The Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee approved Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination following extensive hearings from the nominee and his accuser Dr Christine Blasey Ford, sending it to a full Senate vote.
The deciding vote was cast by moderate Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who requested that President Trump pursue an official FBI investigation into the allegations made against Mr Kavanaugh and delay the final Senate vote for up to a week to allow the probe to take place.
President Trump consequently agreed to Mr Flake’s request, stating: “I’ve ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh’s file.
“As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week.”
I’ve ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh’s file.
Judge Kavanaugh agreed to cooperate with the probe, and stated he had already done “a number” of background checks at the request of the Senate.
In a statement, he said: “Throughout this process, I’ve been interviewed by the FBI, I’ve done a number of ‘background’ calls directly with the Senate, and yesterday, I answered questions under oath about every topic the Senators and their counsel asked me.
“I’ve done everything they have requested and will continue to cooperate.”
Senator Flake called on the FBI to determine whether the accusations made against Judge Kavanaugh were credible.
Two other women have also accused Judge Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, which he denies strongly.
Senator Flake commented on the nomination process and his request for a delay on a final vote, saying: “This country is being ripped apart here.
“I think we can have a short pause.
“We ought to do what we can to make sure that we do all due diligence with a nomination this important.”
The announcement of the FBI investigation into the allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh was welcomed by one of his accusers, Dr Blasey Ford.
Debra Katz, an lawyer for Dr Blasey Ford, said: “No artificial limits as to time or scope should be imposed on this investigation.”
The vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination in the Senate Judiciary Committee nevertheless caused controversy among Democrats, with certain Democratic Senators leaving the room in protest.
Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono said: “What a railroad job.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee’s senior Democrat, also criticised Judge Kavanaugh’s behaviour throughout the hearing process.
She said: “This was someone who was aggressive and belligerent.
“I have never seen someone who wants to be elevated to the highest court in the country behave in that manner.
“In start contrast, the person who testified yesterday and demonstrated a balanced temperament was Dr Ford.”
President Trump has nevertheless vowed to stand by his nominee, and stated he had not thought “even a little bit” about replacing him.
Writing on Twitter, he said: “Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him.
“His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting.
“The Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct and resist. The Senate must vote.”