Q: Did the FBI issue a report that “confirms” that “none” of Brett Kavanaugh’s accusers’ stories were true?
A: No. Contrary to false social media claims, the bureau did not reach any conclusion in its background investigation.
As accusations of sexual misconduct surfaced against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh amid his contentious Senate confirmation proceedings, the Department of Justice reminded that the FBI’s role in conducting background investigations for such nominees was to provide information to lawmakers — not to reach conclusions about allegations.
“The FBI does not make any judgment about the credibility or significance of any allegation,” the DOJ said in a September statement. “The purpose of a background investigation is to determine whether the nominee could pose a risk to the national security of the United States. The allegation does not involve any potential federal crime. The FBI’s role in such matters is to provide information for the use of the decision makers.”
Despite that, viral posts on social media have alleged that an “FBI report confirms none of the Kavanaugh accusations were true. None of them.”
The FBI conducted a supplemental background investigation to review allegations against Kavanaugh made by two women: Christine Blasey Ford — the California professor who publicly testified that a drunk, teenage Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party in the 1980s — and Deborah Ramirez, who attended Yale with Kavanaugh and claimed that he exposed himself to her.
The supplemental investigation, which lasted several days, included interviewing 10 individuals about those allegations, according to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bureau provided its report documenting the interviews to the White House, which then provided it to the Senate. The Judiciary Committee said the supplemental investigation showed there was “no corroboration of the allegations made by Dr. Ford or Ms. Ramirez.”
In other words, the FBI’s interviews did not substantiate the accusations by Ford or Ramirez — but they also did not show the accounts to be false.
The FBI investigation did not probe other allegations, including the accusations put forth by Julie Swetnick and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti.
Weeks after Kavanaugh was confirmed to the court, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, referred Swetnick and Avenatti to the FBI for investigation for allegedly making “materially false statements” to the committee.
Grassley later made a similar referral to the FBI to investigate another woman, Judy Munro-Leighton. Grassley said in his referral letter that Munro-Leighton contacted the committee and claimed to be the “Jane Doe” who had submitted an earlier, anonymous written accusation against Kavanaugh. Munro-Leighton, as we’ve previously reported, admitted she in fact was not the woman who wrote that letter and had not even met Kavanaugh.
Those referrals relate only to Swetnick and Munro-Leighton, not to Ford or Ramirez.
On Nov. 2, the Senate Judiciary Committee released a lengthy report examining all of the accusations. It said that committee investigators “found no witness who could provide any verifiable evidence to support any of the allegations brought against Justice Kavanaugh.”
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on the social media network.
Keith, Tamara. “Democrats Want FBI To Investigate Kavanaugh Allegations. It Likely Won’t.” NPR. 18 Sep 2018.
Letter from Sen. Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray. 2 Nov 2018.
Letter from Sen. Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray. 25 Oct 2018.
“Supplemental FBI Investigation Executive Summary.” U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. 4 Oct 2018.