President Donald Trump on Saturday pushed back on reports that the White House was setting a number of restrictions on the FBI investigation into sexual-misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, his Supreme Court nominee.
“NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people,” Trump tweeted. “Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion. Please correct your reporting!”
NBC had reported that the FBI was barred from investigating claims by Julie Swetnick, the third woman who has come forward publicly with decades-old allegations against Kavanaugh. It also reported that the White House had provided a list of witnesses the FBI was allowed to interview.
The FBI has already begun investigating accusations made by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, The Washington Post reported Saturday. Ford testified against Kavanaugh in an emotional hearing on Thursday, and Ramirez has alleged that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they were students at Yale University.
Swetnick has alleged in a sworn declaration that Kavanaugh was present at a party in the early 1980s where she was gang raped. During his hearing to address the allegations on Thursday, Kavanaugh called Swetnick’s claims a “farce.”
Swetnick is represented by the attorney Michael Avenatti, who tweeted on Saturday that neither he nor his client had been contacted by the FBI, and that any restrictions on the investigation from the White House would “undermine the legitimacy” of the entire investigation.
“If true, this is outrageous,” Avenatti tweeted. “Why are Trump and his cronies in the Senate trying to prevent the American people from learning the truth? Why do they insist on muzzling women with information submitted under penalty of perjury? Why Ramirez but not my client?”
President Donald Trump on Saturday told reporters that the FBI has “free rein” to do “whatever it is that they do” in the Kavanaugh investigation.
“Having them do a thorough investigation, I actually think it will be a blessing in disguise,” Trump said. “It will be a good thing.”
White House spokesman Raj Shah also told the Wall Street Journal that the “scope and duration has been set by the Senate,” and the White House was “letting the FBI agents do what they are trained to do.”
The FBI investigation into Ford’s and Ramirez’s claims came after a dramatic showdown in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday, in which Sen. Jeff Flake urged his Republican colleagues to allow a one-week FBI investigation into the Kavanaugh allegations.
Though Flake and the majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to move Kavanaugh’s nomination to a full Senate vote, he struck a deal with Democrats to delay the vote for a week while an FBI investigation goes ahead.
It’s unclear whether Flake had any White House restrictions in mind when he called for the investigation. Flake’s office did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on Saturday.