WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump sided with his embattled Supreme Court nominee, defending Judge Brett Kavanaugh against allegations of sexual assault as the White House walked a fine line in addressing accusations.

The president dismissed any notion that Kavanaugh’s nomination should be withdrawn, calling that a “ridiculous question” while accusing Democrats of playing politics by not zeroing in on the accusation against the judge until days before the Senate Judiciary Committee was poised to vote on his nomination.

“He’s an outstanding intellect. An outstanding judge. Respected by everybody. Never even had a little blemish on his record,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday.

But Trump’s defense was somewhat measured. He allowed that there might need to be a “little delay” in the Senate confirmation process to deal with the explosive allegation that Kavanaugh forced himself on a woman at a high school party more than 30 years ago.

“I’d like to see a complete process. … I want him to go in at the absolute highest level. And I think to do that you have to go through this. If it takes a little delay, it’ll take a little delay,” the president said.

“They’ll go through a process and hear everybody out. I think it’s important,” Trump continued. “But with all of that being said, it will, I’m sure, work out very well.”

Trump’s somewhat muted response underscored the politically perilous situation the White House found itself in.

Kavanaugh’s nomination had seemed to be on a glide path until Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California, said Sunday that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her at a drunken high school party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh denied the allegation.

Both were invited to testify about the matter before the committee next Monday, which could create a made-for-TV spectacle that Republican leaders had hoped to avoid.

The administration continued to push forward the nomination and summoned Kavanaugh to the White House, where he spent time with White House counsel Don McGahn and other aides.

“Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” Trump wrote on Twitter in February. “Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused — life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”

Source: The Associated Press

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