Tyler Wornell | The Joplin Globe
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley on Monday called for a special counsel to investigate the actions of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and her staff for what he says was the violation of the confidentiality of a woman who has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
In a media call Monday morning, Hawley, a Republican, said the tactics of Feinstein and Senate Democrats smeared Kavanaugh’s name and exploited Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Kavanaugh is President Donald Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Democrats have violated the express wishes of Dr. Ford, and the behavior of Sen. Feinstein has been inexcusable and raised a troubling ethical question,” Hawley said. “These were deliberate maneuvers by Democratic staff to exploit Ford and block the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh.”
Ford sent a letter to Feinstein in July detailing allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party in the 1980s when both were in high school. Ford requested confidentiality, and Feinstein forwarded the information to the FBI.
Republicans have said Feinstein’s decision not to release the letter, or even discuss it in a confidential setting, until just before a planned committee vote on Kavanaugh is another tactic to delay the confirmation.
Hawley, who is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate next month, called on his opponent, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, to also support a special counsel investigation of Feinstein, her staff and other “relevant parties” in the decision to withhold Ford’s letter.
McCaskill announced two weeks ago she plans not to vote in favor of Kavanaugh, citing concerns over dark money. She indicated Monday she won’t support Hawley’s request.
“This is what a partisan does and what causes the problem in the first place,” McCaskill said. “We need to be respecting one another, talking to one another and calmly completing our work, not pointing fingers.”
Hawley said in the media call that he does not believe there is enough evidence to corroborate Ford’s claims, but he did not dispute her credibility.
“I have no reason to doubt her sincerity,” Hawley said. “But it’s a matter of evidence. And it just isn’t there.”
Ford and Kavanaugh both testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week with strikingly different tones. Kavanaugh was defiant and accused the Democrats of orchestrating a conspiracy against him.
“(Kavanaugh’s testimony) was heartfelt, raw and emotional at times,” Hawley said. “This is a man that has been falsely accused, and obviously this has ruined his reputation.”
Democrats have been calling for an FBI investigation into the claims, and they got their wishes Friday when Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., agreed to support the investigation. Flake sits on the Judiciary Committee and voted to move forward with Kavanaugh’s confirmation only if the investigation occurred.
The White House has limited the scope of the investigation, which is set to last one week.