Trump orders limited FBI investigation to supplement Kavanaugh background check

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh waits to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Sept. 6 for the third day of his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill.

WASHINGTON: President Trump has ordered the FBI to conduct a limited “supplemental investigation” into his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, to update the judge’s background check, following a deal struck by Senate Republicans to move the nomination forward.
The move comes after Senate Republicans agreed to delay a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination to give the FBI one week to look into into allegations of sexual assault brought against him — all of which the federal appeals court judge denies.
The Senate moved ahead with a procedural vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination Friday evening but is expected to put off the final floor vote until the FBI finishes its review.
In a statement released by the White House Friday, Kavanaugh said he will continue to cooperate in the confirmation process. “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.”
It’s only the latest unexpected twist that came after a long day of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday by an agitated and sometimes tearful Kavanaugh, who defended his honor and integrity, and an emotional Christine Blasey Ford, who fought back tears as she told senators how Kavanaugh allegedly sexually assaulted her in high school while he was drunk.
Ford’s attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that while Ford “welcomes this step in the process … no artificial limits as to time or scope should be imposed on this investigation.”
Ford had repeatedly asked for an FBI investigation during her testimony, which only Democrats on the committee then supported. Central to that investigation would be questioning Mark Judge — a friend of Kavanaugh’s who Ford says was present during the alleged sexual assault more than 30 years ago.
Judge told the Judiciary Committee Friday that he would “cooperate with any law enforcement agency that is assigned to confidentially investigate these allegations.” Republicans on the committee had defeated a motion from Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., earlier on Friday to subpoena Judge to testify before the committee. Judge has denied being involved in any such sexual assault or in actions alleged by other women that have also surfaced in relation to Kavanaugh in recent weeks.
On Friday, the Judiciary Committee approved Kavanaugh’s nomination along a party-line vote, but only after Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake proposed the weeklong FBI investigation that would be “limited in time and scope” to further look into the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.
That followed behind-the-scenes drama on the committee, which delayed a planned vote by about 30 minutes as Flake was huddled outside the room with both Democrats and Republicans to relay his concerns Friday afternoon.
Flake then returned and announced he would vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate with the understanding that his request would be honored.
“I think that we ought to do what we can to make sure that we do all due diligence with a nomination this important,” Flake said. He noted he had talked with other Democrats who had been “justifiably uncomfortable” moving forward and that this proposal might help heal the country, which is being “ripped apart.”