On Fox News Sunday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to answer whether the White House is limiting the FBI investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“Has the White House limited in any way who the FBI may talk to?” host Chris Wallace asked her in an interview that aired on Sunday.
“And specifically, has the FBI given a list of potential people to talk to that does not include Julie Swetnick, the woman, the third accuser who talked about gang rapes — and also college friends who may contradict Judge Kavanaugh on the issue of heavy drinking?”
Sanders did not explicitly answer Wallace’s question about reports that the White House counsel gave a specific witness list to the FBI that did not include Swetnick, who last week said that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were both involved in sexual assault and gang rapes when they were students at Georgetown Preparatory School in the 1980s.
“The White House is not micromanaging this process,” she replied vaguely. “The Senate is dictating the terms, they laid out the request, and we’ve opened it up, and as you’ve heard the president say, do what you need to do. The FBI, this is what they do, and we are out of the way letting them do exactly that.”
“But to be specific, did the White House counsel give the FBI a list?” Wallace pressed.
“Not that I’m aware of. The White House counsel has allowed the Senate to dictate what the terms look like and what the scope of investigation is. Again, the White House isn’t intervening, we’re not micromanaging this process. This is something — it’s a Senate process, it has been from the beginning and we’re letting the Senate continue to dictate what the terms look like.”
“So do you know if either the Senate or the White House is saying don’t interview Julie Swetnick?”
“That’s a question you’d have to ask the Senate,” she replied.
NBC News reported on Saturday that White House counsel Don McGahn’s witness list to the FBI also excludes former classmates of Kavanaugh who have described him as a heavy drinker (contradicting his own accounts). Also not on the list are his high school classmates who could explain why he and and a group of his male friends used the name of a student at a nearby all-girls Catholic school to repeatedly refer to themselves as “Renate Alumnius.”
The sources who spoke to NBC News said that questioning Mark Judge would not be the FBI’s top priority. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, said that Judge was present in the room during the assault. The sources also said that the limits imposed by the White House did not change after Trump’s tweet on Saturday saying the FBI can investigate whoever it wants.
Sanders spent the rest of the interview complaining about how Democrats have handled the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, calling their actions “disgraceful” and “disgusting.”
“At the end of the day we want this process to be completed and we want Brett Kavanaugh to take the bench and to be a Supreme Court justice without a cloud over his head, and if that allows us to do that, then by all means let’s get this done this week. But the Senate has to make a decision,” she said, adding that senators would have to cast their votes “based on the information they have.”
In a similar fashion to Sanders, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, was unable to reject reports Sunday that the White House had imposed limits on the FBI investigation.
“Did Don McGahn say you can interview these witnesses but not these witnesses?” CNN host Jake Tapper asked her.
“I don’t think he would do that. But I’ve not talked to him about it.”