US President Donald Trump agreed to the demands by Democrats and ordered a limited investigation into allegations of sexual assault against his embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, throwing his Senate confirmation in doubt.
The FBI has been asked to complete its investigation in a week, meaning the confirmation of Kavanaugh, 53, as Supreme Court judge would be delayed by at least a week.
Announcing the development, Trump on Friday said, “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.”
In an accompanying statement issued by the White House, Kavanaugh promised full co-operation in the investigation.
“Throughout this process, I’ve been interviewed by the FBI, I’ve done a number of ‘background’ calls directly with the Senate, and yesterday, I answered questions under oath about every topic the senators and their counsel asked me. I’ve done everything they have requested and will continue to cooperate,” Kavanaugh said.
Trump’s announcement followed a letter from the judiciary panel seeking an expedited probe of the allegations pursuant to a bipartisan agreement to put off a vote on the nomination.
“The supplemental FBI background investigation would be limited to current credible allegations against the nominee and must be completed no later than one week from today,” the committee said.
The committee voted 11-10 Friday to send the Kavanaugh nomination to the full Senate.
At least three women have now accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct while drunk.
Kavanaugh is the second judge to be nominated by Trump on the nine-member US Supreme Court. Trump’s first nominee, Judge Gorsuch, was confirmed by the Senate on April 7, 2017.
(With inputs from agencies)