Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘I’m a victim of sexual assault’, says White House senior aide

‘I’m a victim of sexual assault’, says White House senior aide

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway attends an announcement by US President Donald Trump on a grant for drug-free communities support program in the White House in Washington, DC on Saturday. MANDEL NGAN/AFP

‘I’m a victim of sexual assault’, says White House senior aide

US President Donald Trump hit back Sunday at suggestions his administration is trying to “micromanage” the FBI investigation of controversial Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, accusing opposition Democrats of being interested only in obstruction.

Trump on Friday had ordered the new FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, as the Senate delayed a final vote on his confirmation as the key ninth member of the Supreme Court.

The delay followed a dramatic televised Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at which university professor Christine Blasey Ford accused the judge of pinning her down and assaulting her in the 1980s. Kavanaugh vigorously denied the allegations.

“Wow! Just starting to hear the Democrats, who are only thinking Obstruct and Delay, are starting to put out the word that the ‘time’ and ‘scope’ of FBI looking into Judge Kavanaugh and witnesses is not enough,” the president tweeted. “Hello! For them, it will never be enough.”

Both the New York Times and NBC News have cited multiple sources as saying the White House was limiting the witnesses the FBI could question during a one-week background check.

Trump insisted on Twitter that the FBI had “free rein” to pursue the matter as it saw fit.

But Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee appear unconvinced.

“The White House and the FBI should release details on the scope of the Kavanaugh background investigation and keep Congress informed on any changes,” Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee’s ranking Democrat, tweeted on Sunday.

The Times said the FBI would question four witnesses, according to two people familiar with the matter. The list, reportedly drafted by Senate Republicans, did not include former classmates who contradicted Kavanaugh’s testimony about the extent of his youthful drinking and partying.

The Times also reported Sunday that a Yale University classmate of Kavanaugh has accused him of a “blatant mischaracterisation” of his drinking, which the judge downplayed in the Senate hearing.

NBC meanwhile said the FBI was not being allowed to investigate claims by Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct at drink-fueled parties in his student days.

In a separate report, NBC quoted a senior US official and a second source as saying the limits imposed by the White House on the inquiry remained in place, despite Trump’s tweet.

The bureau has, however, contacted Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s who has said he was sexually aggressive toward her at a party, The Washington Post reported.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee, told CNN that she was “very concerned” by the reported White House constraints on the inquiry.

“The White House should not be allowed to micromanage an FBI investigation,” she said. “We have to allow them to go ahead.”

Stunning revelation

Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders insisted that the White House was staying “out of the way”, but also said the inquiry should not be allowed to become a “total fishing expedition” by the FBI.

Asked on Fox News Sunday whether the White House had given the FBI a list of permitted witnesses, she replied, “Not that I’m aware of.”

“The White House isn’t intervening, we are not micromanaging this process,” she said.

Ford’s testimony engendered expressions of deep sympathy from many viewers, and scores of women shared accounts on social media of having been victims of sexual aggression.

The recent events also drew a stunning revelation Sunday from one of Trump’s own senior advisers, Kellyanne Conway.

While discussing the case on CNN, she said “I feel very empathetic, frankly, towards victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment and rape.”

Continuing after a brief, somber pause, she said, “I’m a victim of sexual assault.”

She then added that it was unfair to condemn Kavanaugh for an alleged action 36 years ago that could not be confirmed.

While the White House has denied setting limits on the FBI inquiry, Norman Eisen, who was special counsel for ethics under President Barack Obama, tweeted that it would be highly unusual if it were to do so.

“I dealt with hundreds of these as WH Ethics Czar & it is malpracticefor WH to rule out Swetnick, Yale boozing” and more, he tweeted. “I call cover-up.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Crumbling prices, rent ruffle condo segment

    The prolonged decline in international arrivals to Cambodia intensified by renewed Covid-19 fears has driven down condominium sales prices and rental rates in Phnom Penh, a research report said. CBRE Cambodia, the local affiliate of US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures

  • More than 10,000 workers suspended

    More than 10,000 workers at 18 factories in Svay Rieng province have been suspended because of Covid-19, said provincial deputy governor Ros Pharith. Home to 11 special economic zones, Pharith said Svay Rieng has not been spared as the pandemic takes a toll on the global economy. “There

  • Nod given for school exams

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport announced that State-run higher educational institutions can hold examinations to end the academic year, while private schools can organise grade 9 and grade 12 examinations at their premises for two days. However, private institutions have to take measures to prevent

  • Oz lauds Kingdom’s passage of money laundering laws

    In a press release published by the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh on Monday, the country applauded Cambodia’s stance on transnational crimes as well as its promulgation of an anti-money laundering law and a law on combating proliferation financing. The praise came after King

  • Lotus face masks designed to cover globe

    A French designer in Cambodia has produced ecological face masks from lotus fibre to supply local and international markets with an eye on preserving ancestral techniques and supporting Cambodian women in rural communities. During a trip to Asia, Awen Delaval, an eco-friendly fashion designer, was

  • Accused not treated equally, says CCHR

    The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has urged the Court of Appeal to do more to ensure that an accused’s right to a fair trial is fully respected. In a bulletin released on Monday, the CCHR said it had monitored 273 cases at the

  • Fish, frogs to boost local food supply

    The government has disbursed more than $4.5 million to boost aquaculture production and domestic market supply amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon told The Post on Monday that in boosting agricultural production, the ministry has received financing from development partners

  • Planning ministry hands out cash to 420,000 poor families in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Planning has identified 20,000 more poor families in the country, bringing the total to over 580,000, while over 420,000 of them have received the government’s cash assistance. In the meantime, many social security cards from families not deemed to be poor have been revoked.

  • Nature in focus at inaugural film and photo festival

    The first Cambodian Wildlife Photo and Film Festival – an event celebrating the conservation of nature through the eyes of wildlife photographers, nature enthusiasts and conservation experts – is scheduled for July 18-26 at Fauna in Focus’ Nature Discovery Centre in Siem Reap. The festival will be