Trump orders new FBI investigation into Kavanaugh after Senate request

President TrumpDonald TrumpPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Has Trump beaten the system? 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 FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots MORE (R-Ariz.) and others called for the move.

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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 CollinsTransit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal The Hill's Morning Report - Infrastructure vote fails; partisan feud erupts over Jan. 6 panel Senate falling behind on infrastructure MORE (R-Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiWhy Biden's Interior Department isn't shutting down oil and gas Biden signs bill to bolster crime victims fund Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor MORE (R-Alaska), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinWhy Biden's Interior Department isn't shutting down oil and gas Overnight Energy: Senate panel advances controversial public lands nominee | Nevada Democrat introduces bill requiring feds to develop fire management plan | NJ requiring public water systems to replace lead pipes in 10 years Transit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal MORE (D-W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampJoe Manchin's secret Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda Effective and profitable climate solutions are within the nation's farms and forests 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 braces for a nasty debt ceiling fight Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor How Sen. Graham can help fix the labor shortage with commonsense immigration reform MORE (R-S.C.), who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, shouted at ranking member Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinBiden signs bill to bolster crime victims fund Stripping opportunity from DC's children Progressive groups ask for town hall with Feinstein to talk filibuster 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 DurbinDick DurbinNew York gun rights case before Supreme Court with massive consequences  Schumer leaves door open for second vote on bipartisan infrastructure deal Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor 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 ComeyBiden sister has book deal, set to publish in April Mystery surrounds Justice's pledge on journalist records NYT publisher: DOJ phone records seizure a 'dangerous incursion' on press freedom MORE and former Acting Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeThe FBI should turn off the FARA faucet John Durham's endgame: Don't expect criminal charges Carter Page sues over surveillance related to Russia probe 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.