Dianne Feinstein; Brett Kavanaugh (AP/Salon)

Senate Democrats think Brett Kavanaugh may have lied about his role in Vince Foster probe

Kavanaugh may have lied about his involvement in a sensitive investigation during Bill Clinton's presidency


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Matthew Rozsa
October 1, 2018 4:27PM (UTC)

The Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., believes that Brett Kavanaugh may have lied to members of the committee about whether he broke grand jury secrecy laws while he worked on the investigation of President Bill Clinton.

"According to a memo from the National Archives, Brett Kavanaugh instructed Hickman Ewing, a colleague and deputy independent counsel in the Starr investigation, to ‘call [Chris] Ruddy’ about matters before a grand jury, which would be illegal to disclose," Feinstein told Politico in a statement. "I asked Judge Kavanaugh in questions for the record whether he had shared ‘information learned through grand jury proceedings.’ His answer, which says that he acted ‘consistent with the law,’ conflicts with the official memo from Mr. Ewing. Disclosing grand jury information is against the law and would be troubling for any lawyer, especially one applying for a promotion to the highest court in the country."

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The underlying issue involves Kavanaugh's time working for Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr while he investigated various accusations against the former president, including conspiracy theories that the suicide of White House lawyer Vince Foster was actually a murder orchestrated by the Clintons. When Kavanaugh questioned a grand jury witness named Patrick Knowlton at the time — Knowlton claimed to have seen a man in Fort Marcy Park shortly before Foster's body was discovered there — the young lawyer asked questions that implied Knowlton may have been there seeking homosexual intercourse.

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"Did the man in the park pass you a note?" Knowlton claimed Kavanaugh asked him, in addition to asking, "Did the man in the park touch your genitals?"

Later, when Christopher Ruddy of the conservative Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (now CEO of Newsmax) reached out to Kavanaugh about the story, Kavanaugh insisted to deputy independent counsel Hickman Ewing (according to a memo later written by Ewing) that "I didn't ask him that. I did ask him about sexual advances by the other man in the park. [Fellow prosecutor] John Bates and I want you to call Ruddy — at least get him off the genitalia part. I am worried about that."

This isn't the first time that Kavanaugh has been accused of lying to the Senate.

In an editorial for The New York Times, Kavanaugh's former Yale classmate Chad Ludington wrote that "I can unequivocally say that in denying the possibility that he ever blacked out from drinking, and in downplaying the degree and frequency of his drinking, Brett has not told the truth."

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Ludington added, "I felt it was my civic duty to tell of my experience while drinking with Brett, and I offer this statement to the press. I have no desire to speak further publicly, and nothing more to say to the press at this time. I will, however, take my information to the F.B.I."


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

MORE FROM Matthew Rozsa

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Bill Clinton Brett Kavanaugh Dianne Feinstein Jeff Flake Vince Foster

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