White House not 'micromanaging' Kavanaugh probe

White House not 'micromanaging' Kavanaugh probe

Kerry Wise
October 1, 2018

The FBI will not interview Julie Swetnick, the third woman to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, according to multiple reports and Republican senator Lindsey Graham, highlighting the narrow scope of the agency's supplemental investigation into Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to step forward with allegations of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, has not heard from FBI investigators examining claims made by Ford and others, a member of her legal team said Sunday.

Both Judge and Kavanaugh have vehemently denied any allegation of misconduct.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and senior adviser Kellyanne Conway denied during TV interviews Sunday that the White House is directing the process. In fact, it's the White House that would have to ask the FBI to investigate.

Trump had opposed another background review for Kavanaugh.

Republicans, who are trying to retain control of the U.S. Congress in November elections, seek to balance their desire to have a conservative judge on the Supreme Court with sensitivity in how they handle the sexual misconduct allegations amid the reverberations of the #MeToo movement.

Ms Ramirez alleged Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party in the early 1980s.

Mr Trump ordered the FBI to reopen Kavanaugh's background investigation, delaying a final vote on the nomination. "Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion".

A good agent, he said, "would address Kavanaugh's behavior and demeanor and credibility during his high school years".

David Gomez, a former FBI counterterrorism supervisor in Seattle, said officials at FBI headquarters typically will divide up leads that get assigned to different field offices across the country for further investigation and will set a quick deadline. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, and Chris Coons, D-Delaware, discussed what they thought of Kavanaugh's emotional testimony.

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Under pressure from moderate members, Republican leaders said they would allow the new probe for up to one week, slowing their rush to confirm Kavanaugh shortly after the new high court term opens on Monday.

But other women have spent hours calling Senate offices in support of Kavanaugh, condemning what they saw as an anti-Republican ploy that's damaged not only Kavanaugh's reputation and livelihood but also his accuser's.

The committee has said the probe should be limited to "current credible allegations" against Kavanaugh and be finished by Friday.

Though Flake and the majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to move Kavanaugh's nomination to a full Senate vote, he struck a deal with Democrats to delay the vote for a week while an FBI investigation goes ahead.

Kavanaugh and Ford, who says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when both were teenagers, testified publicly before the Judiciary Committee on Thursday. The New York Times reported on Saturday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not plan to question Swetnick, but could ask others about her allegations. That's what happened to me and that's what you're telling all women in America, that they don't matter, that they should just keep it to themselves because if they had told the truth you're just going to help that man to power anyway. "I don't know, have you?"

Emma Scott, an 18-year-old University of South Carolina freshman from Charleston, South Carolina, said that, while she doesn't doubt Ford endured a trauma of some kind, she wasn't convinced it could be tied to Kavanaugh.

"I would support the other person, and I think there's a lot of other people that would", she said. It compiles information about the nominee's past and provides its findings to the White House, which passes them along to the committee.

"Ford is political collateral, and they do not care", Mace said.

"Instead of watching, I decided I would be better served by praying for the people who were talking and listening", Conger said.