President Donald Trump may have just tipped his hand as to whether or not he plans to get involved in the Brett Kavanaugh–Christine Blasey Ford matter.
Trump spoke to reporters before leaving for the Carolinas on Wednesday and said he “would want to see what [Ford] has to say, but I want to give it all the time they need, they’ve already given it time. They’ve delayed a major hearing.”
More importantly, Trump repeated something that he alone could fix if he wanted to.
Ford and her legal team have asked that the FBI investigate the allegation before she testifies before the Senate. Republican senators and the president, on the other hand, don’t want there to be major delays on confirming Kavanaugh. They want to push forward as planned and hold a hearing on Monday.
Trump, on whether the FBI will investigate as requested by Ford, said “Well, it seems that the FBI really doesn’t do that … let the senators do it, they’re doing a very good job.”
Pres. Trump on the FBI investigating the Kavanaugh allegation: "Well, it seems that the FBI really doesn't do that … let the senators do it, they're doing a very good job" https://t.co/1IwP5MHwiI pic.twitter.com/KdzzvZu6Eo
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 19, 2018
Trump almost repeated Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) Tuesday comments verbatim.
The FBI does not do investigations like this. The responsibility falls to us.
Chairman @ChuckGrassley has moved our committee vote to accommodate Dr. Ford’s lawyer’s offer on TV yesterday to have her client testify before the Judiciary Committee.
We should proceed as planned.
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) September 19, 2018
“The FBI does not do investigations like this. The responsibility falls to us,” Hatch said. “Chairman @ChuckGrassley has moved our committee vote to accommodate Dr. Ford’s lawyer’s offer on TV yesterday to have her client testify before the Judiciary Committee. We should proceed as planned.”
There is also precedent for this.
False. The president can order FBI to investigate as President Bush did in 1991 with Anita Hill allegation. https://t.co/JLGPxYmGi2
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) September 19, 2018
If Trump is aware of this, then you can glean from these comments that he has no intention of ordering the FBI to get involved.
As we noted, Anita Hill came forward in 1991 to say that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her. At the time, Hill did speak to the FBI in advance of hearings. As Above the Law Executive Editor Elie Mystal wrote, it was George H.W. Bush who requested the FBI investigation.
“The F.B.I. investigated EXACTLY this sort of thing when Anita Hill alleged she was sexually harassed by Clarence Thomas. George H.W. Bush requested that the F.B.I. look into her claims, and they did,” Mystal wrote. “The F.B.I. conducts background checks on judicial nominees. Kavanaugh has had that background check. Ford’s claims, made this summer, were added to his file, but they did not investigate the claim.”
“Donald Trump… of all people… can ask them to. He just has to pick up the phone and call Chris Wray,” Mystal said.
[Image via ABC News screengrab]