White House says it Won't 'Mircomanage' Kavanaugh Probe
The White House said Sunday that it would not "micromanage" the new FBI investigation into Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
"The White House counsel has allowed the Senate to dictate terms and what the scope of the investigation is," Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News Sunday, referring to the FBI's probe of sexual assault allegations against the judge by Dr. Christine Blassey Ford.
Both Kavanaugh and Ford testified separately before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday. Ford told the Committee she was "100 percent" sure Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were both high school teenagers in 1982, while the Supreme Court nominee angrily denied the allegations.
Trump ordered the new probe into Kavanaugh Friday at the request of the committee. The consent for a fresh probe was a concession by the Trump administration and Republicans who had strongly contended that Kavanaugh had been thoroughly vetted numerous times.
Amid the new probe, Trump has maintained his support for Kavanaugh, saying that “hopefully at the conclusion, everything will be fine.”
Trump, speaking to reporters Saturday, noted that the FBI “is all over, talking to everybody” — including women who have accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault and “I would expect it’s going to turn out very well for the judge.”
News reports had said the White House may be limiting the scope of the FBI’s investigation — such as not permitting scrutiny of the claims of another woman, Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct at parties while he was a prep school student
"Look at the end of the day the FBI is going to go through this process… the Senate is going going to have to make a determination to vote for Brett Kavanaugh or not," Press Secretary Sanders said while not commenting specifically on the claims on Swetnick.
Late Saturday, Trump tweeted: "NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people. Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion. Please correct your reporting!"
FBI is reported to have reached out to the second woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Deborah Ramirez. But it is not immediately clear if FBI agents have yet interviewed her. She alleged in a report published on September 23 by The New Yorker magazine that Kavanaugh exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, shoved his penis in her face, forcing her to touch it while pushing him away.
Ramirez said the assault occurred during the 1983-84 school year at Yale University, where they both were students. Kavanaugh has denied the allegation.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday voted to send Kavanaugh's nomination for the Supreme Court to the full Senate after securing a party line vote in favor of Kavanaugh's nomination from Republican Jeff Flake, who requested a delay and investigation.
"This country is being ripped apart here and we've got to make sure that we do due diligence,” Flake said.
Another Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski, said she agreed with Flake in wanting an FBI investigation. Because Republicans hold a slim 51-49 margin in the Senate, they had little choice now but to slow the confirmation process.
Kavanaugh said in a statement released by the White House that he will continue to cooperate with the FBI and the Senate.
“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,” Kavanaugh said.
Kavanaugh needs at least 50 votes to be confirmed by the 100-member Senate. Vice President Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote if the Senate is evenly split. If all Democrats vote against Kavanaugh, two Republicans would also have to do the same to block his confirmation.
Steve Herman contributed to this report.