The White House on Wednesday stood by President Donald Trump's mocking impression of Christine Blasey Ford, with press secretary Sarah Sanders defending it as "stating the facts." She also accused Senate Democrats of "exploiting" her, even as key Republican senators admonished Trump over his comments.
Sanders insisted Trump was simply "stating the facts" during his rally Tuesday night when he launched into a mocking impression of Ford's testimony before Congress in which she accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
Sanders instead sought to turn the tables on Democrats, accusing them of tarnishing the judicial confirmation process to the detriment of both Ford and Kavanaugh.
"I think both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh are victims at the hands of the Democrats," she said. "I think it is absolutely disgraceful what they've done and exploiting this process. They've exploited Dr. Ford, they're exploiting all of the women that have come out to make any type of accusation. This isn't the process that should've been done and certainly everybody deserves to be heard; but that includes Judge Kavanaugh."
Sanders sought to bolster Trump's claims about Ford's testimony by pointing to a report compiled by the prosecutor Senate Republicans tapped to question Ford during her testimony before Congress last week. That prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, complied a multi-page report that questioned Ford's credibility, even though Mitchell said her questioning of Ford during the Senate hearing was imperfect and not the best way to ascertain the truth about her allegations.
At a rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night, Trump delivered an impression of Ford's testimony before Congress, mocking her for not remembering details about the night she claims she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh.
"I had one beer. Well, do you think it was -- nope, it was one beer. How did you get home? I don't remember. How'd you get there? I don't remember. Where is the place? I don't remember. How many years ago was it? I don't know," Trump said, drawing laughter and applause from the crowd. "I don't know, I don't know."
Ford did not recall some details about how she arrived at the party where she says Kavanaugh assaulted her nor how she got home after she says she fled the house, but offered a vivid recollection of the alleged assault itself.
But Trump also accused Ford of not remembering details that she recalled confidently, suggesting she did not remember where in the house the assault took place and had no recollection of the general time period or area when and where it occurred.
"The President was stating the facts," Sanders said on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the President, offered a similar take.
"The woman has been accommodated by all of us, including Senate Judiciary Committee," Conway told reporters. "She's been treated like a Faberge egg by all of us, beginning with me and the President. He's pointing out factual inconsistencies."
Trump and White House officials have repeatedly offered contradictory statements about Ford, at times calling her "credible" and describing her as a "victim" while also seeking to undermine the credibility of her allegation against Kavanaugh.
Sanders made clear on Wednesday that Trump continues to support Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court.
The FBI is continuing to conduct a supplemental background investigation into the allegations leveled against the judge, but the law enforcement agency has yet to interview Ford or Kavanaugh.
Responding to a report that the FBI has not conducted those interviews because of a lack of authorization from the White House, Sanders said Trump has "indicated that whoever the FBI deems necessary to interview, he's fine with that."
But she also said Trump believes the Senate should be the ones "to determine" the scope of the FBI investigation.
Sanders also pointed out that both Kavanaugh and Ford "were questioned in the most public way possible by the members of the Senate who ultimately have to make the determination."
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