Dr. Ford but not named in Washington Post article—Patrick J. Smyth and Leland Ingham Keyser—and requests interviews.
·         Counsel for Mark Judge submits statement from Mark Judge in which he denies knowledge of party described by Dr. Ford and states he “never saw Brett act in the manner described by Dr. Ford.” He further states he has no other information to offer the Committee and does not wish to speak publicly regarding the allegations.
·         Counsel for Mr. Smyth submits statement from Mr. Smyth in which he denies any knowledge of the party described by Dr. Ford or of the allegations of improper conduct. He also states he “never witnessed any improper conduct by Brett Kavanaugh towards women.” He asks that the Committee accept the statement in response to any inquiry it has.
·         As far as we know, Democratic staff did not reach out to these witnesses.
·         At 7:57 p.m. Sen. Grassley hears from Dr. Ford’s attorney for the first time. Dr. Ford’s attorney submits letter to Sen. Grassley asking for a delay in the hearing. She does not address Committee’s request for interview with investigative staff.
·         Contemporaneously with the release of the letter, Dr. Ford’s attorney appears on a cable news show asking for hearing to be delayed.
Wednesday,
September 19
·         Sen. Grassley sends letter to Dr. Ford’s attorney that offers Dr. Ford the opportunity for a public or private hearing.
·         Sen. Grassley reiterates request that Dr. Ford agree to an interview with Committee investigative staff. Dr. Ford’s attorneys do not respond to request.
Thursday,
September 20
·         Committee staff has phone call with Dr. Ford’s attorneys regarding the conditions under which she would testify before the Committee.  Committee staff offers a public hearing, a private hearing, a public staff interview, or a private staff interview.
·         Sen. Feinstein’s staff gives unredacted copy of Dr. Ford’s letter to Sen. Grassley’s staff after Sen. Grassley requested access and had yet to see unredacted version of the July 30 letter.
Friday,
September 21
·         Committee staff reiterates request that Dr. Ford agree to an interview with Committee investigative staff. Committee staff offers to fly to California to obtain testimony. Dr. Ford’s attorneys do not respond to request.
·         Committee staff again reaches out to Ms. Keyser requesting an opportunity to conduct an interview regarding Dr. Ford’s allegations.
·         Dr. Ford’s attorneys asked on Thursday call with staff that their 10 a.m. deadline for accepting the Judiciary Committee’s invitation to testify at the September 24 hearing be extended. Sen. Grassley accommodated their request and extends to Friday at 5 p.m.
·         Sen. Grassley again extends Dr. Ford’s invitation to the hearing to 10 p.m. Friday.
·         Sen. Grassley responds to Dr. Ford’s attorney’s “modest proposal” for an additional day and extends the deadline to accept Dr. Ford’s invitation for the hearing by 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. This was the third extension to accommodate Dr. Ford’s decision to appear before the Committee.
Saturday,
September 22
·         Counsel for Ms. Keyser—the fourth witness named by Dr. Ford and her “lifelong friend”—submits statement from Ms. Keyser in which she denies any knowledge of the party described by Dr. Ford. She further states she doesn’t know Judge Kavanaugh and doesn’t recall ever being at a party with him.
·         Dr. Ford accepts invitation to appear before the Committee, but pending further negotiations.
Sunday,
September 23
·         Dr. Ford’s attorneys agree that Dr. Ford will appear at a public hearing on Thursday, September 27.
·         Committee staff sends to Dr. Ford’s and Judge Kavanaugh’s lawyers requests for the submission of relevant evidence in advance of the hearing.
·         Michael Avenatti tweets that he has a client with allegations and evidence implicating Judge Kavanaugh.
·         Within minutes, Committee staff reaches out to Mr. Avenatti to request client’s allegations and evidence. Mr. Avenatti declines to provide any allegations or evidence.
·         New Yorker publishes article containing allegations made by Deborah Ramirez that Judge Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a college party.
·         Committee staff reaches out to Ms. Ramirez’s attorney within hours of the article’s publication and requests an interview with Ms. Ramirez.
Monday,
September 24
·         Committee staff makes three more requests for any statement, testimony, or evidence from Ms. Ramirez. Ms. Ramirez’s attorneys decline to submit such materials.
·         Two Senate offices refer additional allegations to Committee staff.  The first is an anonymous allegation in a letter given to the Chairman by Senator Gardner, posted from Denver.  The letter claims that Judge Kavanaugh once forcefully and “sexually” shoved a woman he was dating into a wall at a bar in 1998. The second is an allegation from a man (whose name Senator Whitehouse has demanded we keep from the public) in Rhode Island relayed to Committee staff by Senator Whitehouse’s staff. The Rhode Island man claims that two men named “Brett and Mark” raped a woman on a boat in Newport in 1985, after which the man making the allegation claims he and a friend beat up “Brett and Mark.” 
·         Committee staff request an interview with Judge Kavanaugh to question him regarding the allegations raised by Ms. Ramirez, Mr. Avenatti, the anonymous Denver letter, and the Rhode Island man.  
·         Committee staff again requests Mr. Avenatti shares his client’s allegations and evidence. Mr. Avenatti declines to provide any allegations or evidence.
·         Committee staff have first interview with a man who believes he, not Judge Kavanaugh, had the encounter with Dr. Ford in 1982 that is the basis of his complaint.  He submitted a written statement earlier in the day.
Tuesday,
September 25
·         Committee investigative staff interview Judge Kavanaugh for approximately 90 minutes regarding Ms. Ramirez’s allegations in the New Yorker and the allegations received by two Senate offices. For the first time, Democratic staff attended the call, but expressly declined to ask Judge Kavanaugh any questions.  Judge Kavanaugh denies each allegation.
·         Committee staff makes three more requests for any statement, testimony, or evidence from Ms. Ramirez. Ms. Ramirez’s attorneys decline to submit such materials.
·         The Committee receives from Senator Harris an anonymous letter, postmarked 9/19 and signed “Jane Doe, Oceanside CA,” alleging that Judge Kavanaugh and others raped the author in the backseat of a car.  The letter does not identify place, date, or the identity of the alleged accomplices.  
·         Committee staff have a second interview with a man who believes he, not Judge Kavanaugh, had the encounter with Dr. Ford in the summer of 1982 that is the basis of her allegation.  He described his recollection of their interaction in some detail.
·         Committee staff interviewed a former Georgetown Prep student who was familiar with “party houses” in the Columbia Country Club area during the time in question and knew Judge Kavanaugh. He spoke in support of Kavanaugh’s good character.
·         After that interview, Committee staff interviewed that man again along with another person who knew Judge Kavanaugh in the 80s and was familiar with the houses at which Georgetown Prep students partied during the 1980s. Both spoke in favor of Kavanaugh and to his strength of character. Committee staff requested to speak another person they suggested contacting.
·         Committee staff received a statement from another classmate of Kavanaugh at Georgetown Prep who provided information about the captions in the yearbooks. Committee investigative staff also have received additional information, including regarding the characters of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh, have followed up on each one, and will continue to do so. 
Wednesday, September 26
·         Committee staff receives statement from Julie Swetnick, represented by Mr. Avenatti.
·         Committee staff responds asking that Ms. Swetnick be made available for an interview with committee staff. Mr. Avenatti returns an email, but does not respond to this request.
·         Committee staff follows up with Mr. Avenatti twice more asking that Ms. Swetnick be made available for an interview.
·         Committee investigative staff questions Judge Kavanaugh a third time this week on the allegations contained in the statement provided by Mr. Avenatti, along with any anonymous allegations made by a purported resident of San Diego.
·         Committee investigative staff spoke with a friend of Ms. Swetnick about her allegations and any related information. The friend indicated that Ms. Swetnick had never previously mentioned either Judge Kavanaugh or this alleged incident.
·         Committee staff receives a more in-depth written statement from the man interviewed twice previously who believes he, not Judge Kavanuagh, had an encounter with Dr. Ford.
·         Committee investigative staff spoke via phone with another man who believes he, not Judge Kavanuagh, had an encounter with Dr. Ford in 1982 that is the basis of her allegation.  He explained his recollection of the details of the encounter.
·         Committee investigative staff spoke via phone with a former classmate who provided information about the captions in the yearbooks, explaining they were innocuous but sometimes insensitive inside jokes. 
·         Committee staff interviewed Judge Kavanaugh via phone for a third time about the allegations against him. He emphatically, categorically and unequivocally denied each of them. Democratic staff was present, but refused to ask questions.
 
**Committee investigation is ongoing. This document details investigative action through 9:00 PM, September 26.
 
Witnesses provided categorical, unequivocal statements denying any memory of events matching Dr. Ford’s allegations.  Lying in those statements is punishable under the same federal law as lying in an interview with other federal investigators. Given that the witnesses’ statements were categorical, an interview or deposition was unlikely to reveal any new information.  The Democrats, of course, have not even joined the chairman’s requests for witness interviews. 
 
Background of Secret Evidence
 
On July 9, 2018, the President announced Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Kavanaugh has served on the most important federal appellate court in the country for the last 12 years. Before that, he held some of the most sensitive positions in the federal government. The President added Judge Kavanaugh to his short list for the Supreme Court more than 9 months ago – on November 17, 2017. As part of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the FBI conducted its 6th full-field background investigation of Judge Kavanaugh since 1993 – 25 years ago. Nowhere in any of these 6 FBI reports, which committee investigators have reviewed on a bipartisan basis, was there ever a whiff of any issue – at all – related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior.
 
Dr. Ford first raised her allegations in a secret letter to the Ranking Member nearly two months ago in July. The Ranking Member took no action. The letter wasn’t shared with the Chairman, his colleagues, or his staff. These allegations could have been investigated in a way that maintained the confidentiality Dr. Ford requested.
 
Before his hearing, Judge Kavanaugh met privately with 65 senators, including the Ranking Member. But the Ranking Member didn’t ask Judge Kavanaugh about the allegations when she met with him privately in August. The Senate Judiciary Committee held its 4-day public hearing from September 4 to September 7, 2018. Judge Kavanaugh testified for more than 32 hours in public. The committee held a closed session for members to ask sensitive questions on the last evening, which the Ranking Member did not attend. Judge Kavanaugh answered nearly 1,300 written questions submitted by senators after the hearing – more than all prior Supreme Court nominees combined. Throughout this period, the Chairman did not know about the Ranking Member’s secret evidence.
 
Only at the eleventh hour, on the eve of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote, did the Ranking Member refer the allegations to the FBI. And then the allegations were leaked to the press. This is a shameful way to treat Dr. Ford, who insisted on confidentiality, and Judge Kavanaugh, who has had to address these allegations in the midst of a media circus.
 
When the Chairman received Dr. Ford’s letter on September 13, he and his staff recognized the seriousness of these allegations and immediately began the Committee’s investigation, consistent with the way the Committee has handled such allegations in the past. Every step of the way, the Democratic side refused to participate in what should’ve been a bipartisan investigation. 
 
After Dr. Ford’s identity became public, the Chairman’s staff contacted all of the individuals she said attended the 1982 party described in the Washington Post article. Judge Kavanaugh immediately submitted to an interview under penalty of felony for any knowingly false statements. He denied the allegations categorically. Democratic staff was invited to participate—and could’ve asked any questions—but they declined.
 
The Chairman’s staff contacted the other individuals allegedly at the party—Mark Judge, Patrick J. Smyth and Leland Ingham Keyser. All three submitted statements to the Senate under penalty of felony denying any knowledge of the events described by Dr. Ford. Dr. Ford’s lifelong friend, Ms. Keyser, stated she doesn’t know Judge Kavanaugh and doesn’t recall ever attending a party with him.
 
The Chairman’s staff made repeated requests to interview Dr. Ford during the past eleven days, even volunteering to fly to California to take her testimony. But her attorneys refused to present her allegations to Congress. The Chairman nevertheless honored her request for a public hearing, so Dr. Ford today has the opportunity to present her allegations under oath.