President Donald Trump has stood by his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, arguing that an FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations against him are unnecessary, USA Today reports.
Speaking to reporters at the White House Trump said that he was “looking to get this done as quickly as possible,” before adding that he wanted everyone to have a chance to say what they need to say about Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh has not spoken about the sexual assault allegations brought forward by Christine Blasey Ford relating to a high school party in 1982, neither publicly nor with the president as Trump has said he thought it was wise to not talk to Kavanaugh about the matter.
All 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee formally requested that the background investigation into Kavanaugh be reopened by FBI director Chris Wray and White House counsel Don McGahn. Trump pushed against that notion, saying that the FBI doesn’t want to be involved.
“I don’t think the FBI should be involved because they don’t want to be involved.”
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has also sided with the president, arguing that the FBI has done everything it needed to do in relation to the matter when it forwarded the letter to the White House counsel.
“The allegation does not involve any potential federal crime, the FBI’s role in such matters is to provide information for the use of the decision makers.”
President Trump on Judge #Kavanaugh: "I feel so badly for him that he's going through this, to be honest with you. I feel so badly for him. This is not a man that deserves this."— CSPAN (@cspan) September 18, 2018
Full video here: https://t.co/MbbmUQGrcj pic.twitter.com/bR0gOiyXph
In response to both the president’s and the DOJ’s comments, the Democrats on the committee argued that the request has not been to open a criminal investigation on Kavanaugh. Democrats argue that the request is for the FBI to follow up on its initial background check into Kavanaugh, asking for interviews of him, Ford, and other witnesses to be done.
There would be a precedent for the FBI reopening the background check as it did so when Clarence Thomas, appointed by another Republican president George H. W. Bush, was accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill. Those allegations came out after Thomas’ confirmation hearing through a leak of her interviews with the FBI. That led to the hearing being reopened because of the allegations, with Hill testifying in the renewed hearings which led to Thomas being confirmed.
Trump lamented the timing of the announcement, saying that he wished the allegations had come out sooner, but did not do what he had done in the past and said that the allegations were politically motivated. That is different from how Trump has tended to act when allegations were made against himself, blaming politics for any allegations.