President Trump Orders FBI Investigation Into Allegations Against Kavanaugh as Senate Delays Floor Vote

President Trump on Friday ordered the FBI to conduct a limited background investigation into the allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, as Senate Republicans delayed plans to hold votes on the nomination this weekend.

“I’ve ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh’s file,” Trump said in a statement. “As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week.”

Trump’s order came after after several undecided senators whose votes are needed to confirm Kavanaugh called for a weeklong FBI probe before a floor vote.

The Senate had been expected to launch into full debate over Kavanaugh’s nomination this weekend, with a final vote tentatively set for Tuesday. But those plans are being delayed until at least the middle of next week. That tees up a potential confirmation vote late next week, next weekend or perhaps the week of Oct. 7.

Earlier Friday, under pressure from Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked for a FBI investigation “limited to current credible allegations against the nominee,” saying it “must be completed no later than one week from today.”

Kavanaugh, who has denied all the allegations, said in a statement he will “cooperate.”

“Throughout this process, I’ve been interviewed by the FBI, I’ve done a number of ‘background’ calls directly with the Senate, and yesterday, I answered questions under oath about every topic the senators and their counsel asked me,” Kavanaugh said in a statement. “I’ve done everything they have requested and will continue to cooperate.”

For days, Republicans have resisted calls from Democrats for the FBI to investigate the claims of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh dating back to high school and college, saying they were capable of investigating the allegations themselves.

But that changed Friday after Flake, who earlier in the day announced he would endorse Kavanaugh, called for a delay in a full floor vote to allow for an FBI inquiry “limited in time and scope.”

While backing Kavanaugh at the committee level, Flake said he’d only be comfortable moving ahead on the floor if the FBI investigates further.

Several other senators — both Republican and Democrat — on the fence joined Flake in supporting the move.

“I support this sensible agreement,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said.

“In order to fully and fairly complete our due diligence, allowing the FBI up to one week to supplement its background investigation is appropriate,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

“I support Sen. Flake’s call for a non-partisan FBI investigation into the allegations about Judge Kavanaugh – which I’ve been pressing for,” said Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

“I applaud Senator Jeff Flake’s decision to rise above the partisan circus on display during this entire process,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

An attorney for Kavanaugh accuser Christine Ford, Debra S. Katz, said in a statement Friday that Ford “welcomes this step in the process.” But Katz took issue with the one-week limit, saying no “artificial limits as to time or scope should be imposed on this investigation.”

When asked if they could get the investigation done in a week, a senior FBI official told Fox News, “That depends on the schedules of everyone we’d have to interview, including the accuser, accused and witnesses.”

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Source: Fox News