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Former Tampa agent lays out how FBI will conduct Kavanaugh investigation

01 October 2018

President Donald Trump bowed to pressure from moderate members of his Republican Party on Friday and ordered the probe after Christine Blasey Ford, a university professor, detailed her allegations at a Senate hearing that Kavanaugh assaulted her in 1982, when the two were in high school.

A swift investigation by the FBI - should it produce no new information about Kavanaugh's past that hurts his chances - could permit Republicans to fire up the machinery of the Senate and potentially call procedural votes to advance the nomination by the end of the week.

Kavanaugh was interviewed by the committee on Tuesday about the allegation and categorically denied the claim.

The FBI is now conducting a supplemental background investigation "limited to current credible allegations" of sexual assault and misconduct against Kavanaugh, with a deadline of Friday to conclude its probe. The investigation is narrow in scope and is limited to one week, although Trump has said the FBI would have "free rein" in the probe.

Ramirez alleges that Kavanaugh exposed his penis to her during a drunken party at a Yale University dormitory when they were undergraduates. Two other women have accused the appeals court judge of sexual misconduct.

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Meanwhile, in a separate interview with CNN on Sunday, top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway said that she didn't "think" White House counsel Don McGahn would place limits on the FBI's investigation.

There are reportedly restrictions on the number of total witnesses federal investigators can interview, as well as on their ability to question Kavanaugh's Yale classmates about his drinking habits.

As the investigation is not a criminal one, the FBI will not say whether they believe the allegations are true.

Michael Avenatti, the attorney for a third Kavanaugh accuser, Julie Swetnick, said in an email to Reuters that his client has not been contacted by investigators. "Hello! For them, it will never be enough - stay tuned and watch!"

Humphries said the answers provided by witnesses could lead to other potential witnesses, something that Trump seemed to indicate was possible in a Tweet late Saturday night disputing an NBC report about the limited nature of the investigation.

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Republicans and Kavanaugh's defenders have argued that because the alleged assault happened 36 years ago, Ford may be remembering it wrong, and that it should carry less weight compared to Kavanaugh's standing since then.

The office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has been heavily involved in the process behind the scenes, suggested in an email to reporters on Sunday it did not view Swetnick's story as credible.

The White House had no immediate comment about Ludington's accusations. Stewart said the investigation's scope "was set" by the three GOP senators Friday and "has not changed".

"The White House is not getting involved in the FBI investigation in that way", she added.

"The longer that the nomination remains open, we know that more and more of these scurrilous, anonymous and uncorroborated allegations will be made", Cornyn said.

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