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Trump stands by Kavanaugh, supports 'a full process'

By Jeremy Diamond, CNN

(CNN) -- President Donald Trump on Monday praised Judge Brett Kavanaugh as "one of the finest people I have ever known" in his first public comments since the Supreme Court nominee was publicly accused of sexual assault, and he criticized Democrats for not releasing information about the allegation sooner.

While he heaped praise on his nominee, Trump said he supports going "through a full process" to "hear everybody out" on the matter and accepted the possibility that Kavanaugh's nomination could be delayed as a result.

"Judge Kavanaugh is one of the finest people that I've ever known. He is an outstanding intellect and outstanding judge respected by everybody. Never even had a little blemish on his record," the President said. "If it takes a little delay, it'll take a little delay. It shouldn't certainly be very much."

"I'm sure it will work out very well," Trump added.

The President also knocked Democrats for not releasing information about the sexual assault allegation sooner, noting that Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, first received information about it in June.

Trump said he had not spoken with Kavanaugh, and when asked called a reporter's question about whether Kavanaugh has offered to withdraw "ridiculous."

Kavanaugh's confirmation process has been rocked by the decision of his accuser, California professor Christine Blasey Ford, to go public with her allegation, which was first revealed anonymously last week.

Ford told The Washington Post that Kavanaugh in the early 1980s pinned her down and groped her while attempting to remove her clothes, putting his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegation.

"I think they'll go through a process and hear everybody out. I think it's important. I believe they think it's important," Trump said. "I'd like to see a complete process. I'd like everybody to be very happy."

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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