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Trump raises doubts about Kavanaugh accuser, questioning why she didn't come forward sooner

The Hill logo The Hill 21/09/2018 Jordan Fabian

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The Hill President Trump on Friday raised doubts about the sexual assault allegations brought against Brett Kavanaugh, shifting for the first time toward attacking his nominee's accuser.

Trump tweeted that if the assault on Kavanaugh's accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, was "as bad as she says" then "charges would have been immediately filed."

"I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!" Trump wrote.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., September 20, 2018.  REUTERS/Mike Segar © Catalyst Images U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., September 20, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar

In a prior tweet, Trump defended Kavanaugh as a "fine man" who is "under assault by radical left wing politicians who don't want to know the answers."

"They just want to destroy and delay. Facts don't matter. I go through this with them every single day in D.C.," The president tweeted.

Until Friday, Trump heeded the advice of his aides and Republican lawmakers by refusing to directly address her or cast doubt on her account.

Trump decision to escalate his attacks comes after Ford opened the door to testifying before the Senate next week in what could be a make-or-break hearing for Kavanaugh's Supreme Court hopes.

U.S. President Donald Trump departs the White House, to travel to Nevada for a campaign rally, in Washington, U.S., September 20, 2018.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY © Catalyst Images U.S. President Donald Trump departs the White House, to travel to Nevada for a campaign rally, in Washington, U.S., September 20, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

If Kavanaugh's nomination were to fail, it would be a major blow to Trump and the Republican Party ahead of the November midterm elections.

Ford is still negotiating the terms of her appearance with the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her lawyers have demanded ample security measures and have also asked for Kavanaugh to testify first.

Republicans on the Judiciary panel have not yet said whether they will agree to Ford's demands. Ford also asked for the hearing to be pushed back from Monday to later next week.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh walks to meet with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) © Catalyst Images Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh walks to meet with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Trump has repeatedly defended Kavanaugh since Ford's allegations became public and implied they are politically motivated, but had stopped short of directly questioning Ford's credibility.

During a rally in Las Vegas on Thursday, Trump praised Kavanaugh as a "great gentleman" with an "impeccable reputation."

"So we'll let it play out and I think everything will be just fine. This is a high-quality person," he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., September 20, 2018.  REUTERS/Mike Segar © Catalyst Images U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., September 20, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Ford, a California-based academic, accused Kavanaugh of pinning her down and trying to rip off her clothes during a house party while they were in high school during the 1980s. In an account published by The Washington Post, Ford said Kavanaugh held his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams during the alleged assault.

Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied that he assaulted Ford.

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