The Slatest

Lindsey Graham Calls for an Investigation Into Dianne Feinstein’s Handling of Christine Blasey Ford’s Confidential Letter

Sen Lindsey Graham points while speaking. A nameplate sits in front of him.
Sen. Lindsey Graham during the Kavanaugh hearing on Thursday in Washington. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

During interviews Sunday, in the wake of Trump’s announcement that he was launching a one-week FBI background investigation probing allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, Republicans argued the case for an investigation into the Democrats and their behavior surrounding the Kavanaugh allegations.

Speaking on ABC’s This Week, Lindsey Graham, the most impassioned of Kavanaugh’s defenders in the Senate, called for an investigation into how Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations came to light.

“We’re going to do a wholesale and full-scale investigation of what I think was a despicable process,” Graham said. He listed the issues he wanted to look into: “Who betrayed Dr. Ford’s trust; who in Feinstein’s office recommended Katz as a lawyer; why did Ms. Ford not know that the committee was willing to go to California?”

These questions were not new: Graham raised similar ones repeatedly in a tirade Thursday in which he also demanded to know who paid for her polygraph test. (Her lawyers did, Ford had said earlier in the hearing.) “She can’t tell me the house. She can’t tell me the city. She can’t tell me the month of the year,” Graham said, ignoring Ford’s answers about the location and her suggestion that Mark Judge be interviewed, possibly providing more answers.

During the hearing, Graham raised questions about how the confidential letter containing Ford’s allegations came to the attention of the Washington Post after it was given to Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Some Republicans have suggested someone in Feinstein’s office leaked the information against Ford’s will, and others have criticized her for being aware of the allegations for weeks and not bringing them forward—a decision Feinstein said she made to honor Ford’s request for confidentiality. Feinstein has maintained she did not leak the allegation, and the journalist who first reported on the letter has said he did not obtain it from her office.

The other questions have to do with the ways Ford was put in touch with her lawyer (raising the question of whether the Democrats hand-selected someone ideal for their cause, pointing to the political motivation behind the hearing and accusations) and why Ford was not aware of offers from the committee staff to come out to California to interview her.

Graham, who called the hearing a “sham” and condemned it as a disgrace, has insisted that Democrats merely called for an investigation to stall Kavanaugh’s vote until after the midterms. And while he changed his tune when it became politically necessary for his party to support the one-week FBI background investigation, he had said repeatedly after the hearing that he believed “that he didn’t do it, that he’s the right guy to be on the court, that Ms. Ford has got a problem, and destroying Judge Kavanaugh’s life won’t fix her problem.”

Sen. Tom Cotton, speaking on CBS’s Face the Nation, made a similar statement Sunday. “Dianne Feinstein and her staff is going to face an investigation for why they leaked that,” he said. He also said Feinstein betrayed Ford by not sharing the letter with the committee sooner.