WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Tuesday he would continue to back Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and does not think an FBI investigation of allegations against him is necessary before a high-stakes Senate hearing scheduled for next week.
“We are looking to get this done as quickly as possible,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “It’s a process. We all feel, speaking for all of the Republicans, we want to give everybody a chance to say what they have to say.”
He added: “Judge Kavanaugh is anxious” to tell his side of the story.
Trump said he has not spoken with Kavanaugh about Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that he sexually assaulted her at a high school party in 1982.Trump said he thought it was a “good idea not to” talk to the judge about the matter.
As for a pre-hearing investigation, Trump said: “I don’t think the FBI should be involved because they don’t want to be involved.”
All 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee urged FBI Director Chris Wray and White House Counsel Don McGahn on Tuesday to reopen Kavanaugh’s background investigation and provide a complete report before the hearing.
But the Department of Justice, referring back to a statement released Monday, says the FBI fulfilled its role by forwarding a letter to the White House Counsel’s Office.
“The allegation does not involve any potential federal crime,” a Justice Department spokesman said in a statement. “The FBI’s role in such matters is to provide information for the use of the decision makers.”
Democratic committee members say their request to the FBI is not for a criminal investigation, but “appropriate follow-up” to the FBI’s background investigation. In their letter to Wray and McGahn, they ask the FBI to interview Kavanaugh, Ford and other relevant witnesses. They say the White House counsel directed the FBI to investigate when Hill accused Thomas of sexual harassment.
“This nomination should not be treated differently simply because of an artificial deadline to rush the confirmation process,” the letter states.
Trump said he wishes the allegations against Kavanaugh had surfaced sooner, and he held off suggesting politics was involved.
“I don’t want to say that,” Trump said. “Maybe I’ll say that in a couple of days, but not now.”
Contributing: Nicole Gaudiano
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