Friday July 10th, 2020 3:19AM

Trump says Dems using 'con game' to sink Kavanaugh's bid

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump accused Democrats on Tuesday of using a "con game" to scuttle Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, forcefully dismissing allegations against the judge as Republicans began preparations for a pivotal hearing Thursday with Christine Blasey Ford, a woman accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

Kavanaugh's march toward Senate confirmation has been rocked by allegations of decades-old sexual improprieties from two women. Preparing for the hearing with Ford, Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley of Iowa said Republicans had hired an "investigating counsel" to handle questioning. He declined to provide the attorney's name.

"We're going to ask some questions on our side, by this person, for the same amount of time as the Democrats have collectively on the other side. And we're doing it strictly to depoliticize the whole operation, to offer Dr. Ford the professional environment she asked for," Grassley said.

Republicans decided to hire a female attorney because of the risk that the panel's 11 Republican men — there are no GOP women on the committee — might say something insensitive to Ford. A major slip-up could endanger Kavanaugh's confirmation and create political pain for the GOP in the midterm elections.

Ford alleges that Kavanaugh tried removing her clothes during a party when they were in high school. He says she covered her mouth to prevent her screams after he pinned her on a bed. Kavanaugh denies the accusation.

Ahead of the hearing with Ford, Republicans have been rallying to Kavanaugh's defense, accusing Democrats of waging a "smear campaign" against the appellate judge and stressing that there should be a presumption of innocence. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell predicted Kavanaugh will be confirmed, saying, "I'm confident we're going to win."

In a show of confidence, Republicans said they were discussing keeping the Senate in session this weekend so that they can begin the process of confirming Kavanaugh right away.

"I think we'll all be here all weekend," said Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican.

Yet GOP senators acknowledge the hearing Thursday with Kavanaugh and Ford is a do-or-die moment. A split-second facial expression, a tear or a choice of words by either witness could prove decisive. Several Republican senators have said they won't decide how to vote on Kavanaugh until after the hearing.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, one of the undecided Republicans, said she will be "glued to the television" during the hearing.

But one frequent Trump critic, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., was clearly leaning toward supporting Kavanaugh.

"I go into the hearings with very positive feelings about him, and I hope Thursday goes well," Corker told reporters.

At the United Nations, Trump, who had previously questioned Ford's credibility, turned his attention to Kavanaugh's second accuser, Deborah Ramirez.

Ramirez told The New Yorker magazine that at a party both attended as Yale freshmen in the 1980s, a drunken Kavanaugh placed his penis in front of her and caused her to involuntarily touch it. Kavanaugh denies her allegation.

Ramirez told the magazine she was inebriated as well and admitted to holes in her memory, which Trump seized on in his remarks.

"She said well it might not be him, and there were gaps, and she was totally inebriated and all messed up," Trump told reporters. "She doesn't know it was him but it might have been him and 'Oh gee let's not make him a Supreme Court judge because of that.' This is a con game being played by the Democrats."

Trump called Kavanaugh "just a wonderful human being" and suggested that Democrats were skeptical of Ramirez, saying, "They don't believe it themselves." He said rejecting Kavanaugh would be "a horrible insult" and "a very dangerous game" for the U.S.

Democrats have largely avoided talking extensively about Ramirez's accusations, instead focusing on Ford and their push for the GOP to conduct an FBI investigation.

"Women and their experiences are not just things to plowed through," Sen. Patty Murry, a Democrat from Washington, said at a press conference.

"Women are paying attention. Republicans need to get this right."

In what amounted to a dry run for his grilling by the Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh took the extraordinary step of conducting an interview with Fox News Channel that aired Monday night. Denying the allegations against him, he vowed that he won't be "pushed out" of the confirmation process.

"What I know is I've never sexually assaulted anyone," Kavanaugh said in the interview, which was conducted alongside his wife, Ashley.

After the interview aired, the sense in the West Wing was relief that Kavanaugh was able to present an image to counter the allegations. Yet there remained concern among aides, and Trump himself, as to how Kavanaugh, who appeared shaken at times during the interview, would hold up facing far fiercer questioning from Senate Democrats on Thursday, according to a White House official not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.


Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Juliet Linderman, Catherine Lucey, Jonathan Lemire, Kevin Freking, Padmananda Rama and Matthew Daly contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Online Supreme Court News, AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News
© Copyright 2020
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump says Dems using 'con game' to sink Kavanaugh's bid
President Donald Trump says Democrats are using a "con game" to try scuttling Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination
5:19PM ( 5 minutes ago )
The Latest: Germans take latest Trump criticism in stride
Smirks and smiles, but no signs of shock: German diplomats appeared bemused by President Donald Trump's latest swipe at their country
5:13PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Hearing on Kavanaugh allegations puts #MeToo to the test
Hearing on Kavanaugh allegations offers test for #MeToo movement, no matter what happens
5:00PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Cosby in handcuffs: TV star gets 3 to 10 years for assault
An 81-year-old Bill Cosby has been led off to prison in handcuffs after being sentenced to three to 10 years behind bars for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman
4:50PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Trump challenges UN, boasting of America's go-it-alone might
President Donald Trump delivered a sharp rebuke of multinational authority at the United Nations on Tuesday, drawing headshakes and even laughter from fellow world leaders
4:47PM ( 37 minutes ago )
The Latest: Guatemala leader rails at UN-backed graft body
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales has used his time speaking to the U.N. General Assembly to rail against a U.N.-sponsored commission that has investigated corruption in his Central American nation, including a case against the leader himself
4:44PM ( 39 minutes ago )
AP National News
The Latest: US expands aid for Venezuelan migrants
Vice President Mike Pence says the U.S. will give another $48 million in humanitarian aid for Venezuelans who have fled their crisis-wracked nation
3:37PM ( 1 hour ago )
Bill Cosby gets 3 to 10 years in prison for sex assault
An 81-year-old Bill Cosby has been led off to prison in handcuffs after being sentenced to three to 10 years behind bars for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman
3:35PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Cosby denied bail; to be locked up immediately
Bill Cosby has left a Pennsylvania courtroom in handcuffs to begin serving a three-to-10 year prison sentence for sexual assault
3:18PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online National News
US lashes out at Iran as world leaders gather at UN
President Donald Trump and his top national security aides have lashed out at Iran with unusual venom, warning Tehran that it faced severe consequences if it defied the United States
4:26PM ( 58 minutes ago )
Ex-Rep. Dingell is out of the hospital after heart attack
Former longtime Rep. John Dingell is out of a Detroit-area hospital eight days after suffering a heart attack
4:14PM ( 1 hour ago )
US-China tensions spilling over into the military arena
A deterioration in U.S.-China relations, seen most dramatically in their trade dispute, is spilling over into the military arena
4:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
US: Stoppage of US, Korea exercises cause readiness loss
The general nominated to take command of U.S. and allied forces in South Korea says the decision to cancel several major military exercises on the Korean peninsula this year caused a slight degradation in the readiness of American forces.
2:03PM ( 3 hours ago )
California ballot initiative seeks to end high speed rail
Activists seeking to repeal California's gas tax increase are proposing another ballot measure aimed at providing replacement transportation funding and eliminating the state's high speed rail project
1:55PM ( 3 hours ago )
UK Labour opposition party vows to reject May's Brexit deal
Britain's main opposition Labour Party says it will reject Prime Minister Theresa May's proposed Brexit deal with the European Union when it comes to a vote in Parliament
12:51PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
The Latest: Trump says UN now feels like 'home'
President Donald Trump has told foreign leaders at a U.N. General Assembly luncheon that the world body used to feel a bit like "foreign territory," but that now it feels like "home."
2:07PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Trump to hold Wednesday news conference
President Donald Trump will hold a news conference this week to discuss his participation in the U.N. General Assembly and "news of the day."
1:21PM ( 4 hours ago )
In TV interview, Kavanaugh denies sexually assaulting anyone
Kavanaugh declares in a televised interview that he never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or at any other time in his life and didn't attend the party cited by his 1st accuser
7:35AM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Online Supreme Court News
The Latest: Prosecutor: Cosby 'unmasked' as predator
A prosecutor says Bill Cosby has been "unmasked" as a predator now that he's been convicted and sentenced to prison for sexually assaulting a woman in 2004
4:14PM ( 1 hour ago )
In 'Free Solo,' a steeper challenge for Honnold than El Cap
In the documentary 'Free Solo,' rock climber Alex Honnold faces a bigger challenge than even climbing Yosemite's El Capitan without a rope: Moving out of his van and getting a steady girlfriend
3:44PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Judge says Cosby not entitled to bail
A judge is telling Bill Cosby that he's not entitled to bail while the 81-year-old comedian appeals his sexual assault conviction
2:31PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
'Making a Murderer' sequel set to premiere Oct. 19
A sequel to the popular "Making a Murderer" documentary is set to premiere Oct. 19 on Netflix
12:00PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: WH mum on whether Trump confident in Rosenstein
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders isn't saying whether President Donald Trump has confidence in the No. 2 man at the Justice Department
7:41AM ( 9 hours ago )
Weighing whether to can Rosenstein, Trump tuned in TV hosts
Trump turned to favorite TV hosts while deciding whether to fire Justice Department official
1:21AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online TV News
The Latest: Germans take latest Trump criticism in stride
Smirks and smiles, but no signs of shock: German diplomats appeared bemused by President Donald Trump's latest swipe at their country
5:13PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Hearing on Kavanaugh allegations puts #MeToo to the test
Hearing on Kavanaugh allegations offers test for #MeToo movement, no matter what happens
5:00PM ( 25 minutes ago )
In most global of settings, UN ponders populism's problems
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres paints a grim picture of the state of the world as leaders open their annual meeting.
4:54PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Russia's Lavrov lashes out at Norway arrest of suspected spy
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is slamming Norway for arresting a Russian parliamentary official suspected of spying
4:53PM ( 32 minutes ago )
The Latest: SKorea leader sees difference in new nuke talks
South Korean President Moon Jae-in says the current round of nuclear diplomacy with North Korea is "completely different" than the many failed deals that have frustrated past negotiators
4:52PM ( 33 minutes ago )