FBI Investigators Meet With Republican Leader Over Ashley Judd Recording

“We’re going to make sure that this is prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” McConnell aide Jesse Benton says of Juddgate.

Gary Cameron / Reuters

WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign is working with the FBI as it investigates whether Democrats illegally taped a closed door strategy session, campaign officials said Wednesday.

McConnell Tuesday called on the FBI to launch an investigation into a tape recording of a strategy session on how to deal with a potential Ashley Judd campaign that was first obtained by Mother Jones.

In a radio interview with Mike Huckabee, McConnell campaign aide Jesse Benton said: “The FBI is taking this very seriously. They were at our office for about an hour today. They tell us that they’re running down some leads.”

“We’re very glad that the FBI is so quick to address this … we’re going to make sure that this is prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Benton said.

Although Benton declined to comment more fully, a source familiar with the situation said that during a meeting with investigators the campaign discussed the incident and turned over relevant materials to the FBI.

The source declined to provide specifics, but if the campaign does have evidence that Democrats or other opponents bugged McConnell’s office, that could prove damaging to any Democratic candidate in Kentucky. And the suggestions of improprieties have already done as much political damage as the mildly embarrassing recording.

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John Stanton is the Washington, D.C. bureau chief for BuzzFeed News. In 2014, Stanton was a recipient of the National Press Foundation’s 2014 Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress.
Contact John Stanton at
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