Trump Says Kavanaugh Sex-Assault Accusations ‘Big Fat Con Job’
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump called sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh “a big fat con job” but said he might consider pulling the nomination depending on Senate testimony from one of the accusers scheduled for Thursday.
The accusations “are all false to me, these are false accusations in certain cases and in certain cases even the media agrees with that,” Trump said during a wide-ranging news conference in New York capping the United Nations General Assembly.
Minutes later, asked if Kavanaugh’s three accusers were all lying, Trump said, “I can’t tell you. I have to watch tomorrow.”
Christine Blasey Ford, a California college professor who says that Kavanaugh assaulted her at a drunken party while both were in high school in Maryland, is scheduled to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Kavanaugh has denied the incident happened and will also testify.
“I’m going to be watching,” Trump added. “It’s possible they will be convincing. I can always be convinced.”
Trump acknowledged that his opinion of Kavanaugh’s accusers is influenced by the fact that several women have accused him of sexual misconduct. Trump or his spokespeople have denied all of the allegations, and he said on Wednesday that they were false or that his accusers were paid to lie about him.
“Well it does impact my opinion, you know why? I’ve had a lot of false accusations made against me,” he said. “People want fame, they want money.”
The new allegations against Kavanaugh, offered in an affidavit provided to the Senate by attorney Michael Avenatti on the eve of a hearing to examine accusations of alleged sexual assault against the nominee, say that in high school he helped get girls drunk or drugged so that a group of boys could have sex with them.
Kavanaugh said he did not know the accuser, Julie Swetnick of Washington, who wrote she had “a firm recollection” of seeing boys lined up at parties waiting “for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room.” She said she was a victim of one such assault, and she alleged that Kavanaugh was “present” but did not say whether he had participated in the attack.
Kavanaugh called Swetnick’s allegations “ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone” in a statement issued by the White House. He has also rejected the account of California college professor Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh held her down and tried to take her clothes off at a house party when they were in high school, as well as a third woman, Deborah Ramirez, who claims Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a drunken party when they were both freshmen at Yale University.
Earlier in the day, Trump attacked Avenatti on Twitter as “a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations” and as a “total low-life!” Avenatti is exploring a run for president as a Democrat in 2020 and also represents Stephanie Clifford, the adult film actress known as Stormy Daniels who says she had an affair with Trump before he was elected.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has set a vote for Friday on Kavanaugh’s confirmation and the full Senate could vote as early as Tuesday. Republicans hold a 51-49 advantage in the Senate and can’t afford more than one defection to ensure confirmation without Democratic support.
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