Politics

Trump Pressures FBI to Wrap Up Kavanaugh Probe Quickly

White House press event about NAFTA circles back to Supreme Court issue

The FBI should wrap up its probe of Judge Brett Kavanaugh quickly, President Donald Trump said Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)

The FBI should wrap up its new investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, “quickly,” President Donald Trump said Monday, saying the bureau needs to “do what it has to do” in probing sexual assault allegations against someone up for a lifetime appointment to the high court.

Speaking at the White House at an event to tout a revised North American Free Trade Agreement, the president said he wants the bureau to complete the probe, prompted by demands from key Senate Republicans last week, because of Kavanaugh’s wife and daughters.  

“I feel bad for our country,” Trump said. The man who has been accused of sexual assault himself and was caught boasting of groping them on an errant "Access Hollywood" hot mic, blasted Senate Democrats by saying he “knows them” and “they are not angels.”

The president said “it wouldn’t bother me at all” if the FBI interviews all the nominee’s accusers.

The bureau should “interview anybody,” he said, then contradicted himself: “but within reason.” The president said he is not opposed to Kavanaugh being interviewed.

In a remarkable moment, Trump tried to downplay Kavanaugh’s high school drinking. He referred to an unnamed sitting senator whom he claims to have seen in compromising positions and drinking “aggressively.”

The president applauded the nominee for admitting in a Thursday hearing “I like beer.”

Trump dinged Democrats for not asking Kavanaugh about the last two decades of his adult life, then he attacking Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a frequent Trump antagonist, for making false statements about serving in combat in the Vietnam War. Trump received multiple deferments to get out of combat service himself, most famously for bone spurs in his foot. 

Trump also lashed out at Senate Judiciary ranking member Dianne Feinstein, accusing the California Democrat of leaking a confidential letter from Trump’s first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, although media outlets like The Intercept have stated that neither she nor her staff were their source.

The president also contended Kavanaugh did not mislead the panel about his drinking as a younger man, despite several contemporaries of the judge attesting to the contrary. 

Should the FBI probe show any of Kavanaugh’s accusers are telling the truth, the president said he is “open” to withdrawing the nomination. But he again immediately pivoted to saying the Kavanaughs have been treated poorly.

“If they find something,” Trump said of the FBI, he “absolutely” would consider pulling Kavanaugh’s name.

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