President Donald Trump said on Friday that he had ordered the FBI to reopen its investigation into his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.
The move follows nearly two weeks of allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh that reached a crescendo on Thursday with the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, a California university professor who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers in the 1980s.
The renewed FBI investigation is expected to last one week.
Ford gave an emotional testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, describing her assertion that an intoxicated Kavanaugh forced himself on her and groped her at a high-school party.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
In a statement, Debra Katz, Ford’s lawyer, said that “a thorough FBI investigation is critical to developing all the relevant facts.”
“Dr. Christine Blasey Ford welcomes this step in the process and appreciates the efforts of Senators Flake, Murkowski, Manchin and Collins — and all other senators who have supported an FBI investigation — to ensure it is completed before the Senate votes on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination,” Katz added. “No artificial limits as to time or scope should be imposed on this investigation.”
Trump on Friday called Ford’s testimony “compelling” and described her as “a very credible witness.” Later in the day, he responded to the news about his order to the FBI, asserting that Kavanaugh would “someday” be seen as a “great” Supreme Court justice.
Over the nearly two weeks since Ford’s allegation became public, two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, have come forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. He has denied those accusations as well.
The Supreme Court nominee gave a fiery rebuttal to Ford’s testimony on Thursday, leaning heavily on attacking Democratic senators who helped give Ford a platform to tell her story. Kavanaugh accused them of trying to destroy his reputation.
On Friday, Judiciary Committee members voted to move Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Senate floor on the condition that a vote would not happen until after the FBI takes another look at Kavanaugh’s background as it relates to the allegations.
Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona led the march on that compromise, and Senate Republican leaders got on board with the plan on Friday afternoon.