Trump pleased with Kavanaugh testimony, White House says

Trump pleased with Kavanaugh testimony, White House says
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE is pleased with Brett Kavanaugh's testimony during an explosive hearing about sexual assault allegations against him, and the president stands by his Supreme Court nominee, according to a White House official.

Kavanaugh delivered a forceful, emotional opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, in which he denied an allegation brought by Christine Blasey Ford, who says Kavanaugh assaulted her in 1982 when they were both in high school.

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The federal judge lashed out at committee members, calling his confirmation process a "national disgrace" that has "totally and permanently destroyed" his family and reputation, comments that Trump believed were strong, according to the White House official.

Kavanaugh asserted his innocence and refused to remove himself from consideration for the high court.

"You may defeat me in the final vote, but you'll never get me to quit. Never," Kavanaugh told senators.

White House officials said Trump will not pressure Kavanaugh to withdraw, and the general sense among the president's allies inside and outside the White House is that the judge helped his cause with his testimony.

Trump was said to have been displeased with Kavanaugh's performance during a Fox News interview earlier this week that aimed to push back on the allegations.

During a news conference Wednesday, Trump fiercely defended Kavanaugh but also opened the door to pulling his nomination if he was persuaded by Ford's testimony.

"I’m going to see what’s said. It’s possible that they will be convincing," Trump said in New York.

Trump watched the hearing on Air Force One while flying back to Washington and at the White House after he returned.

Following his opening statement, Kavanaugh engaged in several combative exchanges with Democratic senators who asked him about the allegation and his drinking habits in high school.

Democratic senators grew frustrated at Kavanaugh's refusal to say whether he would call for the FBI to reopen its background investigation and to call on his high school friend, Mark Judge, to testify before the panel.

Ford says Judge was present during the alleged incident, when she said Kavanaugh pinned her down and tried to strip off her clothes and then held her mouth shut when she tried to scream for help.