Republican Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has requested that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Chris Wray open an investigation into attorney Michael Avenatti and his client Julie Swetnick, alleging the pair may have made “materially false statements” to Congress as part of the confirmation process for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“While many of those individuals [involved in the Kavanaugh hearing and subsequent investigation] have provided the Committee information in good faith, it unfortunately appears some have not,” Grassley wrote In a Thursday letter to the Department of Justice and FBI written on Thursday.
Grassley then goes on to describe in granular detail a number of alleged “contradictions” in Swetnick’s claim that she witnessed Kavanaugh attempting to drug young women for the purpose of raping them at house parties in the early 1980s. Swetnick has also stated that Kavanaugh was present when she herself was gang raped at one such party.
Grassley also extensively cites a number of unrelated issues with both Avenatti and Swetnick’s “credibility”—such as Avenatti’s allegedly problematic financial dealings and Swetnick’s alleged behavior with a past boyfriend—as further proof that the pair should be investigated by the Justice Department.
“When charlatans make false claims to the Committee – claims that may earn them short-term media exposure and financial gain, but which hinder the Committee’s ability to do its job – there should be consequences,” Grassley wrote. “These laws exist to ensure there are.”
Grassley’s extensive attack on both Swetnick and Avenatti stands in sharp contrast to the largely defanged investigation into Kavanaugh himself, which conspicuously downplayed and even ignored numerous credible allegations of both sexual misconduct and perjury.
In response to Grassley’s letter, Avenatti issued a taunting statement that welcomed the investigation, saying:
It is ironic that Sen. Grassley now is interested in investigations. He didn’t care when it came to putting a man on the SCOTUS for life. We welcome the investigation as now we can finally get to the bottom of Judge Kavanaugh’s lies and conduct. Let the truth be known.
You can read the full Grassley letter here. The Justice Department has not yet responded to Grassley’s request.