How the FBI’s flawed investigation of Clarence Thomas became a model for Kavanaugh’sBreaking News
tags: SCOTUS, FBI, Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill, Brett Kavanaugh, Christine Blasey Ford
All last week, as they pushed for an FBI investigation into Brett M. Kavanaugh, Democrats cited the agency’s 1991 probe of Clarence Thomas as a model: A tightly focused, speedy inquiry to sort out claims of sexual misconduct against a Supreme Court nominee.
Democrats will get their wish this week, as the FBI carries out a time-and-scope-limited investigation into the claims of at least two of Kavanaugh’s accusers. Maybe they’ll also remember all the deficiencies critics found with the Thomas probe.
A far cry from the investigative blitzkrieg that former FBI director James B. Comey imagines this week’s effort could be, the agency’s 1991 investigation of Anita Hill’s accusations against Thomas was a small and quiet affair, open and shut inside three days, with as few as three witnesses questioned about the nominee’s behavior.
The FBI never talked to — or even knew to look for — four potential witnesses who had knowledge of Hill’s complaints about Thomas, according to two Wall Street Journal reporters who reinvestigated the case and wrote a book about it. Hill later testified that the agents who spoke to her asked few pressing questions, stood her up for a follow-up interview, then misquoted her in their final report. In the end, the FBI report was used by Republicans to discredit her and help secure Thomas’s confirmation.
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