NBC's Ken Dilanian reported on Sunday that the White House had tied the hands of FBI officials investigating Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh even though White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has insisted that FBI probe is not being micromanaged by the Trump administration.
NBC News White House Correspondent Geoff Bennett first revealed Dilanian's reporting during an appearance on MSNBC.
Bennett explained that the White House had instructed the FBI not to investigate the accusations made by Julie Swetnick against Supre Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
"Two high level sources familiar with the matter tell our friend and colleague Ken Dilanian that the FBI has received no new instructions from the White House about how to proceed with this new investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh," Bennett reported.
"And these sources say that President Trump's Saturday night tweets, saying he wants the FBI to interview whomever agents deem appropriate, has not changed the limits imposed by the White House counsel's office on the FBI investigation," Bennett continued. "Which as we've reported includes a specific witness list that does not include the third accuser, Julie Swetnick."
The NBC reporter noted that Kavanaugh's former classmates are also "off the list" of permitted interviewees.
"They describe [Kavanaugh] as a frequent, heavy drinker," Bennett said. "I'm told by a senior official that the White House is the client in this process... It's a background investigation in which the FBI is acting on behalf of the White House. The White House sets the parameters."
In an interview on Fox News earlier in the day, Sanders insisted that the White House is not "micromanaging" the FBI investigation.
“The White House is not micromanaging this process,” Sanders told Fox News. “The Senate is dictating the terms, they laid out the request and we’ve opened it up. As you heard the president say, do what you need to do. The FBI, this is what they do and we’re out of the way.”
UPDATE - Per reporting by The New York Times, alleged "undecided" senators may have approved of the limitations set forth by the White House.
UPDATE #2 Considering they only have a week to get this done, the FBI seems pretty lackadaisical about basic information gathering.