Trump orders FBI probe of 'current, credible' sex crime allegations against Brett Kavanaugh in dramatic reversal after Jeff Flake threatens to torpedo nomination

Brett Kavanaugh will be investigated by the FBI over allegations he sexually assaulted Christine Ford after a sensational twist Friday in the Senate as two key Republicans said their votes for him depended on a probe.

Donald Trump ordered the 'supplemental investigation' into his Supreme Court nominee at 5 p.m. on Friday, with the White House saying it must be 'limited in scope', while Senate Republicans said it would take 'up to' a week.

The announcement from the White House came after a day of extraordinary drama, prompted by Jeff Flake, the moderate Republican.

At 9.30 a.m. he announced he would vote for Kavanaugh - then a minute later walked into a Senate elevator and was confronted by two protesters who told him they were sex abuse victims who wanted him to vote 'no'.
Republican senators say the Judiciary Committee plans to vote Friday morning on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court
A 1.30 p.m. Senate Judiciary Committee vote was delayed as Flake spent time with Democrats - and then a dramatic deal unfolded.

Flake voted Kavanaugh through the Senate Judiciary Committee in return for asking for the probe, and told colleagues he had the support of at least two key votes, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Joe Manchin.

John Cornyn, the second most senior Republican in the Senate, said the investigation would happen and take up to a week.
Key moment: A woman who said she is a survivor of a sexual assault (R) confronts Republican Senator from Arizona Jeff Flake (L) in an elevator after Flake announced that he vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington
Republican Senator from Arizona Jeff Flake 
The Senate Judiciary Committee formally asked for the FBI probe into 'current credible allegations' against Kavanaugh on Friday afternoon, after voting for Kavanaugh to go to a full floor vote with Flake's caveat.

The phrase still fails to make clear whether all three women who have publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault -  Ford, Debbie Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick - will have their claims investigated.

'The supplemental FBI background investigation would be limited to current credible allegations against the nominee and must be completed no later than one week from today,' according to the committee.

The phrase 'current credible allegations' is language Republicans insisted on to keep at bay new accusations they feared may come out of the woodwork.

Cornyn confirmed the stunning development just hours after Senate Judiciary panel members had used speeches to denounce the idea of bringing in the FBI at this stage.

At the White House Donald Trump appeared to give it his approval.

The Republicans' hand was forced by a power-play undertaken by holdout Republican senators who the leadership needs to try to install President Trump's nominee on the high court.

And Mark Judge, Kavanaugh's high school friend who Ford alleges took part in the attack, said that he would co-operate with any law enforcement agency that investigates 'confidentially.'

He had claimed this week that he had depression and anxiety so did not want to testify in public, and was then Friday morning revealed to be available for public speaking engagements, in one of the more farcical turns of the Kavanaugh saga.

Judge's only participation so far has been in the form of a brief letter signed by his lawyer and a letter carrying his own signature. He was spotted at a Delaware beach parking lot as allegations against Kavanaugh exploded.

The plan to quickly patch together an FBI investigation came after the Senate Judiciary Committee dramatically voted to advance the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh – but only after a deal involving Sen. Jeff Flake who demanded to a one-week FBI probe of the nominee's background.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who had announced just Friday morning he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, told committee colleagues he would vote to advance the bill, but only after saying there should be a week for an FBI investigation.
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