A Senate committee will investigate fresh allegations of sexual misconduct against supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh - claims Donald Trump dismissed on Monday as a "totally political" attempt to stop Republicans cementing a solid conservative majority on the bench.
"For people to come out of the woodwork from 36 years ago and 30 years ago and-never mentioned it, all of a sudden it happens-in my opinion, it's totally political".
One of the authors behind the latest account into accusations against Kavanaugh, Jane Mayer, told "CBS This Morning" that at a "certain point.there's things people won't say to a reporter that they might feel they need to say to the Federal Bureau of Investigation". Kavanaugh denied Ramirez's claims.
She was unsure of his role in the incident at first, but after six days of carefully assessing memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said she felt confident enough in her recollections to say she remembers it was Kavanaugh who had exposed himself. She said, point-blank, I don't want to ruin anyone's life, but she feels this is a serious claim. Senior Republican staffers also learned of the allegation last week and, in conversations with The New Yorker, expressed concern about its potential impact on Kavanaugh's nomination.
The scandal is set for a showdown in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday when Kavanaugh, who denies all the allegations, will try to clear his name and Christine Blasey Ford will testify that he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers.
Trump said: "He's a fine man with an unblemished past and these are highly unsubstantiated statements from people represented by lawyers".
For their part, Democrats say Republicans are mounting an unseemly rush to get Kavanaugh into the nine-member Supreme Court while they still control the legislature. She says he put his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream.
Ramirez, a freshman at the time, said that she was invited by a friend on the school's women's soccer team to a dorm room party at the college's Lawrence Hall, a student residence hall.
Ford's attorneys say that several requests they have made of the committee have been refused, such as calling additional witnesses who Ford remembers being at the party, and having the FBI investigate her story.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, "I am not going to shut up with all due respect". Mazie Hirono (D-HI) told CNN, "I know that Maryland has eliminated the statute of limitations for kidnapping and for sexual assault of a minor and I think that is still out there and there may be an investigation along those lines". Deborah Ramirez, 53, described the incident in an interview after being contacted by the magazine and said that Kavanaugh thrust his penis in her face and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away.