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Trump Claim That FBI Has ‘Free Reign’ In Kavanaugh Probe Contradicted By White House Official: NBC News


Trump Claim That FBI Has ‘Free Reign’ In Kavanaugh Probe Contradicted By White House Official: NBC News

President Trump on Saturday claimed the FBI has “free rein” to investigate claims of sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a remark that directly contradicting a report by NBC News that the White House is limiting the scope of the FBI’s investigation.

“They have free rein. They’re going to do whatever they have to do,” Trump said in response to a question from a White House reporter. “Whatever it is they do. They’ll be doing things that we never even thought of. And hopefully, at the conclusion, everything will be fine.”

However, NBC News reported on Saturday that the FBI will only be examining the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez. The bureau has reportedly not been permitted to investigate the claims of Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of engaging in sexual misconduct at parties while he was a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in the 1980s.

A White House official confirmed to NBC News that Swetnick’s claims will not be pursued as part of the reopened background investigation into Kavanaugh.

NBC News reports:

Instead of investigating Swetnick’s claims, the White House counsel’s office has given the FBI a list of witnesses they are permitted to interview, according to several people who discussed the parameters on the condition of anonymity. They characterized the White House instructions as a significant constraint on the FBI investigation and caution that such a limited scope, while not unusual in normal circumstances, may make it difficult to pursue additional leads in a case in which a Supreme Court nominee has been accused of sexual assault.

The limited scope seems to be at odds with what some members of the Senate judiciary seemed to expect when they agreed to give the FBI as much as a week to investigate allegations against Kavanaugh, a federal judge who grew up in the Washington DC area and attended an elite all-boys high school before going on to Yale.

Sen. Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, who led an 11th hour move in the Senate committee for an FBI inquiry, said he thought the bureau would decide how to carry it out. His Democratic colleague Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island said he expected the FBI probe to include “adequate staffing,” support from the committee for “rapid immunity and subpoena decisions as needed, plus the ability to investigate claims of a “penchant for drunkenness and inappropriate treatment of women, particularly where specifically related to incidents under investigation.”

A White House official did not specifically dispute limitations on the scope of the FBI’s investigation to NBC News.

White House spokesman Raj Shah said that “the scope and duration has been set by the Senate. The White House is letting the FBI agents do what they are trained to do.”

NBC News notes that if “the FBI learns of others who can corroborate what the existing witnesses are saying, it is not clear whether agents will be able to contact them under the terms laid out by the White House, the two sources briefed on the matter said.”

The FBI is reportedly forbidden from asking the supermarket that employed Mark Judge for records verifying when he was employed there and will also not be allowed to examine why Kavanaugh’s account of his drinking at Yale University differs from those of some former classmates.

Julie Swetnick’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, confirmed Saturday that he has “yet to hear from the FBI.”

Avenatti said he was ready to disclose to the FBI “all information and witnesses in our possession.”

“We continue to request this opportunity as we have been doing for days,” Avenatti continued in a tweet. “My client is telling the truth and deserves to be heard and not shammed.”


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