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President Donald Trump on Friday appeared to cast doubt on Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that she was sexually assaulted by his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, when they were both in high school, marking the first time the president has publicly questioned the truthfulness of her allegation.
“I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents,” Trump said on Twitter Friday morning.
“The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW. Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?” he added in a third tweet on the issue.
In an earlier post, Trump lauded Kavanaugh as “a fine man, with an impeccable reputation, who is under assault by radical left wing politicians who don’t want to know the answers.”
Kavanaugh has come under mounting scrutiny in the days since Ford accused him of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school. Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault at a party in high school when Kavanaugh attended the elite all-boys Georgetown Preparatory School outside of Washington, D.C. Ford detailed, in an account to the Washington Post, that she was 15 at the time and attended the all-girls school, Holton-Arms.
Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the accusation.
Trump’s posts marked the first time that he had sought to undercut Ford’s credibility regarding the accusation she’d made about Kavanaugh. Trump had previously defended Kavanaugh and urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to advance his nomination, but had stopped short of criticizing Ford directly.
Just as Trump tweeted about Ford Friday morning, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters that the “president doesn’t need anybody to tell him” not to attack Kavanaugh’s accuser.
“He does the right thing,” Conway said.
Trump’s claim about having “no doubt” that charges would have been filed in the alleged incident involving Ford and Kavanaugh contradicts what leading sexual assault victim advocacy groups know about reporting levels of incidents.
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), just 310 of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to police, meaning about two out of every three cases are not. RAINN bases it assessment on an an aggregation of data from the Justice Department and other federal government surveys.
Trump’s statements came as the Senate Judiciary Committee was working with Ford’s lawyers to figure out the best time and way for her to testify. On Thursday, her lawyers laid out conditions for her appearance before the panel, including not being in the hearing room with him and assurances that she will be safe. Republican and Democratic sources told NBC News that the earliest Ford could appear would be next Thursday, though the committee has planned hearing to air the allegations on Monday.
Trump, on Thursday night, had warned that it was time for the Senate Judiciary Committee to “get on with it” regarding the efforts to schedule a hearing
“I don’t think you can delay it any longer,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity just before a campaign rally in Las Vegas. “They’ve delayed it a week, and they have to get on with it.”
Trump, who was in Nevada in large part to boost the re-election hopes of Sen. Dean Heller, told the crowd during his stump speech that Heller’s vote “is more important than mine because he’s gotta help Brett get in.” And, he added, “we’re gonna get Brett.”