Source: FBI spoke to second Kavanaugh accuser

The FBI spoke with Deborah Ramirez in its investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

Posted: Oct 1, 2018 3:04 PM
Updated: Oct 1, 2018 3:22 PM

The FBI investigation into allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is narrowly focused, top officials said in interviews on Sunday, with sources telling CNN that the White House is controlling the scope of the probe.

The investigation is the result of a dramatic day in Washington on Friday that began with quick movement toward Kavanaugh's confirmation and ended with a pause in the process while the FBI steps in. Following the agreement for the FBI to investigate Kavanaugh, the focus has moved to how the probe will be handled, its ultimate findings, and whether it will put to rest fears about a lack of due diligence over the nominee for the nation's highest court.

A source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN that the FBI would take its direction from the White House, not the Senate, and that the agency would interview a handful of people.

One of those people interviewed included Deborah Ramirez, whom the FBI interviewed Sunday, a source told CNN on Sunday afternoon. Ramirez came forward last week with allegations Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party while both were students at Yale, a claim which Kavanaugh immediately denied.

What's being investigated -- or not?

Kavanaugh's drinking history, which has come up in the allegations, is not part of the probe, which is being managed by the FBI's security division at the agency's headquarters in Washington, the source said.

While President Donald Trump declared Saturday that the FBI would have "free rein" in its investigation, people close to the matter say the scope is far more limited. White House counsel Don McGhan, who is the administration's leading advocate for Kavanaugh's confirmation, is overseeing the probe for the President and working closely with Senate Republican leaders.

The source reiterated that the agents would make no conclusion about what witnesses tell them and would hand their results over to the White House, which is standard protocol in similar background investigations. The source would not say if the direction the FBI received listed specific people or if it was to investigate specific allegations.

Kavanaugh has denied all the allegations made against him.

In a tweet Sunday afternoon, Trump pushed back on criticism of the FBI investigation.

"Wow! Just starting to hear the Democrats, who are only thinking Obstruct and Delay, are starting to put out the word that the 'time' and 'scope' of FBI looking into Judge Kavanaugh and witnesses is not enough. Hello! For them, it will never be enough - stay tuned and watch!" he wrote.

A source briefed on the matter said the White House gave the limited scope of the investigation to the FBI based on what the Senate asked.

Trump ordered the investigation on Friday after Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake pushed for the Senate to request the FBI review.

Two sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN, however, that Senate Republicans were working with White House counsel Don McGahn, who was "trying to make it as narrow as possible."

On Sunday, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote McGahn and FBI Director Christopher Wray to request a copy of the directive the White House send the FBI initiating the investigation.

"Given the seriousness of the allegations before the Senate, I am writing to request that you provide the Senate Judiciary Committee with a copy of the written directive sent by the White House to the FBI," the California senator wrote. "In addition, if the FBI requests any expansion beyond the initial directive, please provide the names of any additional witnesses or evidence."

Potential interviewees

The FBI has started investigating Christine Blasey Ford's allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were high schoolers, which the judge has repeatedly denied.

Two sources told CNN that Ford and Kavanaugh's names were not on the initial list of witnesses given by Senate Republicans to the White House for the FBI to interview. Sources familiar with Ford's legal team have told CNN that Ford and her lawyers have not heard from the FBI.

"We have not heard from the FBI, despite repeated efforts to speak with them," Ford's lawyer, Debra Katz, told The New York Times.

Both Ford and Kavanaugh testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday.

FBI agents are expected to interview several people who Ford said were present at the party where the alleged assault took place, including Mark Judge, Patrick J. Smyth and Leland Keyser, sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

Ford has alleged Judge was present in the room with her and Kavanaugh when the nominee allegedly assaulted her. Judge has said he has no memory of the assault Ford described and does not recall the party, and Smyth and Keyser have also said they don't remember the party.

Ramirez has been contacted by the FBI, according to one of her attorneys. A source familiar with the matter told CNN that the FBI spoke with Ramirez on Sunday and that she supplied the agency with the names of witnesses for her accusation.

What the White House says

Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to Trump, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that the White House was respecting the independence of the FBI in the matter but stressed her belief that it should not grow into a "fishing expedition."

"It will be limited in scope," Conway said. "It's meant to last one week, I believe beginning last Friday. And it will -- it's not meant to be a fishing expedition."

Asked if McGahn had told the FBI who it could interview, Conway said, "I don't think Don McGahn would do that, but I've not talked to him about it."

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders made similar points in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," where she said the White House was "not micromanaging" the FBI probe and that she was not aware of McGahn telling the FBI who it could interview.

"The White House counsel has allowed the Senate to dictate what these terms look like and what the scope of the investigation is," Sanders said.

A person familiar with the matter told CNN that Senate Republicans drafted the initial list of people it wanted the FBI to interview in the investigation and gave the list to the White House. The source noted that it was not a final list and that they were leaving open the possibility of additional witnesses.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Kavanaugh supporter who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on ABC's "This Week" that Flake, Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski "wanted a limited review."

"They wanted to talk -- the FBI to talk with the witnesses that Dr. Ford named," Graham said. "They want to talk to Ms. Ramirez, because she refused to talk to the committee. They're going to Mark Judge, did you ever see Brett Kavanaugh drug women or engage in gang rape. I think that's going to be the focus of it."

Graham was referring to an allegation from another woman, Julie Swetnick, who has come forward with accusations against Kavanaugh and Judge, saying they were present at the party in the early 1980s where she says she was gang-raped.

Swetnick did not identify Kavanaugh or Judge as one of her attackers. Swetnick said further that over a series of parties, she saw Kavanaugh "consistently engage in excessive drinking and inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with women during the early 1980s."

Kavanaugh has also denied Swetnick's allegations, characterizing them as "from the Twilight Zone."

Judge said in a statement that he categorically denies Swetnick's allegations.

As of Sunday morning, there was no indication that the FBI was going to talk to Swetnick.

Two Republican sources familiar with the matter have told CNN that the hope is that when investigators sit down with Judge, they will ask him not only about Ford's allegations, but also about those made by Swetnick.

This story is developing and being updated.

Huntsville
Few Clouds
49° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 44°
Florence
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 50°
Fayetteville
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 44°
Decatur
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 43°
Scottsboro
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 50°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 232506

Reported Deaths: 3457
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson30318491
Mobile19260356
Tuscaloosa12446148
Madison12204146
Montgomery12000232
Shelby971276
Baldwin819984
Lee750464
Morgan610447
Calhoun5964113
Etowah585764
Marshall579453
Houston503338
DeKalb460835
Cullman409636
Limestone400844
St. Clair396055
Elmore391061
Lauderdale378353
Walker348096
Talladega334042
Colbert294341
Jackson290524
Blount275436
Autauga261739
Franklin243633
Coffee230315
Dale225454
Dallas219631
Russell21753
Chilton216137
Covington212333
Escambia194031
Tallapoosa168590
Chambers167548
Clarke154919
Pike154714
Marion133935
Winston122523
Lawrence121436
Geneva11678
Marengo116424
Barbour116010
Pickens114118
Bibb113617
Butler113341
Randolph99521
Cherokee98524
Hale91531
Washington89818
Clay88823
Henry8386
Fayette83116
Lowndes78529
Monroe76811
Cleburne74214
Crenshaw70030
Macon69420
Bullock68919
Conecuh66814
Perry6686
Wilcox62318
Lamar6227
Sumter55322
Choctaw41713
Greene39917
Coosa3064
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 340476

Reported Deaths: 4266
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby45436634
Davidson40436402
Knox17413137
Rutherford16668150
Hamilton15723135
Williamson1050373
Sumner9016134
Wilson692474
Out of TN668748
Montgomery614481
Sullivan594689
Putnam572279
Washington550298
Maury541957
Blount508055
Madison5064104
Bradley476833
Sevier458530
Unassigned416314
Robertson352550
Tipton345136
Hamblen328257
Dyer307149
Gibson297761
Greene281868
Anderson271525
Dickson264427
Coffee260841
Carter250951
Bedford250328
Obion250347
Lawrence249632
Cumberland240035
McMinn232255
Warren226517
Hardeman220337
Roane217723
Loudon216517
Jefferson212631
Fayette212137
Weakley205934
Lauderdale198721
Monroe197042
Franklin189631
Trousdale189012
Wayne179310
Hawkins178234
Henderson178030
Macon175727
Hardin170925
White166417
Marshall163117
Carroll162832
Haywood159129
Rhea155530
Cocke153928
Overton150034
Campbell146521
Cheatham146316
Lincoln144413
Henry141517
McNairy137232
Smith136919
Johnson136721
Giles134242
Fentress116219
Lake11445
Bledsoe11405
Crockett110925
Hickman109417
DeKalb108220
Marion103117
Chester97919
Scott9407
Grainger91314
Decatur91012
Unicoi77123
Claiborne7509
Benton74914
Grundy73414
Lewis70411
Cannon6962
Union6865
Jackson6579
Morgan6546
Humphreys6407
Polk62914
Houston56819
Stewart54614
Clay52418
Sequatchie4895
Meigs45912
Perry45520
Moore3652
Pickett36512
Van Buren3382
Hancock1453

Community Events