WASHINGTON — President Trump said he thought Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday was “very compelling” and said he’s “totally reliant” on GOP senators to move forward Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination as they see fit.
Trump was meeting in the Oval Office today with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, where he said the two would be discussing South America issues. “Venezuela’s a mess, and it’s got to be cleaned up, and people have to be taken care of,” Trump said.
The president was asked about Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-Ariz.) demand for a one-week FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh before commencing with a floor vote on the nominee. GOP leaders have agreed to the plan, as Flake and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — votes needed for passage — supported a delay.
“I’m going to let the Senate handle that. They’ll make their decisions and they do a good job. Very professional,” Trump said, adding that he was waiting to hear more details about the delay.
Ford told Judiciary senators Thursday that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge pushed her into a bedroom at a gathering when she was 15 and the judge was 17; she said Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed and tried to take off her clothes while he “put his hand over my mouth to stop me from yelling.”
“This is what terrified me the most, and has had the most lasting impact on my life,” she said. “It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me.”
Kavanaugh told the committee, “I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone. Not in high school, not in college, not ever.”
Trump was asked today what he though of Ford’s testimony.
“I thought her testimony was very compelling, and she looks like a very fine woman to me, very fine woman,” he replied. “And I thought that Kavanaugh’s testimony, likewise, was really something that I haven’t seen before. It was an incredible. It was an incredible moment, I think, in the history of our country.”
“But certainly she was a very credible witness. She was very good in many respects, and I think that — I don’t know if this is going to continue onward or are we going to get a vote,” Trump added. “…But I think it will work out very well for the country. I just want it to work out well for the country. If it happens, I’m happy.”
The president said he has “not even a little bit” thought about a potential replacement for Kavanaugh, and said he has “no message” for swing votes Sens. Susan Collins (D-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
After the Flake agreement, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) quipped to reporters on Capitol Hill, “Somebody’s gotta tell this to Trump.”
On reopening the FBI background investigation into Kavanaugh, Trump told reporters, “I’m going to rely on all of the people, including Senator Grassley, who is doing a very good job. That’ll will be a decision that they’re going to make, and I suspect they’ll be making some decision soon, whether to take a vote or to do whatever else they want to do.”