Although the FBI will launch an investigation into the allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, it has no permission to do so with regard to those brought by a third woman, Julie Swetnick, people briefed on the matter told NBC News.
After coming under intense pressure from moderates in his own party, Trump ordered the bureau Friday to launch the investigations into allegations by Ford and Ramirez.
Kavanaugh stands accused of sexually assaulting Ford during a violent encounter at a high school party back in the 1980s when she was 15 and he was 17.
He is also facing similar accusations from Ramirez, who charges the top judge once exposed himself to her at a drunken dormitory party and forced her to touch his genitals in the 1983-84 academic school year, when he was a freshman at Yale University.
Kavanaugh has denied the accusations by these two women.
Meanwhile, Swetnick has accused him of engaging in sexual misconduct at parties while he was a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in the 1980s, according to the sources.
However, a White House official confirmed that Swetnick's allegations will not be pursued as part of the reopened background investigation into Kavanaugh.
Instead of investigating Swetnick's claims, the White House counsel’s office has provided the FBI with a list of witnesses they are allowed to interview, according to several anonymous people who discussed the parameters.
They described the instructions as a severe restriction on the FBI investigation and warn that such a limited scope, while usual in normal circumstances, may make it hard to pursue additional leads in a case in which a Supreme Court nominee is facing sexual assault accusations.
The limited scope seems to be at odds with what President Donald Trump said on Saturday that the FBI has "free rein" in the investigation.
"They’re going to do whatever they have to do," he said. "Whatever it is they do, they’ll be doing — things that we never even thought of. And hopefully at the conclusion everything will be fine."
It also contradicts what some members of the Senate judiciary seemed to expect when they agreed to give the bureau as much as a week to investigate allegations against Kavanaugh.