United defence for accused pick for Trump top job Brett Kavanaugh

Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc Connell speaks to the 2018 Values Voters Summit in Washington on Friday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc Connell speaks to the 2018 Values Voters Summit in Washington on Friday

Patti Davis, daughter of President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Davis Reagan, has revealed that she was a victim of sexual assault in an op-ed defending Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of misconduct.

Trump's tweets came as lawyers for Ford continued negotiations with Republicans about conditions under which she might testify next week in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Grassley, who also wrote "with all the extensions we give Dr. Ford to decide if she still wants to testify to the Senate I feel like I'm playing 2nd trombone in the judiciary orchestra and Schumer is the conductor", granted Ford the extension.

Moderate GOP Senator Susan Collins of ME, whose vote is critical to Mr Kavanaugh's confirmation in a chamber controlled by Republicans 51-49, said Friday she was "appalled" by Mr Trump's tweet, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Late on Friday, an exasperated Grassley granted Ford's request for an extension to decide whether she will testify.

"I knew them both, and socialized with" the other classmate, Ford said, adding that she had once visited him in the hospital.

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During a speech to conservative activists at the Values Voters Summit in Washington on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared determined to stay the course.

"Senate Democrats rightly said that the Senate should not bully Dr. Ford ... the way to depoliticize that and ensure that is with an outside counsel", they said.

But that was before Kavanaugh's confirmation was transformed into a do-over of the 1991 Clarence Thomas hearings, which launched the Year of the Woman in 1992. Kavanaugh is a key piece of that puzzle for McConnell's legacy after he infamously blocked former President Barack Obama from filling a vacancy on the high court in 2016. Her lawyers say she has received death threats .

Ford's legal team has said she strongly prefers that her allegations are fully investigated before she testifies.

The details of the alleged assault during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County, Maryland, were carried in the Washington Post last Sunday when Prof Ford chose to go public.

"You're raising legitimate questions that are still on our mind", Grassley said, "and so these details are still being worked out". Mr Kavanaugh denies any attack occurred, and he said in a letter Thursday to Grassley, an Iowa Republican, that he was prepared to come before the panel on Monday to "clear my name" of the allegation. "This is the same man who has been credibly accused of more than a dozen cases of sexual assault or harassment".

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Looks like Grassley and Senate Republicans are exhausted of trying to look reasonable and are rushing to confirm Kavanaugh asap. "I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!" wrote Mr. Trump, who had been uncharacteristically restrained in prior days. She had hoped the meeting would be an opportunity to show him a cassette of her original songwriting, which she had hoped to turn into a career after writing a song for the Eagles.

"She needs to go first, as always, Brett then needs to respond, and then it's time to take the vote", Fleischer said. They've offered to hear her in public or private.

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

The committee's 11 Republicans - all men - have been seeking an outside female lawyer to interrogate Ms Ford.

Lisa Murkowski, whose support in the 51-49 GOP-run Senate would likely be pivotal.

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