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Trump: Kavanaugh showed 'exactly why I nominated him'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE on Thursday evening showered Brett Kavanaugh with praise after the Supreme Court nominee forcefully denied sexual assault allegations during a Senate hearing, with the president calling on the Senate to vote to confirm him.

In a tweet sent minutes after the dramatic hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee ended, Trump said Kavanaugh was “powerful, honest, and riveting” while blasting Democrats as “disgraceful.”

“Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!” Trump tweeted. 

An emotional Kavanaugh angrily pushed back on allegations that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when they were in high school. The accusations have endangered his chances of being confirmed to the nation's highest court. 

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Earlier in the day, Ford said she was "100 percent" certain Kavanaugh was the perpetrator but Kavanaugh said he was innocent and blasted senators for a confirmation process he called a "national disgrace."

Trump watched the proceedings closely throughout the day and was pleased by Kavanaugh's combative performance, according to a White House official. His tweet Thursday evening made it clear he will stand by his nominee.

The president at a news conference on Wednesday had opened the door to abandoning the nomination if he found Ford to be a persuasive witness. 

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

The president's full-fledged backing for Kavanaugh could put pressure on several Republican holdouts on his nomination. If the Senate fails to confirm Kavanaugh to the high court, it would be a major blow to the president and the party ahead of the November midterm elections. 

GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBiden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls Two more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers Trump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism MORE (Maine), Lisa Murkowsi (Alaska) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden eyeing Cindy McCain for UK ambassador position: report Profiles in cowardice: Trump's Senate enablers McSally concedes Arizona Senate race MORE (Alaska) have all expressed reservations about voting for Kavanaugh after multiple women came forward this month to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. 

Senate Republicans are meeting on Thursday evening to determine their next steps on Kavanaugh's nomination.

Kavanaugh engaged in heated exchanges with Democratic senators about his days in high school and beyond, during which he was peppered with various personal questions about his drinking habits and sexual activity.

His remarks capped off a roller coaster day on Capitol Hill and came after Ford delivered her own gripping testimony before the Senate panel, describing being pinned to a bed and fearing for her life during a high school gathering in 1982.

Updated at 7:25 p.m.