President Donald Trump called the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh “a big, fat con job” by Democrats, but said he would withdraw the nomination if he were convinced otherwise by Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
Trump conducted a wide-ranging press conference Wednesday in New York, wrapping up his visit to the United Nations General Assembly. He also discussed international trade, North Korea, conflicts in the Middle East, and the economy, among other things.
But the committee Thursday hearing regarding accusations against Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge, by Christine Blasey Ford dominated much of the press conference.
“They’re obstructionists,” Trump said of Democrats regarding the allegations against Kavanaugh. “They’re actually con artists because they know how quality this man is, and they’ve destroyed a man’s reputation, and they want to destroy it even more.”
“They know it’s a big, fat con job, and they go into a room, and I guarantee you, they laugh like hell at what they’ve pulled off,” the president said.
If he were to be convinced to the contrary by Ford’s testimony before the Senate committee, the president said, he could pull the nomination.
“They’re giving the women a major chance to speak. Now, it’s possible I’ll hear that and say, ‘Hey, I’m changing my mind.’ Hey, that’s possible,” he said.
Upon questioning as to whether he would withdraw Kavanaugh’s name from further consideration, Trump said, “If I thought he was guilty of something like this … yeah, sure.”
Trump said another FBI investigation wouldn’t move Democrats.
“I think when you really look at it all, it’s not going to change any of the Democrats’ minds. They’re obstructionists,” he said.
He said there have already been six FBI background checks of Kavanaugh.
“The FBI told us they’ve investigated Judge Kavanaugh six times, five times, many times over the years. They know him very well,” Trump said. “But here, there was nothing to investigate. They didn’t know the location, they didn’t know the time, they didn’t know the year. They didn’t know anything.”
Trump said that because of what Kavanaugh has characterized as “grotesque and obvious character assassination,” someone else might not be willing to accept a nomination to serve on the high court.
“In this case, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I think that is a very dangerous standard. With that said, I look forward to what [Ford] has to say,” the president said.
Trump is also scheduled to meet with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at the White House on Thursday.
The New York Times reported last week that Rosenstein talked about secretly recording Trump and then trying to use the 25th Amendment, which allows the Cabinet to start the process of removing a president from office based on incapacity.
Trump said he would “certainly prefer” not to fire Rosenstein.
“My preference would be to keep him, and let him finish up,” the president said. “He said he never said it. He said he doesn’t believe it. He said he has a lot of respect for me. He’s very nice, and we’ll see.”