GOP lawmakers demand ‘immediate’ ethics probe into leak of Ford’s Kavanaugh letter

A group of Republican congressmen on Wednesday demanded an immediate House and Senate ethics investigation into Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo and Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s “mishandling” of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s letter that first revealed her allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

GOP Reps. Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert, Steve King, and several other lawmakers penned a letter Wednesday to both the House and Senate Ethics Committees requesting an immediate probe to “identify the individuals” who shared Ford’s July 30 letter accusing Kavanaugh of pinning her down and trying to remove her clothing at a high school party 36 years ago.

“This sensitive document was leaked to the media without Dr. Ford’s consent while it was hidden from the majority staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee. These acts demand an immediate and thorough investigation to find out who is responsible,” they wrote.

“Dr. Ford testified that she delivered a letter to Rep. Eshoo who forwarded it to Senator Feinstein on July 30, 2018 detailing allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” they said. “In that letter, Dr. Ford asked that her identity remain confidential.”

The lawmakers went on to detail the evolution of the Ford letter—which first was sent to Eshoo, then obtained by Feinstein’s office, who said she would “not share Dr. Ford’s letter without her explicit consent.”

But the lawmakers pointed out that on Sept. 12, The Intercept reported on the existence of the letter, and the day after, Feinstein referred the letter to the FBI.

“Senator Feinstein claims that she failed to disclose the contents of Dr. Ford’s letter to Chairman Grassley because Dr. Ford asked for it to remain private,” they wrote. “But Dr. Ford testified that she never consented to any of these disclosures.”

In an explosive exchange during last Thursday’s hearing, Feinstein denied leaking the letter under questioning from GOP lawmakers. Feinstein then turned to her staff behind her, who also claimed they did not leak it, and suggested Ford’s friends were behind the disclosure.

“Well, I’m telling you I did not,” said Feinstein, who added: “It’s my understanding that [Ford’s] story was leaked before the letter became public and she testified that she had spoken to her friends about it, and it’s most likely that that’s how this story leaked … But it did not leak from us, I assure you that.”

Ford ultimately revealed her identity in a Sept. 16 article published by The Washington Post.

“Leaking Dr. Ford’s letter was a cynically political act that is damaging to the credibility of the United States Congress,” the GOP lawmakers wrote. “Deliberately outing Dr. Ford without her consent may have a lasting impact on women’s willingness to report future assaults.”

The GOP lawmakers claimed that Democratic members of Congress “placed political expediency above the wishes” of Ford.

A spokesperson for the Senate Ethics Committee declined to comment.

A source from the House Ethics Committee told Fox News that matters of the committee are confidential.

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