LATEST: Trump on Kavanaugh: ‘This is not a man who deserves this’

(CNN) — President Donald Trump continued to stand behind his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Tuesday, even as senators grapple with how to move forward after a woman has accused the judge of a decades-old sexual assault.

“This is is not a man who deserves this,” Trump said, adding that the allegations “should’ve been brought up long ago.”

Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

Trump also criticized Democrats and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, for not bringing up the letter during what he described as a “long, long meeting.”

“Why didn’t she bring it up then? Because they (Democrats) obstruct and because they resist – that’s the name of their campaign against me. They just resist and they just obstruct,” he said.

That said, Trump echoed that he and Republicans believe “we should go through a process.”

“There shouldn’t be a doubt,” he said.

“Hopefully the woman will come forward, state her case. He will state his case before members of the US Senate,” he said.

Senators “will look at what she had to say from 36 years ago … and we will see what happens.”

Trump reiterated that he feels “terribly” for Kavanaugh and his wife, as well as his “beautiful young daughters.”

FBI role

Trump said earlier in the day that he does not believe the FBI should delve any further into the decades-old sexual assault allegation leveled against Kavanaugh, claiming the FBI does not want to be involved.

“I don’t think the FBI really should be involved because they don’t want to be involved,” Trump said.

Trump’s comments came as Senate Democrats ramped up calls for the White House to direct the FBI to reopen Kavanaugh’s background investigation before any hearings on the allegation of sexual assault leveled over the weekend against the Supreme Court nominated judge can proceed.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has invited both Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, his accuser, to testify before the committee on Monday.

A Justice Department spokesperson said in a statement on Monday that the FBI forwarded the letter it received last week from Feinstein, which described the initially confidential allegation of sexual assault against Kavanaugh, to the White House Counsel’s Office.

“The FBI does not make any judgment about the credibility or significance of any allegation,” the spokesperson said, pointing to a 2010 memorandum of understanding between then-Attorney General Eric Holder and White House Counsel Bob Bauer. “Consistent with the memorandum of understanding, the FBI forwarded this letter to the White House Counsel’s Office. The allegation does not involve any potential federal crime. The FBI’s role in such matters is to provide information for the use of the decision makers.”

Trump’s own history

Trump has previously voiced suspicion about the #MeToo movement in private, complaining that allegations made decades later can ruin a man’s life, people familiar with those conversations say. He has questioned why women wait so long to come forward if they are telling the truth.

During the 2016 campaign, at least 15 women accused Trump of misbehavior ranging from sexual harassment and sexual assault to lewd behavior around women. They came forward in the wake of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape that was released in October 2016 in which he is caught saying on a hot mic: “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.”

But the White House — through press secretary Sarah Sanders and others — has dismissed all the allegations against him as old news that had been litigated during the campaign.

When his staff secretary Rob Porter was accused by two ex-wives of spousal abuse, Trump expressed sorrow that a promising young aide’s life had been ruined, even as he recognized that Porter could no longer work at the White House.


(CNN) — Republican sources on Capitol Hill say it’s uncertain if the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for next Monday to address the sexual assault accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will actually occur.

Entering Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told reporters that lawmakers were meeting to figure out the next steps — including if the hearing would proceed without Ford.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa said Tuesday morning that he had yet to hear back from Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually and physically assaulting her while they were both in high school.

Grassley told Hugh Hewitt on his radio show that Ford has not accepted his request to appear before the committee.

“We have reached out to her in the last 36 hours, three or four times, by email, and we have not heard from them,” Grassley said. “So it kind of raises the question, do they want to come to the public hearing or not?”

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, called Ford’s silence “pretty telling,” but added they hope she does testify.

“That’s pretty telling, she hasn’t responded to the committee’s normal processes and we don’t know if she’s coming or not but this is her chance. This is her one chance. We hope she does,” Cornyn said.

Democrats maintain that they want the FBI to reopen Kavanaugh’s background check ahead of a hearing.

The 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee penned a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and White House Counsel Don McGahn on Tuesday arguing that the FBI needs to complete an investigation before the hearing is scheduled to take place on Monday.

“The Committee should have the completed report before any hearing occurs and we ask that you take immediate steps to make sure that we have the FBI’s report before we proceed,” the senators wrote.

If the FBI doesn’t investigate the allegation, said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the judiciary panel, she thinks the hearing should be delayed.

“The important thing is to get this investigated,” Feinstein said. “There was a witness there — and that was this fellow (Mark) Judge. …”

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a key Senate vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, said it would be “puzzling” if Ford did not testify on Monday.

“That’s very puzzling to me,” she said about the uncertainty of Ford’s appearance. “I’ve said from the beginning that these are very serious allegations and she deserves to be heard. She is now being given an opportunity to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions, and I really hope that she doesn’t pass up that opportunity.”

When asked about Democrats’ request for the FBI to reopen its background investigation of Kavanaugh before the hearing takes place — and whether that could be a deciding factor for Ford to testify, Cornyn said: “She is not really in a position to make conditions, in my view.”

Since Kavanaugh was first nominated, Republicans have continued to emphasize the importance of following the proper procedures — a message President Donald Trump has even touched on since the accusation came to light.

However, Feinstein’s request for an investigation ahead of the hearing breaks with procedure. She also has questioned the speed of the hearing and the fact that there will be only two witnesses, Kavanaugh and Ford.

But a source who supports Kavanaugh notes that it was Feinstein who declined to release the letter back in July before the hearings, and rejects any notion that the FBI should step in and investigate first.

“That’s not how it works,” he said.

“The hearing is the investigation. At the heart of the investigation is what Ford says. If Ford doesn’t want an investigation than she shouldn’t have gotten into this game in the first place,” he said.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct when Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley made his comments about not hearing back from Christine Blasey Ford. It was Tuesday.


(CNN) — President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, is being accused of sexually and physically assaulting a 15-year-old girl at a party during his high school years.

Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the allegations, but his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, says there was one other person in the room when the alleged incident took place: Kavanaugh’s then-classmate, Mark Judge.

The fate of Kavanaugh’s nomination is hanging in the balance as Republicans and Democrats debate allowing a full investigation to take place.

Judge, a journalist and filmmaker, has also denied that the incident took place.

“It’s just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way,” Judge told The Weekly Standard in an interview on Friday. CNN has been unable to reach Judge for comment despite repeated attempts.

Now that Judge’s recollection of the alleged event could become a focal point for all those looking into the accusation, flags have been raised regarding his own past writings.

Judge wrote the book “Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk,” where he details his experiences of extensive drinking while attending Georgetown Preparatory School.

Judge writes that he is “shocked” about what he got away with in high school — recalling beach parties that hundreds of people would attend.

At another point he describes his high school as “positively swimming in alcohol.”

Judge also references a “Bart O’Kavanaugh,” who he writes vomited in someone’s car. It has not been confirmed whether this is a reference to Kavanaugh.

Separate from his book, Judge — in a 2013 piece for The Daily Caller — says of former President Barack Obama that he “doesn’t have just a streak of the feminine in him; he seems to be a woman, and a feminist one at that, with a streak of man in him.”

In the same Daily Caller article, he compares Michelle Obama with Laura Bush, writing: “With her love of violent movies, her fixation on fitness and death glare that appears when she doesn’t like what she’s hearing, Michelle is actually more man than her husband. Oh for the days when president George W. Bush gave his wife Laura a loving but firm pat on the backside in public. The man knew who was boss.”

In 2015, Judge writes in Splice Today about what he calls “damseling,” which he describes as “making a woman a passive damsel in distress who needs rescuing.”

“Of course, a man must be able to read a woman’s signals, and it’s a good thing that feminism is teaching young men that no means no and yes means yes. But there’s also that ambiguous middle ground, where the woman seems interested and indicates, whether verbally or not, that the man needs to prove himself to her. And if that man is any kind of man, he’ll allow himself to feel the awesome power, the wonderful beauty, of uncontrollable male passion,” he wrote.

Georgetown Preparatory School yearbook

Attorney Seth Berenzweig, a Virginia-based lawyer who otherwise has no connection to Kavanaugh or the allegations, was given a copy of the high school’s 1983 yearbook by an individual who requested anonymity. The yearbook features captions such as “Do these guys beat their wives?” and “Prep parties raise question of legality.”

In the yearbook, Judge’s page included the quote: “Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs,” citing Sir Noel Coward.

“The person who contacted me wanted to make sure that all information is available to the American people,” Berenzweig said.

“It’s not meant as an indictment or an attack on Judge Kavanaugh or the person who is accusing him. The only interest is in making sure that the American people have all of the information, as well as the representatives on Capitol Hill, so that they can make a fully informed decision on such a critical lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court.”

A public hearing on the allegations against Kavanaugh is set for next Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.