WASHINGTON — Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on Thursday announced he’s referred attorney Michael Avenatti and Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick for criminal investigation regarding a potential “conspiracy” to provide false statements to Congress and to obstruct justice.
Avenatti, who represented porn star Stormy Daniels in a failed defamation suit against President Donald Trump, also represented Swetnick, who accused newly appointed Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of being part of “gang” and “train” rapes at high school parties she claims to have attended in the 1980s, claims that Kavanaugh has vehemently denied.
In a letter written to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday, Grassley questioned the timing of Swetnick and Avenatti’s allegations.
“When a well-meaning citizen comes forward with information relevant to the committee’s work, I take it seriously. It takes courage to come forward, especially with allegations of sexual misconduct or personal trauma. I’m grateful for those who find that courage,” Grassley wrote.
“But in the heat of partisan moments, some do try to knowingly mislead the committee. That’s unfair to my colleagues, the nominees, and others providing information who are seeking the truth,” Grassley went on. “It stifles our ability to work on legitimate lines of inquiry. It also wastes time and resources for destructive reasons.”
In the letter, Grassley called out contradictory statements made by both Avenatti and Swetnick in media interviews, specifically citing an NBC interview on Oct. 1, when Swetnick withdrew a claim that she saw Kavanaugh spiking punch at the parties with alcohol and/or drugs.
“I saw [Kavanaugh] giving red solo cups to quite a few girls,” Swetnick later admitted during the interview, adding that she didn’t “know what he did.”
Swetnick merely claimed she “saw him” by the punch—a comment that contradicted her sworn statement to the committee, Grassley pointed out.
An angry Avenatti was quick to fire back.
“This is clearly political,” he told Fox News. “And fortunately for us, Senator Grassley isn’t too smart — or I should say bright. This was a major mistake on his part. He just cracked open the door and I’m going to drive a Mack Truck through it.”
Avenatti then took to Twitter to call Grassley out, referencing what he referred to as Justice Kavanaugh’s ongoing “lies”.
“It is ironic that Senator Grassley now is interested in investigations,” Avenatti tweeted. “He didn’t care when it came to putting a man on the SCOTUS for life. We welcome the investigation as now we can finally get to the bottom of Judge Kavanaugh’s lies and conduct. Let the truth be known.”