President Donald Trump, fighting to shore up his nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court in a divided Senate, on Tuesday called sexual misconduct allegations against the judge "a con game being played by the Democrats".
His comments, made as he entered United Nations headquarters in NY, were his first since a report Sunday night on a second allegation of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh.
McConnell also said the Senate had hired a woman lawyer to do the questioning of Kavanaugh and his accuser for Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee during Thursday's hearing.
However. Ramirez said she was drunk when it happened and, according to the New York Times, recently told classmates she wasn't sure whether Kavanaugh was the student in question.
"I'm not going anywhere", he told Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum as his wife, Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, sat next to him. It might have been him, or it might have been him.
The Senate's top Republican says unconfirmed, decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh are no reason to block his Supreme Court nomination.
"They're really con artists", Trump said of Democrats.
"It's very important to take allegations of those who have come forward, to take them seriously and I think we need to go into this hearing with the view that we will listen to Dr. Ford's story, we will listen to Judge Kavanaugh's response and then we will weigh what we have heard", the Alaska Republican told a massive scrum of reporters.
Like much of America, lawmakers awaited a momentous Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in which Kavanaugh and chief accuser Christine Blasey Ford are to testify Thursday, though not together.
The House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday invited a woman who has accused Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt, a former Democratic congressman, of sexual harassment and retaliation.
He said: "The second accuser has nothing".
Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director of women's advocacy group UltraViolet, said the fact that not one but two women stepped forward is a clear indication that survivors are becoming more empowered to come out of the shadows.
In an interview Monday with Fox News, Kavanaugh said it is possible he may have met Ford. "Aided and abetted by members of the United States Senate", he said on the Senate floor.
The Supreme Court begins its annual term next Monday, October 1, at 10:00 a.m.
On Mr Kavanaugh, Mr Trump stressed: "I am with him all the way". The senator sought to draw a distinction between allegations of sexual assault and questions over alcohol consumption.
He said he is confident that Flake, along with fellow moderate Republicans Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, will vote to confirm Kavanaugh as well in the full-Senate vote.
On Sunday, The New Yorker published Ramirez's story, which took place at Yale during 1983-84.
Republicans said they were determined to push the nomination through the narrowly-divided Senate as soon as a possible, rejecting Democratic calls to freeze the process to let the FBI investigate all of the allegations.
He also questioned the political motivations of the lawyers representing the women, saying "you should look into the lawyers doing the representation".
But first Blasey Ford and now Ramirez have thrown his nomination into doubt, even though their allegations lack the support of solid, corroborating witnesses.