President Donald Trump said Friday he will rely on Senate leaders to determine whether or not to have the FBI investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“I will be totally reliant on what [Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck] Grassley and the group decides to do,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “They have to do what they think is right. They have to be comfortable with themselves.”
Trump’s made his remarks alongside Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, who was meeting with the U.S. president to discuss a range of issues, including security and efforts to secure democracy in Venezuela.
The comments to reporters came shortly after Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., called for the bureau to spend up to one week looking into Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s.
Ford testifed before the Senate committee that an intoxicated Kavanaugh, with participation from his friend Mark Judge, held her down, covered her mouth and tried to undress her when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegation, and defiantly told the committee “I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.”
A week-long FBI probe into Ford’s allegation would likely push back a full Senate vote to confirm Kavanaugh, which was expected to take place next week.
Despite Flake’s request, which could further shake up a nomination process that had already been rescheduled numerous times, the 21-member committee voted to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate floor.
Flake’s vote is critical for Republicans, who hold a razor-thin 51-vote majority in the Senate. A number of moderate GOP senators, including Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins of Maine, have yet to announce whether they will support Kavanaugh.
Trump also commented for the first time on Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee a day earlier.
“I thought her testimony was very compelling and she looks like a very fine woman,” Trump said of Ford. “Certainly she was a very credible witness, very good in many respects.”
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