Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) referred Julie Swetnick and her lawyer Michael Avenatti to the Department of Justice Thursday for a possible criminal investigation, claiming that the pair knowingly made false statements to Congress during Kavanaugh’s tumultuous confirmation hearings. At the time, Swetnick accused Kavanaugh of being present when she was gang raped decades prior. “I am writing to refer Mr. Michael Avenatti and Ms. Julie Swetnick for investigation,” Grassley wrote in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, according to CNN. The letter cites the possibility of “materially false statements they made to the Committee during the course of the Committee's investigation.” The DOJ declined to comment on the referral.
In a statement, Grassley said, “When a well-meaning citizen comes forward with information relevant to the committee’s work, I take it seriously. [...] 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.” Avenatti denies that he or his client ever misled the committee, telling CNN that Grassley’s referral is “completely baseless and political.” “I look forward for a thorough investigation into Judge Kavanaugh,” Avenatti added. “We have all waited long enough.”