Donald Trump denied late Saturday that his administration placed restrictions on the FBI’s investigation into his Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh.
“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!” the president wrote on Twitter.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2018
His tweet followed a denial from the White House earlier Saturday evening.
“The scope and the duration has been set by the Senate,” White House spokesman Raj Shah told CBS News. “The White House is letting the FBI agents do what they are trained to do,” CBS News correspondent Fin Gomez quoted Shah as saying.
— Fin Gomez (@finnygo) September 29, 2018
NBC News, citing “multiple people briefed on the matter,” reported earlier in the day that the White House was limiting the scope of the FBI inquiry into allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh, and said the White House counsel’s office had given the FBI a list of witnesses they are allowed to interview.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday asked the Trump administration to direct the FBI to conduct the supplemental investigation into allegations of sexual assault made against Kavanaugh.
The decision to seek a followup probe of Kavanaugh was reached after Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said he would vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday, but that he would refuse to support the nomination for confirmation by the full Senate without the additional investigation.
According to NBC, the FBI probe will examine sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez.
It’s not just that they aren’t allowed to investigate the third accuser’s claims. They also won’t look into his drinking at Yale or pull Mark Judge’s employment records or take other basic investigative steps, we are told. Unless something changes. https://t.co/QZBuulOm3Y
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) September 29, 2018
CBS News reported late Saturday that Ramirez’s attorney confirmed that the FBI already has reached out to her. Ramirez alleges that he exposed himself to her and thrust his penis near her face at a gathering of students when both were attending Yale.
But NBC reported that the FBI has not been authorized to investigate claims by another accuser, Julie Swetnick, who has alleged that Kavanaugh engaged in sexual misconduct at parties while a high school student at Georgetown Preparatory School in the 1980s.
NBC said Swetnick’s claims Kavanaugh spiked punch at parties so that women would become inebriated and could be raped — allegations that it said will not be investigated by the FBI.
On Thursday Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that she was “100 percent” certain that the appellate court judge sexually assaulted her at a party in Maryland when both were teenagers.
On Saturday, as he departed Washington for a campaign rally in West Virginia, Trump was upbeat about the fate of his embattled candidate.
The president told reporters that the reopened probe could be for the best — even as a stream of classmates who knew Kavenaugh at Yale came of out the woodwork to say that he lied under oath during his appearance Thursday before the Senate Judiciary.
“Actually this could be a blessing in disguise,” Trump said, “because having the FBI go out, do a thorough investigation, whether its three days or seven days, I think it’s going to be less than a week. But having them do a thorough investigation, I actually think will be a blessing in disguise. It’ll be a good thing.”
“I don’t need a backup plan,” the president added. Kavanaugh he said, is “going to be fine.”
This post has been updated incorporating Trump’s tweet late Saturday night.