President Donald Trump has ordered the FBI to open a “supplemental investigation” into allegations that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted multiple women, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced on Friday afternoon.
In a statement from Trump released by Sanders, Trump 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.
The move came shortly after outgoing Republican Senator Jeff Flake surprised the Senate Judiciary Committee with a last-minute request to re-open the FBI’s probe into Kavanaugh’s past, suggesting that he would not vote for Kavanaugh’s nomination in the full Senate otherwise. Later, Flake—who was confronted earlier in the day by protesters who shared their own stories of sexual assault while he stood awkwardly in an elevator—added that he would still prefer to see Kavanaugh seated on the Supreme Court, but made his request out of a desire for a “better process.”
Following Trump’s announcement of the FBI probe, the White House released a statement from Kavanaugh himself, in which he claimed he would “continue to cooperate” with the Senate during the investigation.
President Trump also weighed in on Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, in which Kavanaugh’s first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, forcefully recounted her allegations that a then-teenaged Kavanaugh had attempted to rape her during a house party in the early 1980s.
“She was a very credible witness,” Trump told reporters on Friday afternoon. “She was very good in many respects.” He added that “she looks like a very fine woman to me.”
Trump nevertheless was more effusive in his praise for Kavanaugh’s unhinged performance before the committee, in which he cried, yelled, interrupted, and denied all the allegations against him.
Denying that he’d thought about replacing Kavanaugh “even a little bit,” Trump called his appearance “Really something that I haven’t seen before. It was incredible.” Which, coming from an admitted sexual predator himself, is high praise.