The FBI has contacted a second woman who alleges sexual misconduct on the part of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, multiple outlets reported Saturday. The agency, however, will reportedly leave Kavanaugh’s third accuser alone upon request from the White House.
The constraints mean that authorities may not be able to interview all available leads, the outlets reported. According to NBC, the FBI will specifically not be able to question Kavanaugh’s Yale classmates about his drinking habits, even though alcohol plays a role in all three accusers’ claims about the nominee, who denies ever drinking to the point of not remembering certain events.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) lashed out at the possibility that constraints had been placed on the investigation, saying that the FBI’s hands “must not be tied ... we need the facts.”
Trump tweeted late Saturday night that he was not limiting the FBI in its investigation and that NBC News had got the story wrong.
The FBI wasted little time reaching out to Deborah Ramirez, who surfaced as the second women accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. She says Kavanaugh thrust his exposed penis in her face at a Yale University party in the 1980s. Her lawyer confirmed the agency already contacted Ramirez for an interview and that she intends to cooperate, but offered no further comment.
Ramirez came forward after Christine Blasey Ford publicly accused the nominee of sexually assaulting her at a high school party in 1982.
The third accuser, Julie Swetnick, says she saw Kavanaugh and friend Mark Judge at high school parties where girls were raped by multiple teenage boys, but stopped short of explicitly accusing Kavanaugh of doing so himself. Judge also appeared in Blasey’s story as the sole witness to her assault. Blasey says she managed to escape the alleged attack by Kavanaugh after Judge jumped on top of the two of them.
A lawyer for Judge indicated his client also plans to cooperate with the FBI.
Trump told reporters on Saturday that the agency has “free rein” 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. “And hopefully at the conclusion everything will be fine.”
The White House formally asked the FBI to reopen its background investigation into Kavanaugh on Friday, one day after Blasey detailed her claims before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Earlier Friday, committee Republicans had shocked observers by agreeing in a last-minute move prompted by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to request a formal investigation into the claims of misconduct.
This article has been updated with tweets from Sen. Dianne Feinstein and President Donald Trump.