UNITED NATIONS - President Donald Trump on Monday defended his US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after a second woman came forward with an allegation of sexual misconduct against the judge that has further complicated his confirmation prospects in the Senate.
In a statement provided by the White House, Mr Kavanaugh said the event "did not happen" and that the allegation was "a smear, plain and simple". Trump's first nominee, Judge Gorsuch, was confirmed by the Senate on April 7, 2017.
Brett Kavanaugh said Monday that he's the victim of attempts at "character assassination" but said he won't be intimidated into withdrawing his nomination to sit on the Supreme Court.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) speaks on Friday at the Values Voter Summit in Washington. "In my opinion, it's totally political", he said. Countless people from every phase of Brett Kavanaugh's life have testified that he is a good man of the highest character and integrity.
On Kavanaugh, Trump stressed: "I am with him all the way".
Ramirez's allegations follow allegations from Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford, who said Kavanaugh assaulted her at a high school party in the early 1980s.
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In a story posted Sunday night on its website, The New Yorker reports that the claim dates to the 1983-84 academic year, Kavanaugh's freshman year at Yale University. This story centers on Deborah Ramirez, who has come forward (or was pushed to come forward) with a claim that while she and Kavanaugh were both students at Yale, they were both at a drunken dorm party where Kavanaugh allegedly exposed himself to her. Spokesman Taylor Foy said the panel is looking into it.
Four Democratic senators have received information about the allegation through a civil rights lawyer, and at least two have begun investigating it, according to the report.
As he builds a case for his innocence, Kavanaugh plans to turn over to the committee calendars from the summer of 1982 that don't show a party consistent with Ford's description of the gathering in which she says he attacked her, The New York Times reported Sunday. However, after "assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney", she was certain enough in her recollections of the alleged incident to come forward.
The paper also claims Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates to ask if they recalled the incident and told some of them that she could not be certain it was Kavanaugh.
She made several requests, some of which were accommodated - a Thursday hearing, three days later than originally scheduled, and a smaller hearing room with less press access to avoid a media circus, for example.
The potentially explosive hearing, against a backdrop of the #MeToo movement fighting sexual harassment and assault, comes just weeks before November 6 congressional elections in which Democrats are trying to take control of Congress from Trump's fellow Republicans.
Ford has agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has asked that the FBI investigate her claim, and yet, Republican Senators have casted doubt on her account, stating they will advance Kavanaugh's nomination proceedings regardless of her allegations.
A handful of senators in both parties remain undecided on Kavanaugh's nomination. Defections among Republicans would likely block his path to the Supreme Court. She said the White House "stands firmly behind Judge Kavanaugh". The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so.