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    Posted: September 21 2018 at 2:20pm
Trump challenges accuser
40 minutes ago
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Image copyrightRESEARCHGATE.NET/ GETTY
Image caption
Brett Kavanaugh denies the allegations by Christine Blasey Ford
President Donald Trump has challenged the woman who has accused his Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault, demanding she provide evidence.

Mr Trump questioned why law enforcement was not called at the time of the alleged assault, in 1982, if it was "as bad as she says".

The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh has been held up while the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford are assessed.

Both have agreed to testify before a Senate committee.

However, Prof Ford has set out conditions for her appearance which have yet to be agreed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

US media report that the committee has now offered to hold the hearing next Wednesday.

This counteroffer reportedly requires Prof Ford to testify before Judge Kavanaugh, which goes against one of her conditions.

The committee must approve the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh before it passes to the full Senate for a vote.

The truth about false assault accusations
Kavanaugh accuser 'faces death threats'
Could Kavanaugh confirmation be derailed?
The choice of a new justice for the Supreme Court is pivotal, as it often gives the final word on highly contentious laws and its nine judges have an immense impact on US political life.

What has Mr Trump said?
In a series of tweets, the president again delivered his full support for Judge Kavanaugh, saying he was a "fine man, with an impeccable reputation".

He went on: "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. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!"

He added: "Why didn't someone call the FBI 36 years ago?"

Mr Trump also attacked "radical left wing politicians who don't want to know the answers, they just want to destroy and delay".

Skip Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump
The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW. Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2018
Report
End of Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump
Following the president's controversial comments, the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport began trending on Twitter, with thousands sharing their experiences of sexual harassment and assault.

By Friday afternoon, the hashtag had over 122,000 tweets from both women and men.

President Trump had also weighed in on the process on Thursday, telling Fox News: "I don't think you can delay it any longer. They've delayed it a week already... they have to get on with it."

The Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Judge Kavanaugh had originally been scheduled for Thursday.

What was Prof Ford's account?
The details of the alleged assault during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County, Maryland, were carried in the Washington Post this week when Prof Ford decided to reveal her identity and tell the story.

She made it clear in the Post that she had told no-one of the incident in any detail until 2012 when she attended couples therapy with her husband.

The psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California said she was being treated for what she said had been the long-term effects of the incident.

She told a senior Democratic lawmaker of her allegation in a confidential letter this summer and only went public after it was leaked.

Judge Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the allegation.

It'll only get nastier
Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter

Donald Trump, much to the reported surprise of some in the White House, had largely held his tongue about the twists in the Brett Kavanaugh nomination.

That ended on Friday morning.

With his nominee in peril - the level of danger seems to vary by the hour - the president has now jumped into the debate with both feet. His suggestion that "loving" parents would have reported an alleged sexual assault to the police and implication that the incident may or may not be "as bad as she says" are exactly the kind of inflammatory statement some Republicans feared the president would feel drawn to make.

The president's comments will almost certainly help rally his base to Mr Kavanaugh's defence. It could also damage support for the judge's nomination - already fairly low - among women and independents who could cast key votes in the upcoming mid-term elections.

In the end, however, what matters most for Mr Kavanaugh's fate is how Mr Trump's involvement affects Republican support in the Senate. The confirmation process is already hopelessly politicised, as Republicans accuse Democrats of bad-faith delay tactics and Democrats renew their call for a wider hearing process.

The only thing that seems clear is that the process will get nastier before it's all over.

Where does the committee say?
Committee chairman Chuck Grassley had called for written testimony by this Friday from Prof Ford and scheduled a hearing on the matter for Monday.

Her lawyer, Debra Katz, rejected this and in a phone call to the panel on Thursday spelled out her client's conditions for testifying.

They include:

Prof Ford will not testify if Judge Kavanaugh is in the room
Judge Kavanaugh must testify first
There can be no appearance before next Thursday
Questions to be posed preferably by senators and not outside counsel
Mark Judge, who is reported to have been a witness to the alleged assault, should be subpoenaed to appear
Agrees to a public hearing but wants limits on the media coverage
Will the conditions be accepted?
There are problems with at least three of the requests.


Media captionWhy it can take sexual assault allegations years to come out
The Senate Judiciary Committee would have to change the Monday hearing.

It is also not traditional for the accused to testify first and not have an opportunity for rebuttal.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said: "Asking for that usual sequence to be reversed is very unusual."

Why is the US top court so important??
Meet the Supremes - who are the justices?
Neither is it traditional for any subpoenas to be issued for the nomination process.

However, Ms Katz suggested there appeared to be room for negotiation when she sent a letter to the committee after the phone call, saying: "The only issue I said was a deal breaker was that Dr Ford cannot appear at a hearing on Monday."

Threats - and support - for all sides
Prof Ford, Mr Kavanaugh and the judge's wife have all been receiving threats, as the case becomes increasingly contentious.

Ms Katz said of her client: "She's been receiving death threats which have been reported to the FBI and she and her family have been forced out of their home."


Media captionAlumni of Ford's school: "We believe her"
Fox News said it had obtained emails showing graphic and violent threats to Ashley Kavanaugh, who married the judge in 2004.

But supporters of both Judge Kavanaugh and Prof Ford have also been vocal.

A group of friends and former colleagues of the judge held a press briefing on Friday behind the banner #IStandWithBrett.

Maura Fitzgerald, a friend since high school, said: "The allegation against Brett is inconsistent with everything that I have known about him as a person."

Twelve of Prof Ford's family members have written an open letter, posted on Twitter, in which they call her "highly ethical", adding that "her honesty is above reproach".

"Chrissy is not someone who chooses to be in the spotlight," the letter said.

12 Monkeys...............
1995 ‧ Science fiction film/Thriller ‧ 2h 11m a must for AFT
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 21 2018 at 2:43pm
Combo image of US President Donald Trump and Judge Brett Kavanaugh Source: AAP
US President Donald Trump on Friday sought to cast doubt on the woman who has accused his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

UpdatedUpdated 22 mins ago
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Donald Trump ditched his earlier restraint Friday in the scandal threatening his Supreme Court nominee, instead going on the attack against the woman accusing the would-be justice of sexual assault when they were teens.

The US president previously toed the Republican Party line in standing by Judge Brett Kavanaugh while also insisting that the accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, be given a respectful, fair hearing.

But the gloves have come off, reflecting Trump's fear that time is running out to get the conservative judge confirmed -- and tilt the Supreme Court firmly to the right for years to come -- before November elections when Republicans risk losing control of Congress.

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Combo image: US President Donald Trump and his Supreme Court pick Judge Brett Kavanaugh
Trump pushes accuser of Supreme Court pick Kavanaugh to testify
"TAKE THE VOTE!" Trump tweeted, telling the Republican-controlled Senate to get on with the confirmation.

In comments that tore up days of a relatively cautious approach, Trump rejected the credibility of Ford's claim to have been sexually assaulted by a drunken Kavanaugh when they attended neighbouring private schools near Washington in the early 1980s.

Trump used a string of tweets to blame the entire row on "radical left-wing politicians" seeking to "destroy and delay" Kavanaugh's confirmation.

And while Ford -- a California psychology professor who has yet to give a full public account -- wants an FBI investigation into her claim, Trump says the fact that she remained silent until now shows the incident probably never happened.

"I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says," Trump wrote, "charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents."

"Why didn't someone call the FBI 36 years ago?"


Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump
The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW. Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?

9:29 PM - Sep 21, 2018
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The senior Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, called Trump's logic "a highly offensive misunderstanding of surviving trauma."

"1000s & 1000s of strong women have kept being assaulted to themselves for a variety of understandable reasons," Schumer tweeted. "The president doesn't even try to understand trauma survivors -- he'd rather use their pain for political purposes."

More concerning for Trump might have been the angry reaction of one of his own Republican senators, Susan Collins, who sits on the Judiciary Committee.

"I was appalled by the president's tweet," she said in comments broadcast by CNN.

"We know that allegations of sexual assault are some of the most under-reported crimes that exist. So I thought that the president's tweet was completely inappropriate and wrong."

Trump's outburst saw a new #MeToo era hashtag storm the internet, with #WhyIDidntReport the top trending conversation starter on US Twitter Friday, as people, mostly women, vented outrage over past transgressions and voiced solidarity with Ford.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.
AAP
Showdown next week?
The scandal, which broke a week ago, has already delayed what previously seemed to be Kavanaugh's certain confirmation.

Republicans are furious over what they say was the deliberate timing of the last-minute revelation of Ford's allegation, accusing Democrats of seeking to prevent the process from finishing before the November midterm elections, when Democrats hope to recapture at least one chamber of Congress.

For their part, Democrats say Republicans are mounting an unseemly rush to get Kavanaugh into the nine-member Supreme Court while they still control the legislature.

The high-stakes political battle could reach boiling point next week.

Kavanaugh has repeatedly agreed to testify before the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee, saying he wants to clear his name.

A distinguished judge seen as favouring conservative interpretations of the constitution, he has not been accused in other sexually related cases and no further witness has come forward to corroborate Ford's claims.

Ford's lawyers are rejecting pressure for her to testify early next week, resulting in a drawn-out negotiation over the timing of what promises to be an explosive piece of political theater.

The latest Republican offer was for Wednesday. However, the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein, quickly countered to say that Thursday was the earliest day acceptable.

Even so, top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell told supporters on Friday that he has no doubt about the outcome.

"Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court," he said to applause. "We're going to plow right through it."

Damage done
Meanwhile, both the protagonists in the drama have already suffered.

Kavanaugh has seen his near coronation in the lifetime judicial appointment transformed into a fight for his basic reputation.

Ford, who until now was unknown to the wider public, finds herself a lightning rod in everything from Washington power politics to the #MeToo movement of women breaking silence on decades of workplace harassment by powerful men.

Her lawyers say the professor's life has been turned upside down.

"She has been receiving death threats, which have been reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and she and her family have been forced out of their home," Ford's lawyers said in a letter published by US media.

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12 Monkeys...............
1995 ‧ Science fiction film/Thriller ‧ 2h 11m a must for AFT
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