U.S. President Donald Trump defended his nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday call sexual misconduct allegations against the judge "a con game being played by the Democrats."
The Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee is hiring of "an expert sex crimes prosecutor" to cross-examine the nominee's accusers of sexual misconduct, including psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford at a Thursday hearing.
In a break from convention, this outside, unnamed lawyer will question Ford and Kavanaugh on behalf of the committee's 11 white Republican male senators would typically do the questioning.
The Republican-led Senate plans to vote on the nomination of the conservative federal appeals court judge possibly as soon as Tuesday of next week.
"We're going to be moving forward," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters. "I'm confident we're going to win, confident that he'll be confirmed in the very near future."
Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University is accusing Kavanaugh of trying to rape her in 1982 when both were high school students in Maryland. A second woman, Deborah Ramirez says that the nominee put his penis in her face during a dormitory party while they were both Yale University students in 1983. A third, anonymous woman will also testify on Thursday against Kavanaugh for sexual misconduct while she was a student at the same Georgetown prep school.
Kavanaugh has denied the first two allegations but has yet to comment on the most recent accusations of the third possible victim.
Trump said of Ford's allegation: "Oh, gee, let's not make him a Supreme Court judge because of that? This is a con game being played by the Democrats," Trump added.
The Senate battle over Kavanaugh comes just weeks before Nov. 6 congressional elections in which Democrats are trying to take control of Congress. Republicans currently hold a slim 51-49 Senate majority.
Kavanaugh and his Republican allies have framed the allegations as part of a "smear campaign" by Democrats who have opposed the conservative’s nomination from the beginning.
Republican Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski said on Tuesday: "We have kind of moved beyond the qualifications of the nominee, and it has become more about whether or not women who have been subject to any form of assault, violence, intimidation are to (be) believed."
Dozens of people heckled Senator Ted Cruz out of a Washington restaurant on Tuesday, chanting: “We believe survivors.”
On Monday hundreds of protesters were gathered at the Hart Senate Building in Washington, D.C. many of whom gave their stories of sexual abuse with the aids of several Republican senators including Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan Collins of Maine.
In a Fox News interview that aired on Monday night, Kavanaugh said: "I think all of us have probably done things we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit, but that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about an allegation of sexual assault. I've never sexually assaulted anyone," Kavanaugh said in the interview who was joined by his wife.
"I'm a good person," added the accused.