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Trump asks FBI for updated Kavanaugh probe

Posted: 3:12 PM, Sep 28, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-28 17:25:36-04

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh (all times local):

4:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump is directing the FBI to launch a supplemental investigation into his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at the request of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Trump says in a statement that the updated investigation, which comes in response to sexual misconduct allegations, “must be limited in scope” and “completed in less than one week.”

The decision marks a reversal for the administration, which had argued that Kavanaugh had already been vetted.

Kavanaugh has adamantly denied the allegations.

Senate Republican leaders agreed Friday to delay a final vote on Kavanaugh to allow time for an investigation by the FBI at the request of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake.

Kavanaugh says he’s done “everything” the Senate has asked of him and “will continue to cooperate.”

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4 p.m.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh says in a statement released by the White House that he “will continue to cooperate” after senators asked President Donald Trump to open a supplemental background investigation of the embattled Supreme Court nominee.

Kavanaugh says he’s been interviewed by the FBI during his confirmation process and conducted “background” calls with the Senate. He says he answered questions under oath Thursday “about every topic the Senators and their counsel asked me.”

Kavanaugh says, “I’ve done everything they have requested and will continue to cooperate.”

Trump is ordering the new FBI probe of Kavanaugh, saying it must be “limited in scope” and last no longer than a week.

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3:40 p.m.

Two Republican senators who could be the deciding votes on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are endorsing a FBI background investigation into the sexual misconduct accusations against him.

Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told reporters they support a deal reached among senators to delay a vote on Kavanaugh.

Collins says the deal “is an important development and I believe it will let us go forward.”

Murkowski says she wants to make sure senators “do our due diligence.”

President Donald Trump will have to ask the FBI for the investigation into Kavanaugh. The Senate Judiciary Committee said the probe should be limited to “current credible allegations against the nominee” and be finished by Oct. 5.

Kavanaugh denies the allegations.

Both Collins and Murkowski are undecided on whether to vote for Kavanaugh.

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3 p.m.

The Senate Judiciary Committee says it will ask President Donald Trump to open a supplemental background investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

In a statement, the committee says it will ask that the FBI’s probe be limited to “current credible allegations against the nominee.” It also says that investigation should be completed no later than Oct. 5.

Democrats for days have been demanding an FBI investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh, but Republicans had refused to seek one. That changed Friday when Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona said a background investigation should be conducted before a final Senate vote on the nominee.

Only Trump can order the FBI to reopen the investigation.

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2:50 p.m.

Senate Republican leaders have agreed to delay a final vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to allow time for an investigation by the FBI of the sexual misconduct allegations against him.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican, says, “There’s going to be a supplemental background investigation,” which would delay a vote “no later than one week.”

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called earlier Friday for the FBI to investigate the sexual misconduct claims against Kavanaugh. He said the process should not take longer than a week.

After Flake made that call, the Judiciary Committee sent Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate in an 11-10 vote.

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2:15 p.m.

A high school friend of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says he will cooperate with any law enforcement agency that will “confidentially investigate” sexual misconduct allegations against him and Kavanaugh.

Mark Judge sent a signed letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday, saying he “categorically” denies sexual misconduct allegations made by Julie Swetnick.

In a sworn statement released Wednesday, Swetnick accused Kavanaugh and Judge of excessive drinking and inappropriate treatment of women in the early 1980s, among other accusations.

Judge says in his letter that he doesn’t know Swetnick and does not recall any parties in the early 1980s where he “fondled or grabbed women in an aggressive or unwanted manner.”

He says Swetnick’s allegations are “so bizarre” and he “would remember actions so outlandish.”

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2:10 p.m.

One of the few Senate Democrats who remains undecided on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court is backing calls for an FBI investigation of sexual misconduct claims against the nominee.

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said senators need to slow down on confirming Kavanaugh so the investigation can be conducted. The probe should happen, in his words, “so that our country can have confidence in the outcome of this vote.”

He applauded the “courage” of Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, who on Friday urged a delay of up to one week on Kavanaugh’s nomination to allow time for the FBI investigation.

Manchin is facing a tough re-election race this year in West Virginia, a state President Donald Trump won handily in the 2016 election.

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1:50 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is meeting with Republicans senators in his office to discuss the next steps on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate Friday afternoon. GOP senators from the panel dashed to McConnell’s office immediately after the vote.

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a member of the committee, has called for the FBI to investigate the sexual misconduct claims against Kavanaugh. Asked what he hoped to accomplish, Flake replied: “A better process.”

Flake wants a delay of up to a week. The decision rests with Republican leaders.

Entering McConnell’s office, Sen. John Kennedy called the developments a “grotesque carnival.”

Kavanaugh denies the charges.

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1:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he found Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in high school, “a very credible witness.”

Trump told reporters Friday at the White House that he thought Ford’s testimony Thursday to the Senate Judiciary Committee “was very compelling” and that “she looks like a very fine woman, very fine woman.”

But Trump also says he though Kavanaugh’s adamant denial “really something that I hadn’t seen before. It was incredible.”

Trump called it “an incredible moment I think in the history of our country.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Friday to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Senate floor – but Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake said the full Senate vote should be delayed for a week.

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1:25 p.m.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says it’s going to fall to him to lay out to President Donald Trump why Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation vote has been delayed.

He spoke after Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake said he would vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate only if the final confirmation vote is delayed for an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations.

Christine Blasey Ford says Kavanaugh attacked her in a locked room at a high school house party. Kavanaugh denies that.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Friday to advance the nomination to the full Senate, but Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley noted the timing on Senate vote was up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Graham, of South Carolina, is a Trump ally who is on the panel. Graham told reporters after the committee vote that somebody is going to have to explain the delay to Trump. Graham added: “I guess that’ll be my job.”

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1:18 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he’ll leave it to the Senate to determine when it will vote on his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. But Trump is expressing optimism, saying: “I’m sure it will all be very good.”

Trump told reporters Friday during a meeting with the President of Chile that undecided Republican senators “have to do what they think is right” and “be comfortable with themselves” on the Kavanaugh vote.

But he said he hadn’t thought at all about a replacement, “Not even a little bit.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Friday along party lines to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Senate floor.

But Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona said at the last minute that he could not promise to vote for Kavanaugh on the Senate floor and called for a delay of up to a week for a further investigation of sexual assault accusations.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

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1:10 p.m.

Sen Jeff Flake says Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination should on hold so the FBI can investigate the sexual misconduct allegations against him.

Flake, the deciding vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, voted to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to a full floor vote, but said the vote should be delayed for up to a week to allow time for the investigation of Christine Blasey Ford’s claims.

Ford says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while the two were in high school.

Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s accusation.

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WASHINGTON (AP) – After a dramatic flurry of last-minute negotiations, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh cleared a key procedural hurdle Friday, but his confirmation prospects were still deeply uncertain as Republicans agreed to ask for a new FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations.

Special Report: Senate Judiciary Committee votes on Kavanaugh nomination. https://katc.com/ap-national-news/2018/09/28/senate-panel-sets-130-p-m-vote-on-kavanaugh/

Posted by KATC-TV 3: Acadiana's Newschannel on Friday, September 28, 2018

 

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.

It was unclear whether President Donald Trump backed the new timeline, cobbled together in private negotiations Friday. The talks were forced by Sen. Jeff Flake, a moderate Republican who surprised colleagues by announcing his support for Kavanaugh early Friday only to call for further investigation a few hours later.

Trump, who previously accused the Democrats of obstruction and opposed the FBI probing the allegations against his nominee, said merely that he would “let the Senate handle that.” In fact, it’s the White House that would have to ask the FBI to investigate.

Friday’s developments unfolded a day after Kavanaugh and an accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, testified in an emotional, hours-long hearing that was televised nationwide. Kavanaugh angrily denied the allegation that he assaulted Ford while they were both in high school, but she said she was “100 percent” certain he was her attacker.

Flake, a key moderate Republican, was at the center of Friday’s drama and uncertainty. In the morning, he announced that he would support Kavanaugh’s nomination. Shortly after, he was confronted in an elevator by two women who, through tears, implored him to change his mind. The stunning confrontation was captured by television cameras.

After huddling privately with his colleagues, Flake announced he would vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate only if the FBI were to investigate the allegations against the judge. Democrats have been calling for such an probe, though Republicans and the White House have insisted it’s unnecessary.

The committee vote was 11-10 along party lines.

Flake said that after discussing the matter with fellow senators, he felt it “would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but not more than one week.”

Attention quickly turned to a handful of undecided senators. West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said he supported Flake’s call to push off a full Senate vote until the FBI investigates Ford’s allegation. He said the probe should happen “so that our country can have confidence in the outcome of this vote.”

It was unclear if Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska would do the same.

With a 51-49 majority, Senate Republicans have little margin for error on a final vote, especially given the fact that several Democrats facing tough re-election prospects this fall announced their opposition to Kavanaugh on Friday. Sens. Bill Nelson of Florida, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Jon Tester of Montana all said they would vote no.

During Thursday’s hearing, Democrats repeatedly peppered Kavanaugh with questions about whether he would support an FBI investigation. He demurred, saying he would back whatever the committee decided to do.

The FBI conducts background checks for federal nominees, but the agency does not make judgments on the credibility or significance of allegations. It compiles information about the nominee’s past and provides its findings to the White House, which passes them along to the committee. Republicans say reopening the FBI investigation is unnecessary because committee members have had the opportunity to question both Kavanaugh and Ford and other potential witnesses have submitted sworn statements.

If the FBI does reopen the background investigation, agents could interview accusers and witnesses and gather additional evidence or details that could help corroborate or disprove the allegations.

Democrats have been particularly focused on getting more information from Mark Judge, a high school friend of Kavanaugh who Ford said was also in the room during her alleged assault. In her gripping testimony, Ford said Kavanaugh and Judge’s laughter during the incident has stuck with her nearly four decades later.

Judge has said he does not recall any such incident. In a new letter to the Senate panel, he said he would cooperate with any law enforcement agency assigned to investigate “confidentially.”

Flake, a 55-year-old Arizonan, has made himself a central character in the drama. As a retiring Republican, with no public plans to face GOP voters soon, Flake has emerged this year as a vocal and biting Trump critic and an advocate for bipartisan cooperation in Washington, even has he largely votes with his party.

Flake’s post on the committee has given him another platform. In recent weeks, he’s acted as a committee liaison to the Democrats and moderates Republicans urging a slower process. Last weekend, he pushed the committee to give Ford more time to decide whether to testify. Democrats have been eyeing him as a possible “no” vote, leaving many surprised to see him announce Friday morning that he backed the judge. He made clear hours later his vote wasn’t yet secure.