Trump orders Federal Bureau of Investigation probe of Brett Kavanaugh, Senate confirmation in doubt

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing

MICHAEL REYNOLDS via Getty Images Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing

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.

The woman, Deborah Ramirez, has agreed to cooperate with the FBI investigation, according to a statement issued by her attorney, John Clune.

Ramirez has accused Kavanaugh of exposing his genitals to her at a house party in the 80s while they were both students at Yale University.

Kavanaugh has also forcefully denied the allegations by Swetnick, calling them completely false and ridiculous.

Christine Blasey Ford testified to the Senate committee that he had sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers in the 1980s.

Lawyers for PJ Smyth and Leland Ingham Keyser, two others who Ford said were in the house when she was attacked, have said their clients are willing to cooperate "fully" with the FBI's investigation.

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While the precise scope of the investigation remains unclear, Mr Trump tweeted on Saturday that "the FBI have free rein".

A source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN that the FBI would take its direction from the White House, not the Senate, and that the agency would interview a handful of people.

"I think we will be in a different place [by then]", said Coons.

The president revisited the question of the scope of the FBI's probe later Saturday on Twitter, writing in part, "I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion". A Senate committee voted on Friday to approve Kavanaugh's nomination to the top United States court.

The key player in a day of dramatic and unexpected developments was Senator Jeff Flake, a moderate Republican who provided the decisive vote to approve Mr Kavanaugh's nomination in the Judiciary Committee and send the matter to the full Senate.

What will the FBI investigation do?

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Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) seized on what this entry might mean on Friday during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, one that ultimately resulted in Sen.

"The FBI has a job to do and that is to find the truth and present it", he said. Flake, whose request was supported by fellow Republicans Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski - as well as Democrats Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp - made the request as a condition of his own "yes" vote. Her allegations first appeared in the New Yorker.

"The Senate Judiciary Committee will request that the 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 committee said in a statement. "Who knows, maybe she didn't, but that was the worst body language I've ever seen".

While the White House has denied setting limits on the Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry, Norman Eisen, who was special counsel for ethics under President Barack Obama, tweeted that it would be highly unusual if it were to do so. Alcohol plays a role in Blasey's claims about the nominee, as well as the claims of two other women who came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. Kavanaugh has denied Ramirez's allegation. "She has been victimized by Democrats...on a search-and-destroy mission for Brett Kavanaugh", Cotton said, according to Politico.

"We heard her provide details in that story that can be corroborated and other facts that can be uncovered if we hear from other witnesses", Blumenthal said. Kavanaugh has denied the accusation.

Kavanaugh wouldn't answer directly when he was asked Thursday if he would agree to an FBI investigation, but said he would do whatever the Judiciary Committee wanted.

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