President Donald Trump said on Monday he wants the FBI to conduct a comprehensive investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but said he did not want to see a “witch hunt.”
“I want them to do a very comprehensive investigation. Whatever that means, according to the senators and the Republicans and the Republican majority, I want them to do that,” Trump said at a White House news conference. “With that being said, I’d like it to go quickly.”
Trump on Friday ordered the FBI to carry out an investigation lasting up to a week of the allegations against Kavanaugh, acting on a request from Senate Republican leaders who were pressed by moderate senators in Trump’s own party.
Christine Blasey Ford, a university professor from California, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in 1982 when they were both high school students in Maryland. Kavanaugh has denied her allegation, as well as sexual misconduct accusations by two other women.
Questions about the scope of the FBI investigation emerged over the weekend amid reports that Senate Republicans were working with the White House to contain the number of witnesses and the allegations to be investigated.
Democrats expressed concern on Sunday about reported efforts to stymie the probe, which comes after the Judiciary Committee approved Kavanaugh’s nomination on Friday before it goes to the full Senate for a final vote.
“It is up to me, but I’m instructing them (FBI) as per what I feel the Senate wants,” Trump said. “I want it to be quickly, because it’s unfair to the family and to the judge. It’s so unfair to his kids and his wife.”
“We don’t want to go on a witch hunt, do we?” Trump asked.
The Republican president was sympathetic to Kavanaugh, saying the nominee has been treated unfairly and that he believes Kavanaugh did not lie about the extent of his drinking in high school and college during testimony before the Senate panel on Thursday.
Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Will Dunham