President Donald Trump spoke about the sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Monday, noting that the very idea of Kavanaugh withdrawing as a result of them is "ridiculous."
What's the background?
California professor Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault in an incident that she said took place in the early 1980s when the two were high school students.
Ford, now 51 years old, delivered the information in a letter to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in July, almost immediately after Trump chose Kavanaugh as nominee for Supreme Court justice. Feinstein — the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee — eventually turned the letter over to the FBI.
According to Ford’s account, she attended a house party with Kavanaugh and other teens at a Maryland home in 1982. Ford wrote that Kavanaugh pushed her into a bedroom along with another male companion. Kavanaugh then allegedly locked the door, put on loud music to muffle any sounds, and reportedly attempted to remove Ford's clothing.
Ford said that Kavanaugh and his male friend, who were reportedly drunk, laughed. At one point, Ford said that Kavanaugh placed his hand over her mouth to keep her from making any noises. She later revealed that she thought he might accidentally kill her during the alleged incident.
In a statement Friday, Kavanaugh flatly denied Ford’s allegations.
“I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time,” Kavanaugh said.
According to her lawyer, Ford is willing to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Kavanaugh has said that he is also willing to testify again in front of the committee.
“I have never done anything like what the accuser describes — to her or to anyone. Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday,” Kavanaugh added on Monday.
What did Trump say?
On Monday, Trump said that the very idea of Kavanaugh's nomination being withdrawn is "ridiculous."
“If it takes a little delay, it’ll take a little delay,” Trump explained. “I’m sure it will work out very well.”
He added that the hearings would continue, but appeared to express frustration with Democrats over the issue, as Feinstein and Eshoo had the letter since July.
“With all of that being said, we want to go through the process,” he said, later adding that he wished “Democrats could have done this a lot sooner.”
Trump called Kavanaugh a "very special guy" who had "never even had a little blemish on his record."
"He's one of the great intellects, and one of the finest people that anybody has known. You look at his references. I've never seen anything quite like it," the president added.
Trump: "Judge Kavanaugh is one of the finest people that I've ever known," says Kavanaugh has "never had even a little blemish on his record." Then adds: "with all of it being said, we want to go through a full process." (via Bloomberg) pic.twitter.com/DsUTNm9DaW
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 17, 2018
Anything more from Kavanaugh?
In new Monday statements, Kavanaugh reportedly said that he wasn't even at the party in question.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told NBC News that he felt Ford is simply "mixed up." Like the president, Hatch also had praise for the nominee, calling him "honest" and "straightforward."
According to the outlet, Hatch's aide said that Kavanaugh, while on the phone with the senator, denied having even been at the party in question.
NBC News reported that a White House official confirmed the remark that Kavanaugh said he hadn't attended such a party.