Associated Press

Trump Says He Feels 'So Badly' for Kavanaugh

September 18, 2018 - 12:25 pm

(CBS News) -- President Trump, in a joint press conference with Poland's President Andrzej Duda, said he feels "so bad" and "terribly" for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of assaulting a woman when they were both in high school. 

"I feel so badly for him that he's going through this to be honest with you, I feel so badly for him," the president said. "This is not a man that deserves this. This should have been brought up before, it should have been brought up long before."

Mr. Trump added that he feels "terribly" for Kavanaugh. The president said he would not oppose the FBI opening an investigation into Kavanaugh, but said that's not what the FBI does. The FBI has told CBS News it referred the allegation against Kavanaugh to Kavanaugh's background file, but has not opened any probe. 

"It wouldn't bother me other than the FBI said they really don't do that," Mr. Trump said. 

Kavanaugh and Christine Ford, the woman accusing Kavanaugh of assaulting her in high school, have been invited to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday. Mr. Trump's comments about the FBI and Kavanaugh came after, earlier in the day in his meeting with Duda, Mr. Trump said the FBI probably shouldn't be involved because they don't want to be. 

"I don't think the FBI really should be involved, because they don't want to be involved," the president said earlier Tuesday. "If they wanted to be, I would certainly do that, but as you know they say this is not really their thing. Politically speaking, the senators will do a very good job, the senators will open it up, they'll do a terrific job."

Mr. Trump, who said he has not spoken Kavanaugh because he doesn't think that would be a good idea, reiterated his support for his nominee. 

"He is an incredible man, he's an incredible intellect ... but we feel that we want to go through a process, we want to hear both sides," the president added. 

Asked if the Kavanaugh situation is all politics, Mr. Trump declined to say, but said he might talk more in a few days. 

The joint press conference also comes after Mr. Trump announced another round of tariffs on Chinese goods and China retaliated with its own new round of tariffs. Mr. Trump on Monday also ordered the declassification of a slew of key Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act (FISA) documents as requested by Republicans. 

Duda has been Poland's president since 2015. Duda, according to the Polish government's website, said he expects to speak with Mr. Trump about the recent Three Seas Initiative, a summit of European Union countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Mr. Trump spoke at the summit in Warsaw, Poland, last year.  

"I think that President Trump will want to hear from me about what happened today, because he was very interested in the Three Seas Initiative and, after all, he attended the Three Seas summit in Warsaw last year precisely because he liked very much that we are cooperating with each other, that we are together, that we are showing unity and that there are opportunities for development," Duda said, according to the Polish government.