Trump raises doubts about Kavanaugh accusers after latest DOJ referral

Posted at 5:44 PM, Nov 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-03 17:44:00-04

(CNN) -- President Donald Trump raised doubts Saturday about the women who have accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault or misconduct after one individual was referred to the Justice Department for investigation.

"It was a made-up story," Trump told supporters at a rally in Montana, amplifying an argument he made on Twitter earlier Saturday. "She made up the story. It was a lie. It was a total lie. It was fake. You know what fake means? It was fake. She lied about the story about rape -- about rape, she lied. And we're supposed to sit back and take it."

"And by the way what about the others? When are they going to say what happened?" Trump added, referring to the other women who accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassleyreferred Judy Munro-Leighton on Friday to the Justice Department for investigation for potentially making false statements and obstruction. Munro-Leighton made her allegations in an email sent in October to committee staff, according to Grassley. Grassley claimed that Munro-Leighton confessed to committee investigators that she had never met Kavanaugh and admitted her allegation was a "ploy" and "tactic" because she opposed the judge's nomination.

Grassley also referred Julie Swetnick, another woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, her lawyer Michael Avenatti, who also represents porn star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against Trump, and another unnamed individualwho alleged Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a friend of his, for criminal investigation for alleged "materially false statements" and obstruction. The committee has said the latter individual "recanted" and apologized for the claim through a social media post.

Avenatti has called the referral "completely baseless and political." He tweeted Saturday morning, "@realDonaldTrump - my client Ms. Swetnick and I are still waitingstill waiting on the supposed 'criminal investigation' that Chuck 'I Never Went to Law School' Grassley demanded. I have only heard from the FBI once - to tell me I was a target of your MAGA bomber. You are a complete fraud."

On Saturday, Trump mused out loud about how unjust it would have been if Kavanaugh had withdrawn his name from consideration "because of a filthy dirty lie."

The President pivoted to attacking Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, who is up for reelection, and his vote against Kavanaugh's confirmation.

"What he did was terrible," Trump said of Tester, who was considered a potential swing vote on Kavanaugh's nomination.

Trump also knocked Tester for his vote on Ronny Jackson, his then-White House physician, who dropped out of his nomination for secretary of veterans affairs after allegations that included that he loosely handled prescription pain medications and was intoxicated during an overseas trip. Jackson denied the allegations.

Kavanaugh's appointment to the highest court was nearly derailed by several sexual assault and misconduct allegations.

Christine Blasey Ford testified in September before the Judiciary Committee, alleging that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school. At first, Trump was conciliatory toward Ford, calling her a "good witness," but less than a week later, Trump mocked her testimony at a campaign rally.

Kavanaugh, who also testified at the hearing, has vehemently denied all the accusations against him.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, at least 13 women accused Trump of misbehavior including sexual harassment and sexual assault. They came forward in the wake of a 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape that was released in October 2016 in which Trump was 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."

The White House -- through press secretary Sarah Sanders and others -- has dismissed all the allegations against Trump as old news that had been litigated during the campaign.

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