Senator urged FBI to reach out to Kavanaugh witness, letter shows

Posted at 4:34 PM, Sep 16, 2019

Days before Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation, a Democratic senator urged the FBI to reach out to a witness who had key information about alleged misconduct by the nominee while at Yale, according to a letter obtained by CNN.

The letter comes as The New York Times reported over the weekend that the Times had interviewed more individuals who had corroborated the allegation of Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate who alleged Kavanaugh had exposed himself to her at a dorm room party. The Times also reported that there was another previously undisclosed allegation raised by Max Stier, a Yale classmate who told the Times that he had witnessed Kavanaugh engage in another, similar incident.

CNN is not reporting any details of the accusation and has not independently corroborated the account. The Times on Sunday evening published an Editor's Note to its original story saying the female victim declined to be interviewed, and her friends told the authors she does not recall the incident.

In a letter dated October 2, 2018, Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, sent a letter to the FBI requesting that the agency talk to individuals that had more information about Kavanaugh. Specifically, Coons suggested the FBI talk to Stier. It's unclear from the letter exactly what information Stier had, but Coons suggests the FBI talk to him. Stier's name in the letter is redacted in the version seen by CNN, but an aide for Coons told CNN that that the name was Stier's. Coons had copied then-Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, and its top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.

An aide to Coons emphasized that the reason that the senator chose to share the information in a letter was that he wanted the FBI to get the information and the reason he was careful about sharing it was that Stier had insisted on the information being shared confidentially at the time.

In the letter to the FBI, Coons wrote that his office had been contacted by numerous individuals who had information to share with the FBI as part of their investigation into Kavanaugh, and while he could not speak to "the relevancy or veracity of the information that many of these individuals seek to provide ... there is one individual whom I would like to specifically refer to you for appropriate follow up." The letter goes on to say the individual is "a Yale College classmate of Kavanaugh and Ramirez with information relevant to Ramirez's allegations."

An aide familiar with the letter told CNN that the FBI acknowledged receipt of Coons' letter at the time, but the senator never heard more beyond that.

According to a Republican source familiar with the letter, both Grassley and Feinstein were copied on the letter to the FBI from Coons. The source notes that Stier's contact information was in there but not any specific allegation. Additionally the source says Stier did not bring the allegation directly to Grassley.