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Cotton says Feinstein will be investigated over Ford letter

The Hill logo The Hill 9/30/2018 Brett Samuels
Dianne Feinstein et al. that are talking to each other © Provided by The Hill

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) asserted on Sunday that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) will face an investigation over her handling of a letter from Christine Blasey Ford in which she alleged Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her decades ago.

Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," Cotton disputed the legitimacy of Feinstein's claim that she did not disclose Ford's letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) because Ford had asked it remain private.

"They have betrayed her. They pointed her to lawyers who lied to her and did not tell her that the committee staff was willing to go to California to interview her. Now all of that is water under the bridge," Cotton said.

"Those lawyers are going to face a D.C. bar investigation into their misconduct," he continued. "Dianne Feinstein and her staff is going to face an investigation for why they leaked that."

Cotton did not elaborate on who would conduct such an investigation, but Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has adamantly denied that her office leaked Ford's letter.

Feinstein's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Feinstein first received a letter from Ford detailing the allegations in July, but Ford had asked that it remain private.

Ford went public with her allegation earlier this month that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and groped her during a high school party in the 1980s after reports began to surface that Feinstein turned over a letter to the FBI that included a sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

Cotton took his attacks on Feinstein a step further on Sunday, arguing that if Kavanaugh is confirmed, any negative effects it has on the willingness among women to share their stories of sexual assault should be blamed on Feinstein and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

"Any impact that this entire episode has had on women's willingness to come forward and report sexual assault, which I encourage them all to do immediately after it happens, is caused by the Democrats, is caused by Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer not respecting her requests for confidentiality," Cotton said.

Following Ford's allegation, Republicans have focused much of their criticism on Feinstein for not sharing the claim with them or with Kavanaugh earlier in the confirmation process.

At a rally Saturday night, President Trump stoked speculation that Feinstein or her staff may have leaked the letter, basing his claims on her body language.

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