Trump invokes Kavanaugh to rally base in Montana
MONTANA — President Donald Trump sought at a rally Saturday to mobilize his base over the contentious confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
During his remarks in Montana, Trump dwelled extensively on Kavanaugh’s confirmation — and focused on a woman whose name and accusations had not come up publicly in a hearing to explore allegations of sexual assault and misconduct made against the judge.
In his speech, Trump referred to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s Friday referral of a woman’s previously unreported allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh for a Justice Department and FBI investigation — allegations that the woman later admitted were false, according to Grassley.
Trump used the referral to cast doubts about the allegations that other women, including Christine Blasey Ford, have made against the now-Supreme Court justice.
Trump did not draw a distinction between the Grassley referral of a woman who had received little attention and the allegations of Ford and other women who made claims to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Grassley referred Judy Munro-Leighton on Friday to the Justice Department and FBI 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’s letter to the Justice Department and FBI. 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.
“It was a made-up story,” Trump said of Munro-Leighton’s allegedly recanted allegations, 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.
Earlier Saturday, Trump wrote on Twitter: “A vicious accuser of Justice Kavanaugh has just admitted that she was lying, her story was totally made up, or FAKE! Can you imagine if he didn’t become a Justice of the Supreme Court because of her disgusting False Statements. What about the others? Where are the Dems on this?”
At the rally, Trump also attacked 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.
Kavanaugh’s appointment to the highest court was nearly derailed by several sexual assault and misconduct allegations.
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.