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President Trump on Friday joined those attacking the credibility of Christine Blasey Ford, who has charged that Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a party decades ago. Trump said his Supreme Court nominee is “under assault” by Democrats who want to derail his confirmation to the high court.
“Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a fine man, with an impeccable reputation, who is under assault by radical left wing politicians who don’t want to know the answers,” Trump tweeted. “They just want to destroy and delay. Facts don’t matter. I go through this with them every single day in D.C.”
“I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents,” he continued. “I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!”
According to statistics cited by the national anti-sexual violence organization RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the majority of sexual assaults aren’t reported to police, usually because of fears of retaliation.
“The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW,” the president added. “Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?”
Speaking to reporters at the White House moments before Trump’s tweeted barrage, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, expressed a strikingly different message.
“There’s no reason to attack her,” Conway said. “Let her tell her story.”
Ford says she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh in the early 1980s at a house party in suburban Maryland. She was 15 years old at the time of the alleged incident. The FBI would not ordinarily have been involved in investigating a local crime.
According to Ford’s account, Kavanaugh and his friend forced her into a room at the party and he “pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.”
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” Ford said.
In July, Ford — a 51-year-old research psychologist and professor in Palo Alto, Calif. — sent a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., detailing the alleged incident but requesting she remain anonymous. After news of the letter leaked, Ford reluctantly went public as Kavanaugh’s accuser in an interview with the Washington Post that was published Sunday.
“Senator Feinstein and the Democrats held the letter for months, only to release it with a bang after the hearings were OVER – done very purposefully to Obstruct & Resist & Delay,” Trump fumed. “Let her testify, or not, and TAKE THE VOTE!”
Trump’s statements come amid a growing partisan battle about whether to delay a Monday hearing for both Kavanaugh and Ford. Kavanaugh, who denies the allegations, sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley Thursday, saying he is eager to testify “as soon as possible, so that I can clear my name.” Ford’s attorneys say she needs more time to prepare and is willing to testify Thursday, not Monday. Her other demands are that she is questioned by senators, not an outside counsel; that Kavanaugh is not present at her hearing; that he testifies first, and that the committee subpoenas other witnesses, including Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge, who she says was in the room at the time of the alleged assault.
“As you are aware, she’s been receiving death threats which have been reported to the FBI and she and her family have been forced out of their home,” Debra Katz, Ford’s lawyer, wrote in an email to the committee. “She wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety. A hearing on Monday is not possible and the committee’s insistence that it occur then is arbitrary in any event.”
Kavanaugh’s wife has also received threats that are being investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Trump, who had been uncharacteristically restrained in his response to the allegations, showed signs of frustration before a rally in Las Vegas Thursday night.
“Let her have her say and let’s see how it all works out, but I don’t think you can delay it any longer,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “Why didn’t somebody call the FBI 36 years ago?”
Earlier this week, Trump said he was eager to hear from Ford, but expressed doubt that her testimony would be “credible” enough to change his opinion of Kavanaugh.
“I really want to see her; I would really want to see what she has to say,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday. “If she shows up and makes a credible showing, that’ll be very interesting, and we’ll have to make a decision. But I can only say this: He is such an outstanding man, [it’s] very hard for me to imagine anything happened.”
Trump also falsely suggested that the FBI cannot reopen its background investigation of Kavanaugh — something both Democrats and Ford’s lawyers have called for.
“It would seem that the FBI really doesn’t do that,” Trump said before noting the bureau did, in fact, conduct a total of six separate background investigations as Kavanaugh rose to prominence a federal court judge.
But the FBI could reopen its background check on Kavanaugh if the president ordered it. Anita Hill’s harassment allegations against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas were investigated by the FBI after the first round of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings had concluded.
Speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cast aside the allegations against Kavanaugh, and predicted his swift confirmation.
“President Trump has nominated a stunningly successful individual,” McConnell said. “You watch the fight, you watch the tactics, but here’s what I want to tell you. In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.’
McConnell added: “Keep the faith. Don’t get rattled by all this. We’re gonna plow right through it.”
During the rally in Las Vegas, Trump told the crowd that “one of the reasons I was elected was because you believed that I was going to pick great Supreme Court justices.”
“Brett Kavanaugh is one of the finest human beings you will ever have the privilege of knowing or meeting,” Trump said. “A great intellect, a great gentleman, an impeccable reputation, went to Yale Law School, top student, so we have to let it play out, but I want to tell you, he is a fine, fine person.”
The president added: “So we will let it play out, and I think everything is going to be just fine.”
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