WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday ordered the FBI to conduct an additional background investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who faces several sexual misconduct allegations.
“I’ve ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh’s file. As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week.”
Trump’s action followed an extraordinary call from several key Republican senators to enlist the FBI to gather more information about the alleged incidents involving Kavanaugh when he was in high school and college before the Senate holds a vote on his confirmation.
The president’s involvement — he is the only person who can order such an FBI investigation — came after Senate Republicans said Friday that they have asked the White House to order the FBI to investigate Kavanaugh before a Senate confirmation vote is held.
“The supplemental FBI background investigation would be limited to current credible allegations against the nominee and must be completed no later than one week from today,” the Senate Judiciary Committee said in a statement.
Earlier, Trump, when asked about a possible delay in the full Senate vote in order for the FBI to investigate, told reporters at the White House that he would defer to GOP senators.
“Whatever they think is necessary,” he said. “I’m going to the let the Senate handle that. They’ve been doing a good job. Very professional.”
The president added, “I don’t know if this is going to continue, or if we are going to get a vote…again I’m here, I’m not out there watching…but I think it will work out very well for the country. I just want it to work out well for the country. If that happens, I’m happy.”
There are three main public accusers of Kavanaugh:
-Christine Blasey Ford, who alleges he attacked her at a party when they were in high school, trying to remove her clothes, grinding against her and putting his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream;
-Deborah Ramirez, who told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh pulled down his pants and exposed himself to her while they were classmates at Yale University and;
Julie Swetnick, who, in a sworn declaration, accused him of engaging in repeated lewd behavior with women at parties in the early 1980s, and of putting drugs or alcohol in punch to cause women to become inebriated so they could be “gang raped” by male partygoers.
Kavanaugh said in a statement Friday evening, “Throughout this process, I’ve been interviewed by the FBI, I’ve done a number of ‘background’ calls directly with the Senate, and yesterday, I answered questions under oath about every topic the Senators and their counsel asked me. I’ve done everything they have requested and will continue to cooperate.”
Word of the potential new FBI involvement came hours after Kavanaugh was approved Friday by the Senate Judiciary Committee on an 11-10 party-line vote.
During that meeting, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., called for the full Senate vote to be delayed for one week to allow time for the FBI to reopen its background investigation into Kavanaugh.
Flake voted in favor of Kavanaugh during the Judiciary Committee vote, but then suggested he may not vote for Kavanaugh on the Senate floor if the FBI investigation does not take place.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, backed Flake’s push for a one-week delay in the confirmation vote to give the FBI time to look into the allegations. “I think it’s important that we do our due diligence and this is yet another step in that due diligence,” she said.
If Flake and one or two other Republican senators opposed moving the nomination to the Senate floor for a vote unless the FBI gets involved, that could stall or even doom Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who has not indicated how she intends to vote on the nomination, previously indicated she backs an FBI investigation.
Meanwhile, if the nomination gets to the floor, there are four key senators, two Republicans and two Democrats, who have not yet indicated how they intend to vote. The nomination would fail if all Democrats vote no and the two Republicans on the fence defect and oppose Kavanaugh.
Full Story: nbcnews.com.