Administration officials: FBI not being micromanaged on new Kavanaugh probe

Published on Sunday, 30 September 2018 21:00
Written by The Asdsociated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senior Trump administration officials insisted Sunday that the White House is not “micromanaging” a new FBI background check of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and that senators are dictating the parameters of the investigation.

President Donald Trump initially opposed such an investigation in the face of sexual misconduct claims against Kavanaugh, but the president and Senate Republican leaders agreed to an inquiry after GOP Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona made clear he would not vote to confirm Kavanaugh without one.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said White House counsel Don McGahn, who is shepherding Kavanaugh’s nomination, “has allowed the Senate to dictate what these terms look like, and what the scope of the investigation is.”

“The White House isn’t intervening. We’re not micromanaging this process. It’s a Senate process. It has been from the beginning, and we’re letting the Senate continue to dictate what the terms look like,” Sanders said.

Counselor Kellyanne Conway said the investigation will be “limited in scope” and “will not be a fishing expedition. The FBI is not tasked to do that.”

The precise scope of the investigation remained unclear.

Trump told reporters Saturday that the FBI “is all over talking to everybody” and that “this could be a blessing in disguise.”

“They have free rein. They’re going to do whatever they have to do, whatever it is they do. They’ll be doing things that we have never even thought of,” Trump said as he left the White House for a trip to West Virginia. “And hopefully at the conclusion everything will be fine.”

He revisited the “scope” question later Saturday on Twitter, writing in part, “I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion.”

Sanders said Trump, who has vigorously defended Kavanaugh but also raised the slight possibility of withdrawing the nomination should damaging information be found, “will listen to the facts” of the FBI investigation. But she expressed confidence that no new information will be uncovered, noting that the allegations had not surfaced during the judge’s six prior background checks for positions in the executive and judicial branches of government.

“I think we’re all pretty confident, given that we’ve been through this process a number of times, but we would assess that at that point,” Sanders said.

A person familiar with what Senate Republicans have asked of the White House said the request listed the people whom lawmakers want the FBI to interview and that the White House then asked the bureau to carry out the request.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Nation-World on Sunday, 30 September 2018 21:00. Updated: Sunday, 30 September 2018 21:02.