Donald Trump has been sharply condemned for mocking Dr Christine Blasey Ford - the woman who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault - with two key Republicans who could determine if the federal judge is confirmed to the United States supreme court calling the comments "appalling" and "just plain wrong".
The investigation is set to last one week as part of a bipartisan agreement reached by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Republican Senators John Kennedy and Roy Blunt said the Federal Bureau of Investigation report should be made public. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said that ridiculing "something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right". Flake added, "I wish he hadn't done it".
Mr Kavanaugh's confirmation hinges on a handful of key Republican and Democratic senators who have not yet fully tipped their votes.
GOP lawmakers expressed concern that Trump's comments could make it harder to win over wavering colleagues whose votes will likely prove pivotal to Kavanaugh's chances.
"It's time to put this embarrassing spectacle behind us", he added on Wednesday morning. She said Ford has "been treated like a Faberge egg by all of us, beginning with me and the president", and said Trump was merely "pointing out factual inconsistencies".
Trump's statements on Ford have swung dramatically since her testimony. But he has sounded less convinced each time he has addressed the subject.
Dr Ford sat for a polygraph lie detector test in August and answered questions about the alleged attack, which she passed.
Meanwhile, President Trump, who had been somewhat restrained in his comments about all this, shifted course Tuesday at a political rally in MS, where he mocked Ford.
White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday echoed the president's newly aggressive approach. "I also remember my friend Leland attending". But, he said in a press release, "If his nomination were to fall short, I would encourage President Trump to re-nominate Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court".
The fight over Kavanaugh's nomination comes against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement fighting sexual harassment and assault that has toppled a succession of powerful men. "Vote him up or down".
Two Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, are yet to declare their intentions.
Senators are preparing to vote on Kavanaugh as soon as late this week - and it's expected to be close. Deb Fischer of Nebraska, who is campaigning for a second Senate term.
The Supreme Court began a new term this week without a full bench as it waits on the FBI to investigate sexual abuse allegations against nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Although the FBI has yet to conclude its investigation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed Tuesday that a vote will happen on Kavanaugh's nomination this week regardless of what the FBI finds.
The FBI has finished an interview with Chris Garrett, a high school friend of Kavanaugh. Garrett's lawyer, William Sullivan, said Garrett has voluntarily cooperated with the FBI's reopened background check, but he declined to comment further. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman whose claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her sparked the probe, had not been contacted as of Wednesday, her attorneys said. Also interviewed were two others Ford said were present but in a different room: Patrick "P.J". Smyth and Leland Keyser.
"Sometimes people are accused of something they didn't do", Graham said.
Nonetheless, in a memo sent by Ms Mitchell, she said it was her view that no "reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee".