Trump claims Woodward book timed to interfere with Kavanaugh hearings

Trump claims Woodward book timed to interfere with Kavanaugh hearings

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis 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 MattisThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Trump's pick to lead Pentagon glides through confirmation hearing Overnight Defense: Highlights from Defense pick's confirmation hearing | Esper spars with Warren over ethics | Sidesteps questions on Mattis vs. Trump | Trump says he won't sell F-35s to Turkey 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.