Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump continued his fervent support of his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, calling for a "comprehensive" but "quick" FBI investigation into claims of sexual misconduct as the agency works to meet a looming deadline.
Trump, who criticized what he characterized as unfair treatment of his pick to the high court said: "We don't want to go on a witch hunt, do we?"
However, the president said he does think Kavanaugh should be interviewed by the FBI. "I think so," the president said. "It's fine if they do. I don't know. That's up to them."
Kavanaugh faced tough questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday on allegations from California professor Christine Blasey Ford that he attempted to sexually assault her when they were both high school students in suburban Maryland decades ago.
Kavanaugh denies the claim.
Ford also testified before the committee on Thursday – an emotionally-charged appearance in which she described in detail what she says happened that night.
On Friday, the White House, after the urging of the Senate Judiciary Committee, directed the FBI to look into what they deem as "credible" claims of sexual assault.
On Monday, Trump said he "would look at" whether FBI witnesses corroborate the accounts of any accusers.
"I think the FBI should do what they have to do to get to the answer," Trump said. "I want them to do a very comprehensive investigation, whatever that means according to the Senators and the Republicans and the Republican majority, I want them to do that." That being said, I would like it to go quickly… It's unfair to him."
When asked if his administration is putting limits on the investigation, the president said: "My White House is doing whatever the Senate wants … It is up to me, but I'm instructing them as per what I feel what the Senate wants."
Those senators include Sen. Jeff Flake, a key vote and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who urged on Friday that GOP colleagues support a supplemental FBI background investigation of Kavanaugh.
"We certainly want the FBI to do a real investigation," the retiring Arizona Republican said at an event on Monday. "It does no good to have an investigation that just gives us more cover … we actually need to find out what we can find out."
Ford's legal team said Sunday they have not yet been contacted by the FBI despite the narrowing time frame for the investigation President Donald Trump ordered Friday.
A source familiar with the matter confirmed Sunday that Deborah Ramirez, who alleges Kavanaugh exposed himself to her in college had been contacted by the FBI and had an interview regarding her allegations against Kavanaugh. During the hours-long interview, Ramirez stood by the experiences she detailed to the New Yorker in an article published a week ago, the source added.
She also provided FBI agents with a list of witnesses, a source with knowledge of her interview told ABC News.
On Saturday, Ramirez' attorney John Clune confirmed that the FBI had reached out to her: "We can confirm the FBI has reached out to interview Ms. Ramirez and she has agreed to cooperate with their investigation. Out of respect for the integrity of the process, we will have no further comment at this time,” Clune said.
Julie Swetnick, the third woman to come forward publicly with public allegations about Kavanaugh, had not been contacted by the FBI about the allegations as of Saturday night, her lawyer Michael Avenatti told ABC News and tweeted.
Swetnick's allegations have been undercut by Republicans, including Graham, who called her allegation "outrageous," and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who sent a press release Sunday attacking Swetnick “by the numbers” and calling her "not credible at all."
When asked Monday if all three accusers should be interviewed, Trump hedged on his answer.
"I think the FBI should interview anybody that they want within reason," he said. "They should interview, but also be guided. I'm being guided by what the senators are looking for."
Trump later said that he didn't think his Supreme Court pick lied about his drinking during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He then pivoted to his own drinking habits, telling reporters, "I'm not a drinker and I can honestly say I never had a beer in my life."
Trump defended his nominee, saying that many high schoolers "drink beer and go crazy."
The president also stood by another ally, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who emerged as a key Kavanaugh supporter throughout the confirmation process.
During Thursday's hearing, Graham said, "This is the most unethical sham since I've been in politics."
At the press conference on Monday, Trump said he thought Graham was "terrific."
"Lindsey Graham I thought was terrific the other day," he said. "He brought up one point that is now being discussed by a lot of people and that's who is going to want to run for office and be in office and take an appointment to not just the supreme court, but many positions?"
Elaborating on a possible backup option if the FBI investigation turns up information that would lead Congress to not move forward with Kavanaugh's confirmation, Trump said, "I don't want to talk about plan B. I hope he gets approved. I hope the report comes out like I really think it should."
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