Trump orders new FBI investigation into Kavanaugh after Senate request

President TrumpDonald John TrumpProsecutors investigating Trump inaugural fund, pro-Trump super PAC for possible illegal foreign donations: NY Times George Conway: Why take Trump's word over prosecutors' if he 'lies about virtually everything' Federal judge says lawsuit over Trump travel ban waivers will proceed MORE on Friday asked the FBI to investigate sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh after Senate Republicans agreed to a one-week investigation, temporarily delaying his nomination to the Supreme Court.

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

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday afternoon requested that Trump instruct the FBI to conduct the supplemental investigation after Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeOvernight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force Flake asks Daily Show where he can get a blanket emblazoned with his 'meaningless tweets' McCaskill: 'Too many embarrassing uncles' in the Senate MORE (R-Ariz.) and others called for the move.

ADVERTISEMENT

Flake said the FBI should conduct an investigation that is “limited in scope,” and said it should focus solely on credible accusations against Kavanaugh and last no longer than a week.

Multiple senators, including Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force House Dems follow Senate action with resolution to overturn IRS donor disclosure guidance Senate votes to overturn IRS guidance limiting donor disclosure MORE (R-Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHouse funding bill scraps Arctic icebreaker program Senate advances Trump energy pick after Manchin flips The Senate must reject Bernard McNamee’s nomination for FERC MORE (R-Alaska), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force Hillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — New momentum for privacy legislation | YouTube purges spam videos | Apple plans B Austin campus | Iranian hackers targeted Treasury officials | FEC to let lawmakers use campaign funds for cyber Manchin puts hold on FCC nomination over wireless internet fund delay MORE (D-W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampHatch warns Senate 'in crisis' in farewell speech Dem senators Heitkamp, Donnelly urge bipartisanship in farewell speeches House passes bipartisan bill aimed at reversing rising maternal mortality rates MORE (D-N.D.) soon followed. All of those senators are still undecided on Flake's nomination.

After Flake released an initial statement Friday morning saying he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, protesters confronted the senator to tell them their own stories of sexual assault.

Flake appeared visibly shaken by the encounters and met with Democrats in a backroom, announcing his call for an FBI probe shortly after.

After outlining his call for the supplemental FBI investigation, Flake then joined other Republicans on the Judiciary Committee on Friday in voting to send Kavanaugh's nomination to the full Senate.

The move marks a stark reversal for Republicans, many of whom voiced strong opposition in recent days to requesting an FBI investigation.

“If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could have come to us. What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020,” Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate votes to end US support for Saudi war, bucking Trump Former FBI official says Mueller won’t be ‘colored by politics’ in Russia probe GOP-controlled Senate breaks with Trump on Saudi vote MORE (R-S.C.), who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, shouted at ranking member Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate Dems urge Trump to continue nuclear arms control negotiations after treaty suspension Senate Intel leaders ask judge not to jail former aide amid leak investigation Dems demand Pompeo brief Congress on whether he discussed Assange with Ecuadorian official MORE (D-Calif.) during the hearings on Thursday. 

Republicans are set to hold a procedural vote on Kavanaugh's nomination on Saturday, though a final vote set for early next week is likely to be delayed to allow the FBI investigation to wrap up.

Democrats had been calling for such an investigation for days and received GOP support following a rollercoaster day on Capitol Hill on Thursday, when Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Judiciary panel.

Ford delivered gripping testimony outlining her allegation that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and tried to remove her clothes during a house gathering in 1982 when she and Kavanaugh were high schoolers.

While Ford has been the only one to testify before the Judiciary panel, two other woman came forward this week to accuse the nominee of misconduct stemming from his time in high school and college.

It wasn't immediately clear if the FBI investigation would focus solely on Ford's allegations or include those from other women.

Kavanaugh, who has flatly denied the allegations, offered a forceful defense of himself during the hearing Thursday. Speaking after Ford, the nominee called his confirmation process a "national disgrace" and insisted he had never sexually assaulted anyone.

He also repeatedly declined to comply with Democrats’ requests that he call for an FBI probe.

“They don’t reach conclusions, you reach the conclusions, senator…You know that’s a phony question,” Kavanaugh told Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinMegyn Kelly on Mika Brzezinski's comment controversy: 'I hope she's forgiven' McConnell sets Monday test vote on criminal justice bill Brzezinski apologizes after backlash over homophobic remark about Pompeo MORE (D-Ill.).

Trump on Friday afternoon called Ford a "credible" witness and described her testimony as "compelling," but also praised Kavanaugh's performance and told reporters that he had given no thought to having another nominee.

“I thought her testimony was very compelling, and she looks like a very fine woman to me,” Trump said following a meeting with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera at the White House.

“I thought that Brett’s testimony, likewise, was really something that I haven’t seen before, it was incredible,” Trump said. “I think it will work out very well for the country.” 

The president had previously refrained from involving the FBI in the confirmation process.

“Well, it would seem that the FBI really doesn’t do that. They’ve investigated about six times before, and it seems that they don’t do that,” he said last week, referring to background checks Kavanaugh has gone through in the past.

Trump has had an at times tense relationship with the nation’s foremost law enforcement agency. He has largely focused on those in leadership positions such as former Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyComey’s remarks about Trump dossier are not credible, says former FBI official Trump shock leaves Republicans anxious over 2019 Trump attorney general pick a prolific donor to GOP candidates, groups: report MORE and former Acting Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeComey’s remarks about Trump dossier are not credible, says former FBI official The Hill's Morning Report — Takeaways from the battle royal in the Oval Office Mueller’s real challenge MORE, faulting them for what he calls misconduct during the 2016 presidential election.

“After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters - worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness,” he tweeted in December.

Updated: 6:05 p.m.