WORLD Trump says FBI has 'free rein' in Kavanaugh investigation

WORLD

Trump says FBI has 'free rein' in Kavanaugh investigation

AP

22:38, September 30, 2018

Kavanaugh.jpeg

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Photo: AP)

The woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when they were students at Yale has agreed to cooperate with an FBI investigation, her lawyer says, and President Donald Trump says the bureau has “free rein” to conduct the inquiry.

Deborah Ramirez’s lawyer, John Clune, said Saturday that agents want to interview Ramirez, who has alleged that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party in the early 1980s. Two other women have accused the appeals court judge of sexual misconduct.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, once seen as assured, became uncertain after the allegations and then dramatic Senate testimony Thursday by Christine Blasey Ford, who alleges that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when they were teenagers. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of Kavanaugh along party lines Friday.

While the precise scope of the reopened background investigation of Kavanaugh remained unclear, Trump told reporters Saturday that “the FBI, as you know, is all over talking to everybody” and said “this could be a blessing in disguise.”

“They have free rein. They’re going to do whatever they have to do, whatever it is they do. They’ll be doing things that we have never even thought of,” Trump said at the White House. “And hopefully at the conclusion everything will be fine.”

The president revisited the question of the scope of the FBI’s probe in a late-night tweet Saturday, writing in part, “I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion.”

In a separate action involving the FBI, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked the Justice Department and the FBI to open a criminal investigation into “apparent false statements” that were made to committee investigators alleging sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh in 1985.

A constituent contacted the office of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., alleging that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted an acquaintance on a boat in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1985, but Grassley said the person later “‘recanted’ and apologized for the allegation via social media.

Trump ordered the FBI on Friday to reopen Kavanaugh’s background investigation after several women accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

Senate leaders agreed to delay a final vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination to allow for a one-week FBI investigation. The Judiciary Committee has said the probe should be limited to “current credible allegations” against Kavanaugh and be finished by next Friday.


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