Trump claims Dems are using Kavanaugh investigation to 'obstruct and delay'

Howard TerryOct 01, 2018

The White House is fighting to regain control of the confirmation of Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh, but a controversy is widening over its role in an FBI investigation into allegations against the nominee of sexual assault and misconduct.

In a stunning reversal on Friday, the Senate judiciary committee asked the Trump administration to order the FBI to investigate the misconduct allegations - but only after the panel sent Kavanaugh's nomination to the full Senate for a final vote.

Initially, Republicans set just two parameters: that the investigation had to be complete in under a week, and that it had to be limited to "current credible" allegations against Kavanaugh.

The FBI is now conducting a supplemental background investigation "limited to current credible allegations" of sexual assault and misconduct against Kavanaugh, with a deadline of Friday to conclude its probe.

Mr Trump has denied imposing any restrictions, saying he wanted the Federal Bureau of Investigation "to interview whoever they deem appropriate" in its check on his pick for the Supreme Court. Additionally, Trump has falsely claimed since the allegations first surfaced that the "FBI really doesn't do that", despite the fact that former President George H.W. Bush ordered a similar FBI investigation into Anita Hill's sexual harassment accusations against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas during his own confirmation process in 1991.

Deborah Ramirez's lawyer, John Clune, says agents want to interview her. Ramirez has said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party in the early 1980s.

The stunning reversal capped two weeks of allegations, followed by furious denials, that roiled prospects for Trump's nominee, a conservative federal appeals court judge once expected to easily become the second Trump nominee to win a lifetime appointment to the top US court.

"The White House counsel has allowed the Senate to dictate what these terms look like and what the scope of the investigation is", she told "Fox News Sunday."

Trump bowed to pressure from moderate Senate Republicans and ordered the FBI investigation after the hearing.

Ford also has said Judge was in the room when a drunken Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. Judge has said he will cooperate with any law enforcement agency that will "confidentially investigate" sexual misconduct allegations against him and Kavanaugh.

Michael Avenatti, the attorney for a third Kavanaugh accuser, Julie Swetnick, said in an email to Reuters that his client has not been contacted by investigators.

Some Republicans say they have heard enough.

"It's a Senate process".

Humphries said that agents, typically working in pairs, will visit witnesses selected by the end user, in this case the White House.

Humphries said the answers provided by witnesses could lead to other potential witnesses, something that Trump seemed to indicate was possible in a Tweet late Saturday night disputing an NBC report about the limited nature of the investigation.

Both Grassley's office and the committee did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

What will the FBI investigation do?

But on Friday, when it appeared they might not have the votes to confirm Kavanaugh without allowing a probe, they agreed to delay the confirmation vote by a week and Trump directed the FBI to investigate. The judge has denied those allegations as well.

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