President Donald Trump sought to discredit one of the women accusing Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct by saying she was "messed up" and "drunk" at the time of the alleged incident. He also said he believes Democrats are masterminding "a con game" against his Supreme Court nominee.
Trump paused before his bilateral meeting with the Colombian President Tuesday to deliver a broadside against Deborah Ramirez, who accused Kavanaugh of inappropriate sexual behavior in an interview with The New Yorker, an allegation he has denied repeatedly. CNN has not independently confirmed her story.
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"The second accuser has nothing," Trump said. "She admits that she was drunk. She admits time lapses."
"She said she was totally inebriated and she was all messed up, and she doesn't know it was him but it might've been him," Trump said, adding sarcastically, " 'Oh gee, let's not make him a Supreme Court judge because of that.' "
A senior Senate GOP aide told CNN on background that Trump's comments raising doubts about Ramirez were not helpful. The aide added that the White House had already been contacted about Trump's tweets last week.
"The best way to ensure Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed without a cloud of doubt is to let the committee conduct their investigative processes without aspersions being cast on any accuser," the aide said.
The aide added, "Republicans from the President down have to tread incredibly lightly this week not to make it harder for the more moderate Republicans to vote with them."
During the 2016 campaign, at least 15 women accused Trump of misbehavior ranging from sexual harassment and sexual assault to lewd behavior around women. They came forward in the wake of a 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape that was released in October 2016 in which he is caught saying on a hot mic: "And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything ... Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything."
But the White House -- through press secretary Sarah Sanders and others -- has dismissed all the allegations against him as old news that had been litigated during the campaign.
Trump, who said he watched Kavanaugh defend himself on Fox News Monday night, said Democrats were "making him into something he's not."
"They're really con artists," the President continued. "They know he's a high-quality person. They don't believe it. It's just resist and obstruct. They're playing a con game and they play it very well -- they play it actually much better than Republicans. They're lousy politicians and they have lousy policy, they don't know what the hell they're doing."
"When I saw (Sen. Chuck) Schumer, who never even saw this woman, 'I believe her 100%,' and I see these other senators that I deal with on a daily basis. I know them better than they know themselves. But it's just a game to them, but it's a very dangerous game to our country," Trump said.
Trump, who phoned Kavanaugh Monday to tell him he was sticking by him, defended him again Tuesday.
"He's one of the highest quality people. You know when he said that really he was focused on trying to be number one in his class at Yale, to me that was so believable. I understand college very well, I understand being number one in your class and I understand a lot of things. When he said that, I understood exactly what -- he was so truthful, and I thought that came out," Trump said.
White House aides have sought to turn the President's focus to the diplomatic situations at hand in New York this week and away from the domestic crises in Washington. While discussing the allegations Monday, Trump turned to his Colombian counterpart, President Iván Duque, and said, "You must say, 'How is this possible?'"
Despite Trump's skepticism, Sanders indicated earlier Tuesday that the White House is open to the idea of hearing testimony from Ramirez at the hearing with Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh Thursday.
"Certainly we would be open to that, and that process could take place on Thursday," Sanders said during an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America."