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President Donald Trump said Wednesday that allegations of sexual misconduct against him “impact my opinion” on what he described as false charges against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
In extended comments during a press conference on the sidelines of a United Nations meeting in New York, Trump portrayed himself as a victim of made-up allegations.
“They made false statements about me, knowing they were false,” Trump said of his accusers, charging The New York Times with misreporting allegations against him during the run-up to the 2016 election. “People know that a lot of the news are fake, and a lot of the people sitting here are fake.”
His remarks in defense of Kavanaugh came as his pick to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy on the high court was struggling to claim the Senate votes needed for confirmation.
Trump also said he could be persuaded to change his mind on Kavanaugh when the judge and his first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
But, he said, the allegations against Kavanaugh “are all false,” and he would only withdraw the nomination “if I thought he was guilty of something.”
Trump blamed Democrats for ginning up last-minute charges against Kavanaugh.
“They know it’s a big, fat con job,” Trump said of Democrats. “They go into a room and I guarantee they laugh like hell.”
On Thursday, a third woman, Julie Swetnick, came forward to accuse Kavanaugh of misconduct. Trump called her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, who is entertaining a 2020 presidential run as a Democrat, a “low life.”
While Trump said he will watch the Kavanaugh hearing Friday, his focus — and that of the political world — could be divided by his scheduled meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The second-in-command at the Justice Department, who is overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, is expected to learn at that meeting whether reports that he discussed using a “wire” to record the president and the possibility of removing him through the use of the 25th Amendment will cost him his job.
Trump indicated at the press conference Wednesday that he doesn’t want to fire Rosenstein.
“I would certainly prefer not doing that,” he said, noting that in a telephone conversation Rosenstein denied having made the comments attributed to him.
“He said he never said it,” Trump said. “He said he doesn’t believe it. He said he has a lot of respect for me and he was very nice and we’ll see.”
Trump also said he might postpone the face-to-face meeting due to Kavanaugh developments.
“I may call Rod tonight or tomorrow and ask for a little delay to the meeting because I don’t want to do anything that gets in the way of this very important Supreme Court pick,” he said. “So I don’t want it competing and hurting the decision one way or the other decision.”