Trump says he supports ‘comprehensive’ FBI Kavanaugh probe

Trump says he supports ‘comprehensive’ FBI Kavanaugh probe

Investigation comes after Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony

President Donald Trump said Monday he wants the FBI to do a “comprehensive” investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh. But he also said he stands by his Supreme Court nominee “all the way.”

Trump said during a Rose Garden press conference that he wants the probe to wrap up quickly because the accusations have been “so unfair” to Kavanaugh and his family. But he said it’s fine with him if the FBI wants to pursue accusations made by three women who have publicly come forward even as he has left the scope of the investigation to Senate Republicans.

“My White House will do whatever the senators want,” Trump said. “The one thing I want is speed.”

The president added, “We don’t want to go on a witch hunt, do we?”

READ MORE: Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination to go to full Senate

READ MORE: Senator confronted by angry protester, calls for delay on key Kavanaugh vote

Trump also said he was surprised Kavanaugh has been so open about his beer drinking, one area Democrats are planning to focus on as they question whether the nominee was fully truthful in his testimony before the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., mocked the questions about Kavanaugh’s drinking in high school and college and accused Democrats of “moving the goalpost” in a bid to stop the nomination. He pledged that the Senate will be voting on Kavanaugh this week.

“The time for endless delay and obstruction has come to a close,” he said.

The White House insisted it was not “micromanaging” the review of Kavanaugh’s background, but some Democratic lawmakers claimed the White House was keeping investigators from interviewing certain witnesses. Trump tweeted that no matter how much time and discretion the FBI was given, “it will never be enough” for Democrats trying to keep Kavanaugh off the bench.

The Democratic leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, stressed the importance of conducting a “serious, impartial and thorough” FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh. He praised Trump for saying there will be no limits on the investigation, but said the order to the FBI needs to be made public “so the whole country” can see it.

FBI agents have interviewed one of the three women who have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Senators have asked that the background investigation be completed by Friday.

Even as the FBI explored the past allegations that have surfaced against Kavanaugh, another Yale University classmate came forward to accuse the federal appellate judge of being untruthful in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the extent of his drinking in college.

As the fresh review unfolded, the prosecutor who was brought in by Republicans to handle questioning at last week’s hearing outlined in a new memo why she did not believe criminal charges would be brought against Kavanaugh if it were a criminal case rather than a Supreme Court confirmation process. Rachel Mitchell wrote that she did not believe a “reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee.”

Mitchell argued that that there were inconsistencies in accuser Christine Blasey Ford’s narrative and said no one has corroborated Ford’s account. Ford, a California college professor, was not questioned as part of a criminal proceeding but in the confirmation process.

READ MORE: Trump says his past accusers influence thinking on Kavanaugh

READ MORE: GOP pushing forward for Kavanaugh, accuser wants ‘fairness’

In speaking to FBI agents, Deborah Ramirez detailed her allegation that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party in the early 1980s when they were students at Yale University, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to publicly discuss details of a confidential investigation.

Kavanaugh has denied Ramirez’s allegation.

The person familiar with Ramirez’s questioning, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said she also provided investigators with the names of others who she said could corroborate her account.

But Ford, who says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers, has not been contacted by the FBI since Trump on Friday ordered the agency to take another look at the nominee’s background, according to a member of Ford’s team.

Kavanaugh has denied assaulting Ford.

In a statement released Sunday, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s said he is “deeply troubled by what has been a blatant mischaracterization by Brett himself of his drinking at Yale.” Charles “Chad” Ludington, who now teaches at North Carolina State University, said he was a friend of Kavanaugh’s at Yale and that Kavanaugh was “a frequent drinker, and a heavy drinker.”

“On many occasions I heard Brett slur his words and saw him staggering from alcohol consumption, not all of which was beer. When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive,” Ludington said. While saying that youthful drinking should not condemn a person for life, Ludington said he was concerned about Kavanaugh’s statements under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Speaking to the issue of the scope of the FBI’s investigation, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said White House counsel Don McGahn, who is managing Kavanaugh’s nomination, “has allowed the Senate to dictate what these terms look like, and what the scope of the investigation is.”

Senate Judiciary Committee member Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., requested an investigation last Friday — after he and other Republicans on the panel voted along strict party lines in favour of Kavanaugh’s confirmation — as a condition for his own subsequent vote to put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

Another committee member, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Sunday that testimony would be taken from Ramirez and Kavanaugh’s high school friend Mark Judge, who has been named by two of three women accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

“I think that will be the scope of it. And that should be the scope of it,” Graham said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Sen. Susan Collins said Sunday she is confident in the investigation and “that the FBI will follow up on any leads that result from the interviews.” The Maine Republican is among a few Republican and Democratic senators who have not announced a position on Kavanaugh.

READ MORE: Christine Blasey Ford steps into spotlight; defiant Kavanaugh fights back

READ MORE: Allegations against Kavanaugh pose test for #MeToo movement

Republicans have 51 seats in the closely divided 100-member Senate and cannot afford to lose more than one vote on confirmation.

At least three women have accused Kavanaugh of years-ago misconduct. He denies all the claims.

The third woman, Julie Swetnick, accused Kavanaugh and Judge of excessive drinking and inappropriate treatment of women in the early 1980s, among other accusations. Kavanaugh has called her accusations a “joke.” Judge has said he “categorically” denies the allegations.

Swetnick’s attorney, Michael Avenatti, said Saturday that his client had not been contacted by the FBI but was willing to co-operate with investigators.

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

Associated Press writers Eric Tucker, Lisa Mascaro and Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington and Jonathan Lemire in New York contributed to this report.

Darlene Superville And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pipestone Flyer file photo
Nominations now open for 2021 general municipal election

Nominations for Wetaskiwin’s general municipal election are now open until Sept. 20, 2021.

Facebook/ Jocelyne Pepin Young
 Facebook/ Jocelyne Pepin Young
 Facebook/ Jocelyne Pepin Young
 Facebook/ Jocelyne Pepin Young
Millet Couple share their COVID project, Little Free Library, with the community

They took inspiration from others doing similar book shares around Millet and Wetaskiwin.

Black Press file photo
Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate fatal pedestrian collision

A 37-year-old man from Maskwacis has died in hospital as a result of his injuries.

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Red Fraggle, one of Jim Henson Company’s Fraggle Rock characers, is shown at Time To Play Holiday Show, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010, in New York. The Jim Henson Company says production has officially started in Calgary on a reboot of the original 1980s children’s puppet series, which was filmed in Toronto.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mark Lennihan
‘Fraggle Rock’ children’s puppet series reboot starts production in Calgary

A spokesperson says the new series will stream on Apple TV plus

A registered nurse prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Yukon’s Minister of Community Services, John Streiker, says he’s outraged that a couple from outside the territory travelled to a remote community this week and received doses of COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-POOL
Couple charged after travelling to Yukon to get COVID-19 vaccine

The maximum fine under the emergency measures act is $500, and up to six months in jail

Metis Nation of B.C. President Clara Morin Dal Col poses in this undated handout photo. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Metis Nation of B.C. *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Metis Nation of B.C. suspends president, citing ‘breach’ of policies, procedures

Vice-president Lissa Smith is stepping in to fill the position on an acting basis

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Payette shouldn’t get same benefits as other ex-governors general: O’Toole

Former governors general are entitled to a pension and also get a regular income paid to them for the rest of their lives

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Blackfalds RCMP investigate fatal collision

Preliminary investigation revealed a south bound pickup truck collided with an eastbound car

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Most Read