Trump raises doubts about Kavanaugh accuser

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE on Friday raised doubts about the sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, shifting for the first time toward attacking his Supreme Court nominee's accuser.
 
Trump tweeted that if the sexual assault on Kavanaugh's accuser, 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.
 
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Trump also took aim at Ford's lawyers, who had requested an FBI investigation of her claims before she agrees to testify.  
 
"The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW. Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?" he wrote in a separate tweet. 
 
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's 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.

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. 

Trump's new tack fits is in line with his natural instinct to go on the offensive. But many Republicans have privately expressed fears that direct attacks on Ford could backfire and hurt Kavanaugh's chances of confirmation. 

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.

Trump has repeatedly defended Kavanaugh since Ford's allegations became public and has implied they are politically motivated. But he has also refrained from naming the accuser and said Ford should have a chance to make herself heard, even if it means delaying a confirmation vote.   

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.

Ford, a California-based academic, accused Kavanaugh of pinning her down and trying to forcibly remove 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.