Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have called upon the FBI to investigate death threats against Christine Blasey Ford, who accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her when they were both in high school.
Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, joined by the rest of the Democrats on the committee, asked FBI Director Chris Wray to open an investigation in the letter sent on Thursday.
‘We are requesting immediate action by the Bureau to investigate potential federal crimes against Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, which appear intended to intimidate a witness in relation to the Supreme Court nomination hearing of Judge Brett Kavanaugh,’ the letter reads.
‘We are increasingly concerned by reports of alleged death threats against her, the hacking of her email, and harassment and intimidation she has faced since being forced into the spotlight late last week.’
Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy (above) penned the letter (below) on Thursday, which was joined by the rest of the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee
The letter also encourages the FBI to use the investigation into the death threats as a means of opening a backdoor probe into Ford’s sexual assault allegation, which dates to the early 1980s and does not appear to involve any federal crime.
The letter speculates that ‘the FBI may obtain information concerning criminal activity not within the FBI’s investigative jurisdiction, including for example violations of Maryland’s criminal code dealing with rape and sexual assault.’
‘As you are aware, when an FBI employee receives such information, the employee ‘must promptly transmit the information or refer the complaint to a law enforcement agency having jurisdiction,” the letter continues.
The Senate Democrats make no mention of death threats that have been received by Kavanagh and his family, which the U.S. Marshals Service is investigating.
Kavanagh (center) and his family have also gotten death threats, which the U.S. Marshals Service is investigating as part of their duties protecting the judiciary
A senior administration official at the White House told the AP that the threats were made in emails to Kavanaugh’s wife, Ashley, and came from one person. The one being investigated uses vulgar language and suggests violence.
Also on Thursday, Ford indicated that she may in fact testify before the committee next week, after earlier demanding an FBI investigation into her allegation before she spoke.
The demand fizzled when it became clear that the FBI would need instructions from the White House to investigate the allegation as part of the background check process, as it did not otherwise have jurisdiction in the matter
In a letter on Thursday, Ford’s attorneys said that she ‘would be prepared to testify next week’ – although they ruled out testimony on Monday, when the Republicans who control the process had scheduled her.
The letter requested ‘terms that are fair and which ensure her safety’ in order for Ford to testify.
Ford (above) says she and her family have had to flee their home after getting death threats
According to a Senate aide who spoke to the AP, Ford is prepared to testify next Thursday and has asked that Kavanaugh not be present.
Ford’s Attorney Debra Katz outlined her requirements during a call late Thursday with committee staff ahead of Ford’s possible appearance. The aide was unauthorized to discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The attorney raised questions about security that staff said would be provided by Capitol Police and press access they said would be similar to during Kavanaugh’s testimony.
She also wants the committee to subpoena Mark Judge, who Ford has said was present for the alleged assaulted, but who denies any knowledge of the event and has said he is not interested in testifying.