WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump challenged the accuser of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for the first time on Friday, questioning her credibility and demanding she provide evidence that he sexually assaulted her when they were both teenagers.
In a series of tweets, Trump defended the conservative Kavanaugh as under assault by "radical left wing politicians" seeking to "destroy and delay" his confirmation as a Supreme Court justice.
Christine Blasey Ford, a college professor, alleges that Kavanaugh drunkenly assaulted her at a party when he was 17, she was 15, and they were attending private schools outside Washington in the 1980s.
"I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents," Trump tweeted.
"I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!"
Kavanaugh denies knowledge of any such assault and wants to give his side of the story at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday.
Ford's lawyers told the committee she refuses to appear on Monday, calling the date set by Republicans "arbitrary," according to multiple US news reports.
"The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW. Why didn't someone call the FBI 36 years ago?" Trump asked.
Ford's lawyers and numerous opposition Democrats have repeatedly called for the FBI to open a probe.
Trump has rejected ordering FBI involvement, but he has also called for her to "have her say."
His Republican party accuses the Democrats of using Ford as a last-minute spoiler to try and wreck Kavanaugh's path to the highest court, where he would tilt the bench firmly to the right for possibly years to come.
On Friday, Trump also accused Democrats of seeking to destroy Kavanaugh, the latest salvo in a bitterly partisan debate over the sex assault allegations against Kavanaugh.
"Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a fine man, with an impeccable reputation, who is under assault by radical left wing politicians who don't want to know the answers, they just want to destroy and delay," Trump said in a tweet.
"Facts don't matter," added Trump, who himself faces regular accusations of twisting the truth.
Democrats, hoping to retake control of Congress from Republicans in November elections, call the Senate hearing plans rushed.