Brett Kavanaugh: Trump defends judge amid new misconduct claim

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Image caption,
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed a year ago

US President Donald Trump has angrily defended Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who is facing a fresh allegation of sexual misconduct.

A former university classmate of Justice Kavanaugh's has said he exposed himself at a student party.

Mr Trump condemned the media and Democrats, saying the top judge was the victim of "False Accusations".

He suggested Justice Kavanaugh should sue for libel - or that the US justice department should "rescue" him.

Justice Kavanaugh denied sexual misconduct accusations that were made against him by two women during his confirmation to the Supreme Court a year ago.

Media caption,
Emotional testimonies by Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh

Christine Blasey Ford testified before Congress that he had sexually assaulted her in the 1980s, while Deborah Ramirez told The New Yorker magazine that he had waved his penis in front of her face at a 1980s dormitory party.

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They were made by Max Stier, who was at Yale University with Justice Kavanaugh and now runs a non-profit organisation in Washington DC.

Mr Stier said he had seen his former classmate "with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student".

The New York Times later posted an update to its report, saying the woman who was said to have been involved declined to be interviewed and friends said she did not recall the incident.

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The Times also apologised for a tweet it posted on Sunday that said having male genitals thrust in one's face at a student party "may seem like harmless fun". The posting caused offence among Twitter users who felt it made light of sexual assault.

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Democrats have called for the judge to be investigated.

Senator Amy Klobouchar, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who was involved in a tetchy exchange with Justice Kavanaugh during his confirmation, described the process as a "sham".

"I strongly opposed him based on his views on executive power, which will continue to haunt our country, as well as how he behaved, including the allegations that we are hearing more about today," she told ABC.

Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, both 2020 presidential hopefuls, have called for impeaching Justice Kavanaugh in light of the new claim.

But the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, told WNYC News on Monday that the committee had "our hands full with impeaching the president right now".

Republican Senator Ted Cruz said the new allegation was a result of "the obsession with the far left with trying to smear Justice Kavanaugh by going 30 years back with anonymous sources".

The new allegation has seen Maine Republican Susan Collins, who is up for re-election next year, come under fire again for her support of Justice Kavanaugh.

Her Democratic opponent, Sara Gideon, shared a photo of the senator and the judge, tweeting Ms Collins "puts Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell ahead of Mainers".