Republican Senate leadership acceded to Arizona Senator Jeff Flake’s demand that the body request an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, the Senate Judiciary Committee announced it “will request that the (Trump) administration instruct the FBI to conduct a supplemental FBI background investigation with respect to the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court.”
“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,” the statement read.
— Senate Judiciary (@senjudiciary) September 28, 2018
“The agreement reached Friday will hand over to the White House a final decision on whether the FBI conducts an investigation, though (President Donald Trump) has signaled his willingness to go along with the GOP leadership,” CNBC reported.
When asked on Friday about the Senate’s decision to delay a full vote on Kavanaugh, Trump told reporters at the White House that he trusted the lawmakers to do the right thing,
“I’m going to let the Senate handle that,” Trump said. “They’ll make their decisions, and they do a good job. Very professional.”
“I guess the vote was a positive vote, but there seems to be a delay. I’ll learn more about it,” he added, noting he had been in meetings with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera while the Judiciary Committee was holding its hearing.
Trump was asked what he thought of Kavanaugh sexual assault accuser Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the committee on Thursday.
“I thought her testimony was very compelling and she looks like a very fine woman to me,” he replied. “Certainly she was a very credible witness.”
The president added, “I thought that Brett’s testimony, likewise, was really something that I haven’t seen before, it was incredible. I think it was an incredible moment in the history or our country. I think it will work out very well for the country.”
Later on Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed on Twitter that Trump has ordered the FBI “to conduct a supplemental investigation.”
“Statement from President @realDonaldTrump: ‘I’ve ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh’s file. As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week.”
The Judiciary Committee’s vote to recommend Kavanaugh for the nomination fell along party lines, with the 11 Republicans on the committee voting for Kavanaugh and 10 Democrats voting against him.
At Friday’s hearing, Flake said that based on conversations he had with Democratic senators, “I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to, but not more than, one week in order to let the FBI do an investigation, limited in time and scope to the current allegations that are there.”
.@JeffFlake: “I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but not more than one week, in order to let the FBI do an investigation, limited in time and scope to the current allegations that are there.” https://t.co/FVPyEJhAJf pic.twitter.com/GZbxe2MPWb
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 28, 2018
“I will vote to advance the bill to the floor with that understanding,” he added.
Floor votes are set by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but Flake holds the power of a vote the Republicans will almost surely need to put Kavanaugh over the top.
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