Politics

Trump: ‘Decision’ Would Follow ‘Credible’ Kavanaugh Accuser Testimony

President signals willingness to reconsider nomination, also sides with accused over accuser

President Donald Trump nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the East Room of the White House in July. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump appeared to signal he might reconsider Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination if his accuser is believable in potential testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But he also appeared to side with the federal judge over the woman.

“Look, if she shows up and makes a credible showing, that will be very interesting and we’ll have to make a decision,” he said Wednesday as he departed the White House for the hurricane-drenched Carolinas.

For the first time, the president weighed in with his view of Ford’s allegations that a drunken Kavanaugh, during a 1982 high school party, pinned her to a bed and groped her while suppressing her screams for help. She claims she thought he might kill her; he denies all her allegations.

“He is such an outstanding man, it is very hard for me to imagine anything happened,” Trump said of his nominee.

The president again showed sympathy for the accused while expressing none for the accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, saying Kavanaugh has been “treated very, very tough”

“I think it’s a very unfair thing, what’s going on,” he said.

But he also told reporters he “really would want to see what she has to say,” referring to Ford.

Trump said he wants to give the Senate Judiciary Committee “all the time they need” to look into the matter and try to hear from Ford and Kavanaugh about the alleged incident.

“If she shows up, that would be wonderful,” he said of Monday’s planned hearing. “If she doesn’t, that would be unfortunate.”

Trump also slammed Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a Tuesday interview with Hill.TV, saying: “I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad.

“I’m so sad over Jeff Sessions because he came to me. He was the first Senator that endorsed me. And he wanted to be Attorney General, and I didn’t see it,” he said. “And then he went through the nominating process and he did very poorly. I mean, he was mixed up and confused, and people that worked with him for, you know, a long time in the Senate were not nice to him, but he was giving very confusing answers. Answers that should have been easily answered. And that was a rough time for him.”

Asked about his comments, Trump on Wednesday told reporters he is “very disappointed” in Sessions. But he did not signal that he might fire the former Alabama GOP senator.

But he did not rule out finding a new AG, saying when asked about removing Sessions: “We are looking at lots of different things. ... I have a great Cabinet.”

Trump was asked if he is concerned about his former campaign chairman, Paul Manfort, cooperating with Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller.

“I believe that he will tell the truth. And if he tells the truth, no problem,” he replied just days after Manafort agreed to a plea deal with Mueller.

Would he consider pardoning Manafort? “I don't want to talk about it now.” he replied. Watch: Can Trump Resist Lighting the Fuse Ahead of Kavanaugh's Senate Showdown?

 

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