Donald Trump has belittled the FBI investigation into Judge Brett Kavanaugh just hours after ordering it.
The President tweeted at 8.30pm: ‘Just started, tonight, our 7th FBI investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He will someday be recognized as a truly great Justice of The United States Supreme Court!’
Kavanaugh will be investigated by the FBI over allegations he sexually assaulted Christine Ford after a sensational twist Friday in the Senate as two key Republicans said their votes for him depended on a probe.
Trump ordered the ‘supplemental investigation’ into his Supreme Court nominee at 5pm on Friday, with the White House saying it must be ‘limited in scope’, while Senate Republicans said it would take ‘up to’ a week.
In just a few days, Trump has jumped between calling the sexual assault allegations a ‘con job’, Ford a ‘credible witness’, and on Friday night emphasizing that this is the 7th FBI investigation of Kavanaugh and insisting he will be the next Justice of the Supreme Court.
The announcement from the White House came after a day of extraordinary drama, prompted by Jeff Flake, the moderate Republican.
At 9.30am he announced he would vote for Kavanaugh – then a minute later walked into a Senate elevator and was confronted by two protesters who told him they were sex abuse victims who wanted him to vote ‘no’.
At 1.30pm Senate Judiciary Committee vote was delayed as Flake spent time with Democrats – and then a dramatic deal unfolded.
Flake voted Kavanaugh through the Senate Judiciary Committee in return for asking for the probe.
John Cornyn, the second most senior Republican in the Senate, said the investigation would happen and take up to a week.
The Senate Judiciary Committee formally asked for the FBI probe into ‘current credible allegations’ against Kavanaugh on Friday afternoon, after voting for Kavanaugh to go to a full floor vote with Flake’s caveat.
The phrase still fails to make clear whether all three women who have publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault – Ford, Debbie Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick – will have their claims investigated.
‘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,’ according to the committee.
The phrase ‘current credible allegations’ is language Republicans insisted on to keep at bay new accusations they feared may come out of the woodwork.
Leaders appeared to be deliberately vague about the guidance being given to the FBI.
Asked by DailyMail.com Friday what counted as credible allegations to be investigated, Sen. John Cornyn didn’t respond as he entered his Senate office.
Cornyn confirmed the stunning development just hours after Senate Judiciary panel members had used speeches to denounce the idea of bringing in the FBI at this stage.
The Republicans’ hand was forced by a power-play undertaken by holdout Republican senators who the leadership needs to try to install President Trump’s nominee on the high court.
And Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s high school friend who Ford alleges took part in the attack, said that he would co-operate with any law enforcement agency that investigates ‘confidentially.’
He had claimed this week that he had depression and anxiety so did not want to testify in public, and was then Friday morning revealed to be available for public speaking engagements, in one of the more farcical turns of the Kavanaugh saga.
Judge’s only participation so far has been in the form of a brief letter signed by his lawyer and a letter carrying his own signature. He was spotted at a Delaware beach parking lot as allegations against Kavanaugh exploded.
The plan to quickly patch together an FBI investigation came after the Senate Judiciary Committee dramatically voted to advance the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh – but only after a deal involving Sen. Jeff Flake who demanded to a one-week FBI probe of the nominee’s background.
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who had announced just Friday morning he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, told committee colleagues he would vote to advance the bill, but only after saying there should be a week for an FBI investigation.
He told colleagues he had the support of at least two key votes, Republican senator Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Joe Manchin. The position of the third moderate Republican, Lisa Collins, was unknown.
On their own, Flake and Murkowski would be enough to torpedo Kavanaugh’s nomination, while Manchin, a Democrat whose state, West Virginia, voted for Donald Trump by 42 points, is the only Democrat to whom Republican leaders could have turned to force Kavanaugh through.
Key senators were still learning the details of the agreement, but Flake and holdouts appeared to have the leverage to enforce it.
And panel chair Sen. Charles Grassley was caught on a hot mic describing how it would hold together.
At the White House Trump was questioned just as the deal came together. While after Kavanaugh was voted through with the caveat, Republicans gathered in Mitch McConnell’s office to work out what to do next.
Trump, who was in the Oval Office, spoke publicly of Christine Ford for the first time since her dramatic and emotional testimony in which she said Kavanaugh tried to rape her, saying: ‘I thought her testimony was very compelling, and she looks like a very fine woman to me, a very fine woman.’
Debra Katz, Ford’s lawyer said: ‘A thorough FBI investigation is critical to developing all the relevant facts…. No artificial limits as to time or scope should be imposed on this investigation.’
The FBI move came in a sudden and dramatic change of plan for the Senate Judiciary Committee, and after Flake was caught in an elevator by two women who said they were victims of sexual abuse.
When they first met this morning, a vote was scheduled for 10.30 a.m., but then put off until 1.30 p.m. to allow senators to have their say.
Just after that, four Democrats walked out, and when it reached Flake’s turn to speak, he demurred.
The senators were supposed to sit in the room for the vote by 1.30 p.m. but as that time came and went it became clear that backroom talks were going on.
Finally, Grassley gaveled in the committee, and started with a statement that he was deferring to Flake, who outlined how he would vote to send Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate if there was a week-long FBI probe.
Amid confusion, Kavanaugh’s nomination was voted through, and then when Grassley adjourned the meeting, an open microphone caught Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat, asking if there was actually a deal.
‘This is all a gentleman and women’s agreement,’ Grassley told her on the hot mic. ‘But I’m committed …’ he added, before being cut off.
The maneuvering indicates Senate Republicans don’t yet have the votes to confirm Kavanaugh.
Sen. Jeff Coons of Delaware called it a ‘one week pause’ and said he was hopeful a report would be delivered and the committee could ask questions of bureau agents. He said there was enough ‘doubt raised’ by Ford’s testimony that further investigation was justified.
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Source: Daily Mail