MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell questioned the scope of the FBI's background check on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, asking Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) on Tuesday if investigators should be allowed to investigate questions such as whether "he was rude or showed belligerence to senators."
Discussing the current FBI background investigation into Kavanaugh following allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of the judge in the 1980s, Mitchell wondered about any limitations on investigators.
"The issues [the FBI is looking into] are only the initial allegations from Dr. Ford of a sexual attack, not lying, not drinking, not whether he was rude or showed belligerence to senators such as yourself," Mitchell said to Leahy.
"It'd be a big mistake to put handcuffs on the FBI … They have the ability to investigate the whole thing," Leahy said.
Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual misconduct by three women, one of whom, Christine Blasey Ford, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday. When Kavanaugh took the opportunity to defend himself against her accusations that afternoon, he was also pressed by some committee members about his drinking habits.
Kavanaugh categorically denies all sexual misconduct allegations made against him.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D., Hawaii) said a story about Kavanaugh throwing ice at someone during a bar fight in college should also be investigated by the FBI.
President Donald Trump, who authorized the latest background check into Kavanaugh, has denied limiting the FBI or preventing investigators from contacting further witnesses.
"NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people.," Trump tweeted on Saturday. "Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion. Please correct your reporting!"
The renewed FBI investigation comes after Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee frequently demanded one was necessary in recent weeks. Sen. Jeff Flake (R., Arizona) ultimately called for a one week delay Friday to allow the FBI to investigate before conducting a full Senate vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation.
Many Democrats, however, have not been satisfied with the move.
"I was in Vermont this past weekend," Leahy said. "Everyone I talked with, whether Republican or Democrat, said ‘why the hurry? What are they trying to hide?'"
Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), have criticized Democrats' attempts to stall Kavanaugh's confirmation, saying they are continually "moving the goalposts" in order to legitimize their long-held opposition to the nominee.
"The Democratic Leader and the ranking Democrat on the Committee both said recently that an FBI investigation can be completed in less than a week," McConnell tweeted on Monday. "Let me make a small prediction — soon enough the goalposts will be on the move once again."
The Democratic Leader and the ranking Democrat on the Committee both said recently that an FBI investigation can be completed in less than a week.
Let me make a small prediction — soon enough the goalposts will be on the move once again.
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) October 1, 2018