The FBI is free to investigate any sexual misconduct allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that it deems credible, two White House spokeswomen said on Sunday, rebuffing reports that the administration has tried to limit the probe.
The move followed emotional testimony from Ford and Kavanaugh at a committee hearing on Thursday that further roiled emotions and outrage surrounding the nomination for a lifetime appointment to the high court.
Deborah Ramirez has accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a party while they were both students at Yale.
Besides Ford, two other women have made similar allegations of misconduct.
A Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Amy Klobuchar, told CNN that she was "very concerned" by the reported White House constraints on the inquiry.
The President also said that having the FBI conduct a thorough investigation could be "a blessing in disguise" and predicted that the agency would have the probe done in less than a week. "You know, I think you give a little leeway there", he said.
The source reiterated that the agents would make no conclusion about what witnesses tell them and would hand their results over to the White House, which is standard protocol in similar background investigations.
After a dramatic day-long hearing at which a university professor accused Kavanaugh of pinning her down and assaulting her at a party in the 1980s, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved his nomination in a preliminary vote along party lines.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday afternoon said the supplemental FBI investigation would be limited to "current credible allegations".
"I don't think there's ever been any person who's been under scrutiny like he has".
While the Senate, as well as women across the country, remain divided, the events on Thursday generated at least one common reaction. But Democrats said there had to be an Federal Bureau of Investigation background check into the claims against Kavanaugh before a final confirmation vote. She said Kavanaugh and Judge were "extremely inebriated. and the other people at the party were not".
Another restriction, according to NBC News, is that FBI investigators can not ask for employment records from the supermarket that employed Kavanaugh's friend Mark Judge, whom Ford alleges was present during the sexual assault.
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".
Since the New Yorker interview, Ramirez has not spoken on the record to the media about her allegation, which Kavanaugh has denied.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has questioned Kavanaugh and one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, and other potential witnesses have submitted sworn statements. Flake for several minutes while he was on an elevator. Kavanaugh has denied Ramirez's allegation.
But he said Kavanaugh then accused the Clintons of revenge and the Democrats upset over Trump's 2016 election win of carrying out a smear campaign.
"I never did anything remotely resembling what Dr. Ford describes", he said. The Kentucky senator feared it could not only heighten the tension around the delicate Kavanaugh proceedings but could endanger Republican control of the Senate.
Graham was referring to an allegation from another woman, Julie Swetnick, who has come forward with allegations against Kavanaugh and Judge, saying they were present at the party in the early 1980s where she says she was gang-raped.