President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he does not believe the FBI should investigate a decades-old sexual assault allegation levied against his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.
“I don’t think the FBI really should be involved because they don’t want to be involved,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda. “If they wanted to be, I would certainly do that, but as you know they say this is not really their thing.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday pushed back a planned vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, which was scheduled to take place Thursday, after Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at California’s Palo Alto University, told The Washington Post that Kavanaugh drunkenly groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied the incident took place.
Democrats had called for Thursday’s vote to be postponed to give the FBI time to investigate the allegation, though Justice Department officials said in a statement Monday night that the alleged incident “does not involve any potential federal crime.”
The department said the FBI's role during background investigations is to evaluate whether the nominee could pose a national security risk and then provide that information "for the use of the decision makers."
Trump has previously voiced support for Kavanaugh, who he’s called “one of the finest people that I’ve ever known.” The president said Tuesday that he remained “totally supportive” of Kavanaugh.
“He’s got an unblemished record,” Trump said.
The president said Kavanaugh is “anxious” to testify about the allegation and that Republicans support the process.
“We feel that we want to go through this process and we want to give everybody a chance to say what they have to say,” Trump said Tuesday. “We have time available. We will delay the process until it’s finished out. … A delay is certainly acceptable. We want to get to the bottom of everything.”
Kavanaugh and Ford are expected to appear Monday for a public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.