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Feinstein says she and her staff did not leak Ford's story

CBS News logo CBS News 9/28/2018 Caroline Linton
Dianne Feinstein et al. looking at a laptop: Senate Judiciary Committee ranking members Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (R) and Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) question Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., September 27, 2018. © Win McNamee/Pool via Reuters Senate Judiciary Committee ranking members Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (R) and Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) question Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., September 27, 2018.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said during the Brett Kavanaugh hearing Thursday that she and her staff did not leak Christine Blasey Ford's story to the press. Ford had contacted Feinstein confidentially in July after Kavanaugh's name had been put on a shortlist for the Supreme Court nomination, and some Republicans have blamed Feinstein for Ford's identity becoming public. 

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"I did not leak her story," Feinstein said. "She asked me to hold it confidential and I kept it confidential as she asked." 

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Earlier this month, Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said she had referred information she had received from a constituent to federal authorities. Ford later came forward and told her story to The Washington Post after reporters from The Intercept and BuzzFeed News approached her. 

Feinstein said she knew she had not leaked it and she did not believe anyone on her staff did.

The Intercept Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim tweeted "Feinstein's staff did not leak the letter to The Intercept." He followed up with a tweet saying "Nor did she or her staff leak the existence of the letter to The Intercept. After our story, she turned it over to the FBI, which placed it in his background file, which meant that it became widely available and soon after it was leaked to CNN."

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Feinstein said Thursday that Ford was "stalked by the press" and was "forced to come forward" after "her greatest fear was realized." 

"I was given some information by a woman who was very much afraid who asked that it be held confidential, and I held it confidential until she decided that she would come forward," Feinstein said. 

Feinstein also pointed out that she has been criticized for keeping it confidential. 

Ford and Kavanaugh both testified for hours on Thursday, and the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote Friday morning on whether to move forward with the nomination. 

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