WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Monday he still backs Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, and that the FBI should do a “comprehensive” but speedy investigation into the embattled nominee.
Trump repeatedly said the Senate should decide the scope of the FBI probe. His remarks came amid questions about whether Republicans want to limit the scope of the FBI's investigation into allegations of sexual assault that have been level against Kavanaugh.
"The FBI should do what they have to do to get to the answer," the president said. "I want it to be comprehensive."
Trump said it "wouldn't bother me at all" if the FBI interviews all three women who have accused Kavanaugh, although he said he has heard the third accuser, Julie Swetnick, has "very little credibility."
Trump suggested the FBI should interview Kavanaugh himself.
The president said he will re-assess Kavanaugh's nomination if the FBI finds something, but he declined to discuss whether he is already considering a replacement.
“I don’t want to talk about a Plan B,” he said.
Trump initially blew off several questions about Kavanaugh, saying he wanted first to answer questions about his newly announced trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. In an unusual tactic for a presidential press conference, Trump ignored at least three questions about his Supreme Court nominee.
“What does that have to do with trade?” Trump responded when asked about the embattled Supreme Court nominee by one reporter.
"Don't do that," he told another reporter who tried to ask about Kavanaugh before he was done speaking about trade.
In refusing to answer another Kavanaugh question, Trump appeared to allude to the nominee by saying: “You talk about being treated harshly.”
Trump also suggested at one point that some of Kavanaugh’s questioners have secrets of their own. “They’re not angels,” he said.
Arguing that anyone could be subjected to the scrutiny facing Kavanaugh, Trump claimed he has seen at least one senator in a “compromising position.”
“There are bad reports on everybody in here,” Trump said at another point.
He specifically attacked Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., for claiming war experience in Vietnam. He also criticized Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Dianne Feinstein of California.
But Trump declined to offer specifics of what he knew, joking that he would save it for a tell-all book.
Trump said he was surprised at how much Kavanaugh talked about his beer drinking while in school. He said Kavanaugh has led an “exemplary life.”
The president noted his own decision to not drink alcohol.
"Can you imagine if I had, what a mess I’d be?" he joked. "I’d be the world’s worst."