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'A very scary time for young men in America,' Donald Trump says


Donald Trump says now is a "scary time for young men", given they could become subject of false accusations of misconduct.

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday the reaction to decades-old allegations of sexual assault against his Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh makes it "a very scary time" for young men in the United States.

His remarks came as he responded to questions about allegations against the conservative jurist by three women who say Kavanaugh drunkenly sexually abused or harassed them when they were students in the 1980s.

"It's a very scary time for young men in America, where you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of," Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House.

Trump said Kavanaugh -- who denies the allegations and is adamant he did not drink to the point of blacking out, despite enjoying beer in his younger years -- has been treated unfairly.

"My whole life, I've heard you're innocent until proven guilty. But now you're guilty until proven innocent," Trump said.

When asked by a Yahoo reporter Hunter Walker to provide a message to young women, the president replied: "Women are doing great". 

His comments came as text messages from Mr Kavanaugh’s former Yale classmates reportedly show that the judge did lie when asked if he had prior knowledge about a second woman’s sexual misconduct claims.

NBC News reported that one of the classmates, Kerry Berchem, told the FBI that the texts showed Mr Kavanaugh “and/or” his friends “may have initiated an anticipatory narrative” to “conceal or discredit” Deborah Ramirez as early as July — two months before the New Yorker story was published.

The other classmate, Karen Yarasavage reportedly told Ms Berchem in a text message that Mr Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record to refute Ms Ramirez’s claims.

Last week, Mr Kavanaugh emphatically denied Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that he sexually assaulted her at a gathering when they were teens.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing
Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing

He has also denied an accusation from Ms Ramirez, who said he exposed himself to her at a dorm party more than 25 years ago.

A third claim — from Julie Swetnick, who is represented by Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti — accuses Mr Kavanaugh of excessive drinking and inappropriate treatment of women at parties in the early 1980s. Mr Kavanaugh denies that as well.

Former classmates have stepped forward to challenge Mr Kavanaugh’s testimony about his drinking.

Charles “Chad” Ludington, who said he was a friend of Mr Kavanaugh’s at Yale University and now teaches at North Carolina State University, called Mr Kavanaugh “a frequent drinker, and a heavy drinker.”

Lynne Brookes, who said she moved in “the exact same social circles” as Mr Kavanaugh, said “when he would drink, he would get obnoxious.”

Christine Blasey Ford testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
Christine Blasey Ford testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill.

Ms Brookes said she remembered the night he was pledging to a fraternity.

“Brett was getting tapped in and he was incredibly drunk, in a ridiculous outfit and had to come up to me and sing a silly song,” she said. “He was so incredibly drunk. I find it not plausible at all that he remembers everything he did that night.”

But the White House released statements from two other Yale classmates who said they never saw Kavanaugh black out or treat women with disrespect.

It came as the FBI finished interviewing Mark Judge, the friend of Mr Kavanaugh’s who Dr Ford says was present when the Supreme Court nominee sexually assaulted her.

Mark Judge, who has denied any wrongdoing, completed his interview with FBI agents as part of the reopened background investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh, said his lawyer, Barbara “Biz” Van Gelder.

She declined to say exactly when it ended or what Mr Judge was asked. She had said Monday night that the interview was not completed.

Mr Kavanaugh’s confirmation hinges on a handful of key Republican and Democratic senators who have not yet fully tipped their votes.

One of them is Republican Jeff Flake of Arizona, who was greeted by hundreds of liberal protesters, victims of sexual assault among them, during an appearance on Monday in Boston.

Sen. Flake and Senators. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were instrumental last week in holding up Mr Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote.

The votes of the three Republicans and those of red-state Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota will largely determine whether Mr Kavanaugh is confirmed.

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