White House press secretary Sarah Sanders lambasted Senate Democrats for their handling of allegations of sexual misconduct lodged against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, calling it a “complete and total disgrace.”
“One thing is clear, Democrats want to block Kavanaugh and hold the seat open until the 2020 election,” Sanders told reporters during Wednesday’s White House press briefing. “This is about politics and this is about power, pure and simple. And they have destroyed Judge Kavanaugh's reputation, undermined Dr. Ford's privacy, and tried to upend our tradition of innocence until proven guilty in the process."
[Click here for complete Kavanaugh coverage]
Christine Blasey Ford, a professor who lives in California, accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a gathering at a house in the Maryland suburbs in 1982.
Kavanaugh, however, has unequivocally denied the allegation.
Ford and Kavanaugh both testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week after Ford spoke publicly about her claim. Then on Friday, the White House authorized the FBI to re-open its background investigation into Kavanaugh.
Since then, the FBI has interviewed a number of people, including three who Ford said were at the gathering where the assault allegedly occurred.
While President Trump initially said Ford was a "credible witness" whose testimony was "compelling," he has come under fire for comments he made about Ford's appearance before the committee during a rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night. Trump also mocked Ford at the rally for not remembering details of the alleged assault.
Sanders told reporters, though, that Trump was “stating facts” from Ford’s own testimony, as well as from a memo drafted by Rachel Mitchell, a prosecutor hired by Senate Republicans to question Ford and Kavanaugh during last week’s hearing.
[Opinion: Rachel Mitchell's memo is damaging to Christine Blasey Ford's case against Brett Kavanaugh]
In her report, provided to Republican senators, Mitchell said she didn't believe "a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee."
“Every single word Judge Kavanaugh has said has been picked apart, every single word. Second by second of his testimony has been picked apart. Yet if anybody says anything about the accusations that have been thrown against him, that is totally off-limits and outrageous,” Sanders said. “This entire process has been a disgrace and the only reason that it has been that way is because Senate Democrats didn’t do this the way it should’ve been done and they circumvented the entire system and frankly they have undermined our entire judicial branch by the way that they have acted and the inappropriateness of which they’ve conducted themselves.”
Sanders reiterated that the testimony from Ford was “compelling,” but said senators shouldn’t make a decision on whether to confirm Kavanaugh “based on emotion.”
Trump, she continued, believes his Supreme Court nominee should be confirmed by the Senate.
“I think both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh are victims at the hands of the Democrats,” Sanders said. “I think it is absolutely disgraceful what they have done and exploited this process. They exploited Dr. Ford. They’re exploiting all of the women that have come out to make any type of accusation.”