Trump denies restricting FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh sexual assault allegations

Trump denies restricting FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh sexual assault allegations

Donald Trump has insisted the FBI has “free rein” to investigate Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after reports that the White House had restricted the scope of the investigation.

Taking to Twitter, the US president moved to deny an NBC News report which suggested that the bureau was not allowed to investigate claims made by Julie Swetnick, who along with Dr Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, has accused Judge Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. 

Ms Swetnick claimed that she witnessed Judge Kavanaugh and his former classroom, Mark Judge, attempt to get teenage girls “inebriated and disoriented so they could then be ‘gang raped’ in a side room or bedroom by a ‘train’ of numerous boys”. The 55-year-old has said that she was the victim of one of those gang rapes, but did not single Judde Kavanaugh or Mr Judge out as one of her assailants.

Judge Kavanaugh has denied all of the allegations. 

Mr Trump denied the investigation had been hampered and asking the network to correct its report, claimed he wanted the FBI to “interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion”.

He also told reporters that “the FBI, as you know, is all over talking to everybody,”

He said: “They have free rein. They’re going to do whatever they have to do, whatever it is they do. They’ll be doing things that we have never even thought of. And hopefully at the conclusion everything will be fine.”

The President’s denial was echoed by senior White House officials today who rebuffed suggestions the administration wanted to limit the probe.

“The White House is not micromanaging this process,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News, before insisting the Senate was in control of the scale of the investigation.

“The Senate is dictating the terms,” she said. “The FBI, this is what they do. And we’re out of the way and letting them do exactly that.”

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway also insisted that  the investigation was “not meant to be a fishing expedition” and would be “limited in scope”. She too argued any restrictions were set by the Senate, not the Trump administration.

The FBI is already investigating an accusation by Dr Ford, who said Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when they were both teenagers.

Deborah Ramirez, the second woman to accuse him, had been contacted by the FBI, according to her lawyer John Clune.

Ms Swetnick’s attorney Michael Avenatti claimed on Twitter that his client had not been contacted by investigators.

He added that his client was prepared to testify under oath before the US Senate Judiciary Committee but media reports subsequently suggested that the FBI was not planning to question her.

Mr Trump’s decision to launch an investigation into the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh came after mounting pressure from Ms Ford’s Senate testimony last week and concern from Democrats and Republicans.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-10 (11 Republican for, 10 Democrats against) nonetheless voted to advance Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to a full Senate vote.

The vote passed after Senator Jeff Flake urged Republicans to delay the final vote and allow time for a one-week FBI investigation.

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