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Trump mocks Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony

Media captionMr Trump cast doubt on Prof Ford’s credibility

President Trump has mocked the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at a rally in Mississippi.

“What neighbourhood was it in? I don’t know,” Mr Trump said. “But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember. And a man’s life is in tatters.”

Days earlier he said Prof Ford was a “credible” and “compelling” witness.

Prof Ford told a Senate committee that Mr Kavanaugh assaulted her as a teenager. He denies this.

Mr Trump has ordered the FBI to examine the claims.

However Prof Ford’s lawyers say the FBI have not yet spoken to her and say it is “inconceivable” that the agency could conduct a thorough investigation without interviewing her.

The FBI investigation is due to be completed by Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has demanded that the Senate vote on confirming Mr Kavanaugh this week.

What did Mr Trump say?

He told supporters in the town of Southhaven that his opponents had been “trying to destroy Judge Kavanaugh since the very first second he was announced”.

He then launched into his mockery of Prof Ford’s testimony, saying that she appeared not to remember basic details about the evening the alleged assault took place.

Media caption‘Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me yelling’

The audience laughed as the president said: “Thirty-six years ago this happened: I had one beer! Well, you think it was…? Nope! It was one beer.

“Oh, good. How’d you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where was the place? I don’t remember.

“How many years ago was it? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know! I don’t know! What neighbourhood was it in? I don’t know.

“Where’s the house? I don’t know! Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don’t know! But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember. And a man’s life is in tatters.”

It contrasts with the reaction he gave shortly after Prof Ford’s dramatic testimony to the Senate committee, when he said her testimony was “very compelling” and described her as a “very fine woman”.

Media captionTrump: ‘Ford’s testimony was very compelling’

Earlier on Tuesday Mr Trump reiterated his support for Mr Kavanaugh on Tuesday, saying he believed the Senate would approve the judge. He told reporters that it was a “very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of”.

Who has the FBI spoken to?

Investigators have spoken to the key witness to the alleged assault on Prof Ford, Mr Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge. Prof Ford alleges that Mr Judge also took part in the assault at a high school party in 1982.

Mr Judge has denied any memory of the incident.

The agency has also spoken to the judge’s Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez, who alleges that he exposed his genitals in her face during a drinking game at Yale university.

Reuters reported that investigators spoke to Ms Ramirez for more than two hours on Sunday and she provided a list of more than 20 possible witnesses.

However Prof Ford’s lawyers say they have had no contact from the FBI despite having tried to get in touch with them.

They said the agency had not responded to the offer to interview Prof Ford, or “a series of emails and letters in which we identified witnesses and evidence that would likely assist the FBI”.

At least three other people who knew Mr Kavanaugh from his time at Yale have tried unsuccessfully to contact the FBI about the claims against him, Reuters reported.

The White House has blocked the FBI from speaking to a third woman, Julie Swetnick, who alleges Judge Kavanaugh was involved in the drugging and sexual assault of girls at house parties in the 1980s.

In a statement, the judge said he did not know the accuser, Julie Swetnick, and her allegations “never happened”.

Media captionKavanaugh: “The Swetnick thing is a joke”

Some reports have suggeste that the FBI could wind up its investigation well before the deadline of this Friday.

Citing unnamed Republican aides, the Wall Street Journal reported that the bureau could finish “as soon as” Wednesday.

What will happen to the FBI report?

The FBI will pass its findings to the White House, which will give them to the Senate. The contents are not expected to be made public.

Senators will then vote on whether to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused Democrats of trying to derail the nomination on Monday, declaring: “The time for endless delay and obstruction has come to a close.”

Mr McConnell did not specify when exactly the vote would be held, but it is expected to be on Friday or Saturday.

Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has said Friday would be too soon. She argued that senators need more time to evaluate the FBI’s findings.

What’s likely to happen at the Senate vote?

The vote is expected to take place on Friday – the deadline for the FBI to finish its inquiry – or the following day.

The Republican party’s narrow 51-49 majority means if all Democratic senators vote against the nominee, Republicans can only afford one defection.

In that instance, Vice-President Mike Pence has the casting vote, and would go in Judge Kavanaugh’s favour.

The FBI investigation was launched at the urging of Republican Senators Jeff Flake, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.

Trump mocks Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony

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