We're going to start the program today with the news that has consumed so much of our attention this past week. That, of course, is the fight around the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. That process is now on hold for one week as the White House and the Senate agreed to let the FBI look into allegations that Kavanaugh assaulted one young woman and may have behaved inappropriately with others.

We wanted to bring the threads of this together after this remarkable, emotional week, so we called Geoff Bennett, White House correspondent for NBC News. He's with us now from the White House.

Geoff, thanks so much for talking with us.

GEOFF BENNETT: Great to be with you, Michel.

MARTIN: So, Geoff, people who've been watching this all unfold will remember that after a long emotional day of testimony and a preliminary party-line vote, Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican, pushed for the FBI investigation. So what do we know so far about that investigation? What will it entail?

BENNETT: Well, we've learned that the White House is actually limiting the scope of this FBI renewed investigation into Brett Kavanaugh. This is according to multiple sources briefed on this issue. And while the FBI, we've learned, will examine the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, the bureau will not be permitted by the White House to investigate the claims of Julie Swetnick. She's the third accuser who says that Kavanaugh engaged in sexual misconduct at parties while he was a student at Georgetown Prep back in the '80s. That's according to multiple sources telling NBC News this.

And the — these sources also say that the White House counsel's office has given the FBI a list of witnesses that they can interview. Now, these sources characterize the White House as putting significant constraints on this FBI investigation. And while a White House official isn't specifically disputing what these sources are saying, they're denying that the White House is trying to micromanage the FBI investigation. And the reason why this matters is because you have some people — and close to the process — suggesting that while the White House is allowing this FBI investigation to move forward, they are, in many ways, determining the outcome by tightly controlling the process. So that's something that people should look for this week.

MARTIN: Do we know whether the FBI will be permitted to interview Mark Judge? We know that he has representatives who have said he is willing to be interviewed, but do we know whether he will be interviewed?

BENNETT: It's our understanding that he will be interviewed. And we also understand that Deborah Ramirez has already been interviewed.

MARTIN: Now, we know this investigation is supposed to be limited to one week. Can you tell us anything about why that timeline is so important?

BENNETT: Well, the passage of time has not been a good thing for this confirmation process. We know that we're already going to blow through the October 1 deadline that Senate Republicans had hoped to meet in order to get Brett Kavanaugh seated on the court for the beginning of the new term. They certainly are trying to get ahead of this November midterm election deadline.

But then there's this other issue that there's a concern that as this nomination, this confirmation process has rolled on, public opinion has really shifted against Brett Kavanaugh. And there was a poll done — not too long ago but certainly before the Thursday hearing — that showed that more Americans opposed the nomination than supported it. So that is one of the many reasons why Republicans have tried to fast-track this confirmation process.

MARTIN: That is NBC White House correspondent Geoff Bennett. And let me add that we are going to take this issue up again in the Barbershop later this hour.

Geoff, thank you so much for talking with us.

BENNETT: You're welcome.

















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