Trump claims Woodward book timed to interfere with Kavanaugh hearings

Trump claims Woodward book timed to interfere with Kavanaugh hearings

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE claimed Wednesday that the upcoming release of journalist Bob Woodward's book detailing his administration was timed to interfere with confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

In comments to reporters at the White House, the president said that in his "opinion," the book's scheduled release of Sept. 11 was deliberately timed by publisher Simon & Schuster to interfere with Senate procedures.

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"The book means nothing, it's a work of fiction," Trump told reporters Wednesday. "If you look at it, it was put out to interfere, in my opinion, interfere with the Kavanaugh hearings, which I don't think it's done."

"Because so many people have come out against it," he continued. "So many people that have been written about, said 'I never said that' [in response to quotes in Woodward's book.]"

The book, which had been announced for a Sept. 11 release date in late July, contains damaging allegations about the Trump administration, including critical quotes from top aides such as Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Trump identifies first soldier remains from North Korea | New cyber strategy lets US go on offense | Army chief downplays talk of 'Fort Trump' Pompeo backed continued US support in Yemen war over objections from staff: report Stand with veterans instead of predatory for-profit colleges MORE and chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE insulting Trump's intelligence and understanding of world affairs.

Both Mattis and Kelly have denied quotes attributed to them. Woodward says he stands by his reporting.

The president continued to offer praise for Kavanaugh on Wednesday amid the nominee's second day of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which have been often interrupted by protests from left-leaning activists.

"I'm happy with the Kavanaugh hearings. ... He's an outstanding intellect, he's an outstanding judge," Trump said, according to pool reports.

"The others side is grasping at straws and really the other side should embrace him."

Kavanaugh's questioning from senators on the committee began Wednesday morning after a day of opening statements.

The judge was nominated in July following the late-June announcement of Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement. Kavanaugh is Trump's second nominee to the high court following Neil Gorsuch's successful confirmation last year.