President Trump said on Wednesday that the accusations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, his Supreme Court nominee, “are all false,” but also said that he “can always be convinced” after watching the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused the judge of attempted rape.
In a rambling and combative news conference during which he lashed out against Democratic senators, Mr. Trump said that his own opinion about Judge Kavanaugh’s case is affected by the many allegations of sexual misconduct that have been leveled against him by women in the past.
“It does impact my opinion. You know why? Because I’ve had a lot of false charges made against me,” Mr. Trump said. “People want fame, they want money, they want whatever. So when I see it, I view it differently than someone sitting at home watching television.”
Speaking in New York, where he was attending the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Trump repeatedly refused to give a direct answer to whether he thought the three women who have accused Judge Kavanaugh of misconduct are liars.
He initially said that “these are all false — to me — false accusations, in certain cases.” But pressed a few minutes later, he said that “I’m going to see what happens tomorrow.”
“I’m going to be watching, you know, believe it or not,” he said. “It’s possible they will be convincing.”
“They are going to have a big shot at speaking or making their case, and you know what, I could be persuaded,” the president said.
Of course, even if he is persuaded — which he will not be — that would only make him dig in behind Kavanaugh harder. — gs
* Kaitlan Collins, Jeff Zeleny, Kevin Liptak, and Dana Bash report that the president is ready to bring his sensitivity and experience with sexual assault allegations to this debate:
Trump has grown increasingly dissatisfied with the way Brett Kavanaugh has defended himself in wake of sexual assault allegations that have threatened to derail his Supreme Court nomination, multiple sources tell CNN.
It has led the President to believe that he must personally take charge of defending his embattled nominee ahead of Thursday’s critical appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Trump made the decision to hold a news conference on the eve of the hearing, making it the fourth he has held as president.
What could possibly go wrong?
* Erica Werner and Damian Paletta report that we may not get another government shutdown:
President Trump pledged Wednesday to keep the government open as the House prepared to send him a spending bill that would avert a shutdown and fund the government through the midterm elections.
By signing the bill, Trump would avert a partial shutdown when government funding runs out Sunday night. But the president would not get the increased spending he wants for his border wall.
“We’ll keep the government open. We’re going to keep the government open,” the president told reporters during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in New York.
I guess the time for empty threats and bloviating has passed.
* Murray Waas reports that Mike Pence and other White House officials essentially had to manipulate President Trump into firing Michael Flynn, which Trump was unwilling to do, even after they discovered he had lied to the FBI about his contacts with Russians.
* John Cole makes a good point about Ted Cruz getting chased out of a restaurant the other day: These kinds of outpourings of anger are inevitable given that we have no outlet against Republican minority rule.