President Trump has ordered the FBI to conduct a ‘limited’ supplemental investigation into sexual assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, but questions remain about the scope of the probe and whether it will look into additional assault claims from two women that emerged this week.
Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans agreed to the investigation after a last-minute demand by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) forced the committee’s hand on Friday.
Both the White House and the Senate Judiciary Committee stressed that the investigation would be ‘limited,’ and must be completed by next Friday.
President Trump has ordered the FBI to conduct a ‘limited’ supplemental investigation into sexual assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh (pictured Thursday)
Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans agreed to the investigation after a last-minute demand by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) (center on Friday) forced the committee’s hand on Friday
Trump is pictured in the Oval Office of the White House on Friday. He has ordered an FBI investigation
‘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,’ said the Senate Judiciary Committee in a statement.
The investigation, which follows a prior FBI background check into Kavanaugh, will look into allegations from Christine Ford that he sexually assaulted her during a party in high school.
It is unclear whether the FBI will also examine claims from two other accusers – Kavanaugh’s Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez and a former Maryland resident named Julie Swetnick.
Ramirez has accused Kavanaugh of putting his genitals near her face while she was intoxicated on the floor at a college dorm party.
Swetnick, who is being represented by Stormy Daniels’s attorney Michael Avenatti, claims she witnessed Kavanaugh and his high school friend Mark Judge drugging girls’ drinks and participating in group-rape attacks at parties. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
A spokesperson for the Senate Judiciary Committee did not immediately respond to requests to clarify the term ‘current, credible allegations.’ Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) also declined to comment when asked by DailyMail.com.
Flake – who forced the committee to agree to the investigation after telling Republican colleagues that it is the only way he will vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation – suggested to NPR on Friday that the decision of which allegations to investigate will be left to the FBI.
The investigation, which follows a prior FBI background check into Kavanaugh, will look into allegations from Christine Ford (pictured Thursday) that he sexually assaulted her during a party in high school
It is unclear whether the FBI will also examine claims from two other accusers – Kavanaugh’s Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez (right) and a former Maryland resident named Julie Swetnick (left)
‘We’ll leave that to the FBI…. I am assuming that the Ford [allegations] are there, and maybe Ramirez. But Avenatti, I don’t know… but that’s their call.’
The FBI investigation would be a supplemental to the previous background check it conducted on Kavanaugh as it does for all Supreme Court nominees. The background investigation has been based out of the FBI Washington office.
The FBI will not conduct a criminal investigation because the charges against Kavanaugh do not relate to any federal crimes. Because of this, the bureau will not make a determination on Kavanaugh’s guilt or innocence. The FBI will submit a report to the White House and the Senate Judiciary Committee when the examination is complete.
The scope of the investigation – which will look into claims dating back 36 years – is unusual for an FBI background check. Typically the bureau focuses on recent events from the past decade of the nominee’s life, or documented criminal or legal charges against the individual.
However, the probe could turn up individuals who are able to corroborate the claims from Ford, Ramirez or Swetnick. So far, the witnesses named by the accusers have said they don’t remember the incidents taking place.
Mark Judge (seen earlier this week), a high school classmate of Kavanaugh’s who Ford claims was in the room while she was sexually assaulted, has agreed to cooperate with the FBI
The FBI will also be able to talk to potential witnesses who have not spoken directly to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mark Judge, a high school classmate of Kavanaugh’s who Ford claims was in the room while she was sexually assaulted, has agreed to cooperate with the FBI.
Judge has previously declined to testify to the committee but submitted a sworn statement saying he does not remember any incident like the one described by Ford.
Two other witnesses who Ford claims were at the party, P.J. Smythe and Leland Keyser, could also be interviewed by the FBI. Both Smythe and Keyser have said in statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee that they do not recall the event described by Ford.
Although the FBI will have just a week to investigate the allegations, this timeframe is not out of step with prior similar investigations.
During Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearings in 1991, the FBI took three days to investigate sexual harassment allegations levelled against him by law professor Anita Hill. Thomas was ultimately confirmed to the Supreme Court.