The FBI has reached out to the second woman who has accused US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.
A lawyer for Deborah Ramirez confirmed that his client has agreed to cooperate with agents investigating the conservative federal appeals court judge.
Ms Ramirez claims Mr Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party in the early 1980s when they were students at Yale University. Mr Kavanaugh denies the allegations.
The move suggests that the FBI’s background investigation will look beyond separate allegations of attempted rape levelled against Mr Kavanaugh by Dr Christine Blasey Ford at a dramatic Senate hearing on Thursday.
A third woman, Julie Swetnick, has accused Mr Kavanaugh of excessive drinking and inappropriate treatment of women in the early 1980s, among other allegations, which Mr Kavanaugh has denied.
While the precise scope of the investigation remains unclear, Mr Trump tweeted on Saturday that “the FBI have free rein”.
He said: “They’re going to do whatever they have to do, whatever it is they do. They’ll be doing things that we have never even thought of. And hopefully at the conclusion everything will be fine.
“I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion”.
The FBI conducts background checks for federal nominees, but the agency does not make judgements on the credibility or significance of allegations.
Mr Kavanaugh cleared the first hurdle towards being confirmed as a new judge in America’s highest court, after his nomination was approved by the US Senate’s judiciary committee on Friday by an 11-10 vote.
However, in late dramatic scenes just moments before the crucial vote was held, Republican senator and committee member Jeff Flake called for a week-long delay before Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination is voted on by the full Senate for final confirmation.