President Trump orders FBI probe into Brett Kavanaugh; Senate vote delayed
The Supreme Court nominee has also been accused of sexual misconduct from two other women — Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick.
President Donald Trump ordered a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) probe into the sexual assault allegations against his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Friday, shortly after Republicans and the White House agreed to a one-week delay to the Senate voting process for Kavanaugh's confirmation, according to CNN.
Trump, in a statement, 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 delay in the voting resulted because of Republican Senator Jeff Flake (Arizona), who at the last minute of the voting, said that he would only be satisfied if Kavanaugh's sexual assault allegations were looked into by the FBI. Flake demanded the investigation into the allegations after a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting approved Kavanaugh's nomination by a 11-10 party line vote. The Arizona senator said that his 'yes' vote was conditioned on an investigation taking place.
Reports state that Swing votes -- Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin -- also backed Flake's demand for an FBI investigation before voting on Kavanaugh's confirmation.
The Senate also voted to pass a motion to proceed to the Supreme Court nominee's confirmation, which would formally start the consideration of his nomination by the full Senate. The final decision, however, will be taken pending the FBI investigation, according to reports.
The voting for Kavanaugh's nomination came a day after the extraordinary and historic hearing of clinical psychology professor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford who publicly came forward to detail her sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
Kavanaugh's confirmation would potentially establish a conservative majority on the Supreme Court bench, which could likely last for generations. Ford's testimony, which was painful to watch for many, was widely seen as credible as she asked for an FBI investigations into her claims and stood in stark contrast to Kavanaugh's, who not even once, conceded for an FBI investigation, repeatedly suggesting that the Senate hearing was enough. The judge has also been accused of sexual misconduct from two other women — Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick. He, however, has denied all the allegations.
Kavanaugh's testimony immediately received an appreciative response from President Donald Trump, who said on Twitter: "Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting."
Ahead of the voting on Kavanaugh's confirmation, the American Bar Association, had called for the Judiciary Committee to pause the confirmation process and had called for FBI investigations into the sexual assault allegations laid by the three women against Kavanaugh.
A leading Catholic journal, America Magazine, pulled back its endorsement of Kavanaugh, who is a Catholic himself, shortly after the hearing and also called for his nomination to be withdrawn, according to reports.
The dean of Yale Law School, Dean Gerken, on Friday also issued a statement, calling for an investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh before a confirmation hearing. Kavanaugh attended Yale for both undergraduate and law school and mentioned being proud of his education from the institution multiple times during his testimony.