Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, is a potential swing vote in the nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh.
WASHINGTON — President Trump assailed the latest woman to accuse Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, saying on Tuesday that she “has nothing” because she was “messed up” at the time, even as a key Republican senator urged colleagues to take the accusations seriously.
With pressure rising in advance of a make-or-break hearing on Thursday, Mr. Trump lashed out in a more vociferous way than he has since his nominee came under fire for allegations of sexual assault, blaming Democrats for orchestrating a “con game” and targeting one of Judge Kavanaugh’s accusers in scathing, personal terms.
“The second accuser has nothing,” Mr. Trump said. “She thinks maybe it could have been him, maybe not. She admits that she was drunk. She admits time lapses. There were time lapses. This is a person, and this is a series of statements, that’s going to take one of the most talented and one of the greatest intellects from a judicial standpoint in our country, going to keep him off the United States Supreme Court?”
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican leadership said on Tuesday that it had retained an outside counsel — Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, called her a “female assistant” — to aid in Thursday’s hearing to question Judge Kavanaugh’s first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.
Rachel Mitchell, the chief of the Special Victims Division of the Maricopa County attorney’s office in Arizona, has been hired to question Dr. Blasey rather than having the 11 male Republicans grill her about the sexual assault in high school that she has described. Dr. Blasey had sought to have the senators question her rather than a lawyer.
As Mr. Trump and Republican leaders insisted that they will install Judge Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court despite the accusations, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a crucial Republican swing vote, offered a blunt warning of her own: Do not prejudge sexual assault allegations against the nominee.