WASHINGTON — The FBI has begun contacting people as part of an additional background investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, including a second woman who alleges that the Supreme Court nominee sexually assaulted her.
The bureau has contacted Deborah Ramirez, a Yale University classmate of Kavanaugh’s who alleges that he shoved his genitals in her face at a party where she had been drinking and become disoriented, her attorney said Saturday.
‘‘She has agreed to cooperate with their investigation,’’ Ramirez attorney John Clune said in a statement. ‘‘Out of respect for the integrity of the process, we will have no further comment at this time.’’
President Trump ordered the new background investigation of his nominee Friday under pressure from key members of his party.
Late Saturday, the president said the FBI probe would be exhaustive, but the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday afternoon said that the supplemental investigation would be limited to ‘‘current, credible allegations.’’ And a lawyer for one woman who has accused Kavanaugh of misconduct said his client had not been contacted.
In brief remarks to reporters before leaving for a rally in West Virginia, the president said the FBI is ‘‘all over talking to everybody. . . . They have free rein, they can do whatever they have to do, whatever it is that they do. They’ll be doing things we have never even thought of.’’
But Michael Avenatti, an attorney for Julie Swetnick, who alleged that Kavanaugh and another boy got teenage girls drunk at parties, where the girls were sexually assaulted, sometimes by groups of boys, said Saturday that Swetnick has not been contacted by the bureau.
Swetnick said in a sworn statement this past week that she knew Kavanaugh in high school and was raped by such a group at a party where Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were present. She has not accused Kavanaugh of raping her. Swetnik described Kavanaugh as a ‘‘mean drunk’’ in high school who was physically and verbally aggressive with girls.
‘‘We have not heard anything from the FBI, and with each passing hour, I’m growing increasingly concerned that this is a sham of an investigation,’’ Avenatti said. He noted that Swetnick has had multiple security clearances and said lying in a sworn declaration would be disastrous to her career.
‘‘Why would Miss Ramirez be questioned but not my client?’’ he asked. ‘‘Donald Trump is not supposed to be determining who is credible. That’s the job of the FBI.’’
Trump reiterated his defense of his nominee for the high court, calling him a ‘‘good man’’ and a ‘‘great judge.’’ The president also said the FBI investigation ‘‘will be a blessing in disguise. It will be a good thing.’’
Kavanaugh has denied the accusations by Ramirez and Swetnick and has said emphatically that he never abused or assaulted anyone. He also has pointed to half a dozen other background checks the FBI conducted on him for other federal positions over the years, none of which surfaced evidence or allegations of sexual assault.
The FBI also is following up on allegations by Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California, who testified to the Senate last week that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s when they were in high school in suburban Washington, D.C.
Senator Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, a member of the Judiciary Committee, had pressed for the FBI probe and a delay in voting on the nomination. Asked on Friday about ‘‘current, credible allegations’’ that should be investigated, Flake said, ‘‘We’ll leave that to the FBI.’’
White House spokesman Raj Shah said Saturday: ‘‘The scope and duration has been set by the Senate. The White House is letting the FBI agents do what they are trained to do.’’
A Judiciary Committee spokesman Saturday declined to elaborate beyond the panel’s initial statement.
Democrats were not included on a call that Republican staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee held with the White House discussing the FBI investigation, according to an official familiar with the discussion who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Trump, in his remarks to reporters, also said he wants to know who leaked a confidential letter by Ford that was sent to Senator Dianne Feinstein, California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, and suggested it could have been the California lawmaker.
‘‘I think frankly the FBI has a chance to reveal a lot of different things. I’d like to find out who leaked the papers,’’ Trump said, referring to the letter. ‘‘Was it Senator Feinstein? Certainly her body language was not exactly very good when they asked her that question. I would like to find out as part of it who leaked the papers, which Democrat leaked the papers.’’
Feinstein said at Thursday’s hearing that she did not leak the letter nor did anyone on her staff. Ryan Grim, the reporter for the Intercept who first reported on the existence of Ford’s letter, has also said neither Feinstein nor her aides were his sources.
During Thursday’s testimony, Ford recounted in detail how Kavanaugh and Judge allegedly attacked her in a bedroom during a small gathering at a house when she said the teen boys were both drunk. Ford said the alleged attack has caused her lasting trauma, and she was visibly anguished as she recalled the events Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Following Ford’s testimony, Kavanaugh vigorously denied the allegations before the committee and accused Democrats of launching a last-minute attempt to derail his nomination. He decried the confirmation process as a ‘‘circus.’’
Each of the people Ford identified as being at the gathering — Judge, Leland Keyser, and Patrick J. Smyth — has said they will cooperate with the FBI.
An attorney for Keyser, a friend of Ford’s, said Keyser has no recollection of the party where Ford alleges Kavanaugh assaulted her.
‘‘Notably, Ms. Keyser does not refute Dr. Ford’s account, and she has already told the press that she believes Dr. Ford’s account,’’ Attorney Howard Walsh III wrote in an e-mail to the Senate Judiciary Committee. ‘‘However, the simple and unchangeable truth is that she is unable to corroborate it because she has no recollection of the incident in question.’’
Judge, the high school friend of Kavanaugh’s who Ford says was in the room during the alleged assault, also has agreed to cooperate with the FBI.