Democrats, who at the 11th hour brought up uncorroborated claims by two women of sexual harassment against U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, are playing a “con game,” President Trump said Tuesday after his speech at the United Nations.
“It’s just a game to them, but it’s a very dangerous game for our country,” Trump said in a bilateral meeting with Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez.
“They know it’s a con game, and they are winking at each other.”
Contending accusers Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez have not presented any evidence to substantiate their claims, Trump offered insight into how the drama on Capitol Hill has impacted the Kavanaugh family.
Kavanaugh, the president said, is “startled” by the claims, and his wife is “devastated.”
“He can’t believe this is happening.”
The couple’s two daughters, Trump said, are also “devastated.”
“I don’t mean they’re like, ‘Oh, gee, they’re a little unhappy.’ They’re devastated.”
Trump criticized Senate Minority Leader Schumer, D-N.Y., for declaring he believes Ford’s accusation without even talking to her.
The second accuser, Ramirez, “has nothing,” Trump said.
“She thinks maybe it could have been him, maybe not. She admits that she was drunk.”
Trump asked: “This [accusation] is going to take one of the most talented, one of the greatest intellects from a judicial standpoint in our country, going to keep him off the United States Supreme Court?”
The president said Kavanaugh “has a chance to be one of the greatest justices ever.”
“What a shame,” he said.
Trump added that the current confirmation process will dissuade good people from public service.
“Who’s going to want to go before this system to be a Supreme Court judge or to be a judge or be even a politician?” he asked.
“This is a high quality person and it would be a horrible insult to our country” if he’s not confirmed.
Ford puts Thursday hearing in doubt
Ford is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, but her attorney sent a letter to committee Chairman Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, that could jeopardize that plan.
Attorney Michael Bromwich, a former Justice Department inspector general, objected to Republicans arranging for an outside counsel to ask questions, and he took issue with the accusation Monday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that Democrats were engaged in a “smear campaign,” reported Fox News, which obtained a copy of the letter.
“We are finding it difficult to reconcile your letter and [staff member Mike Davis’] note with the Majority Leader’s speech this afternoon on the Senate floor. As Dr. Blasey Ford has been clear since her experience was first made public, she came forward because she believes it is her civic duty to tell the truth about the sexual assault she experienced,” Bromwich wrote.
The attorney said the plan for an outside counsel “does not appear designed to provide Dr. Blasey Ford with fair and respectful treatment.”
“In our view, the hiring of an unnamed ‘experienced sex crimes prosecutor,’ as Mr. Davis described in his email, is contrary to the Majority’s repeated emphasis on the need for the Senate and this Committee’s members to fulfill their constitutional obligations.”
Bromwich said it’s “also inconsistent with your stated wish to avoid a ‘circus,’ as well as Dr. Blasey Ford’s requests through counsel that senators conduct the questioning.”
“This is not a criminal trial for which the involvement of an experienced sex crimes prosecutor would be appropriate,” he argued.
Bromwich asked for the prosecutor’s resume “immediately” and for a meeting with her Tuesday.
Republicans hope to hold a committee vote on Kavanaugh on Friday and send the nomination to the full Senate, said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in an interview Tuesday afternoon with the Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto.
The earliest a vote of the full Senate could be held, allowing for debate, the senator said, is next Tuesday.
Kavanaugh: ‘I know I’m telling the truth’
Ford’s story emerged Sept. 13, a week before the committee was to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, when the ranking member, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, confirmed in response to a news article that she had “information” about an accusation she had been withholding for six weeks against the nominee and said she was turning it over to the FBI. Details of the accusation were leaked over the following weekend to the Washington Post. Ford accuses Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her at a party when both were in high school.
Kavanaugh has strongly denied Ford’s allegation and the claim of Deborah Ramirez, reported Sunday by the New Yorker, that he exposed himself to her while at Yale University.
Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley, spoke to media for the first time about the allegations in an interview with the Fox News Channel’s Martha MacCallum on Monday.
“What I know is the truth, and the truth is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone,” the nominee said.
Kavanaugh said the allegations would not cause him to withdraw from the confirmation process.
“I want a fair process where I can defend my integrity, and I know I’m telling the truth,” he said.
“I know my lifelong record and I’m not going to let false accusations drive me out of this process. I have faith in God and I have faith in the fairness of the American people.”