President Donald Trump on Saturday attempted to cast renewed doubt on sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh by pointing to the recantation of one little-known accuser.
The woman, Judy Munro-Leighton, falsely claimed to have authored a "Jane Doe" letter stating that Kavanaugh and a friend raped her "several times" in the back seat of a car, which the judge denies.
The true author of the letter remains unknown, and the claim was not widely reported on during the September confirmation hearings.
"A vicious accuser of Justice Kavanaugh has just admitted that she was lying, her story was totally made up, or FAKE!" Trump said in a tweet after initially misspelling the judge's name.
"Can you imagine if he didn't become a Justice of the Supreme Court because of her disgusting False Statements," the president continued.
He added: "What about the others? Where are the Dems on this?"
The Senate approved the justice in an extremely tight vote Oct. 6, and Trump has leaned on Kavanaugh's successful confirmation to win favor with his base, referencing the controversy at numerous campaign rallies ahead of Tuesday's hotly contested midterm elections.
Postmarked Sept. 19 from San Diego, the handwritten letter was mailed to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) after Christine Blasey Ford came forward with her story about Kavanaugh earlier that month. Kavanaugh called the letter's contents a "crock" and a "farce" in sworn testimony during a Sept. 26 conference call with senators.
Ford, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27, stands by her assertion that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school gathering in the 1980s.
Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley referred Munro-Leighton to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray for investigation in a letter dated Friday.
According to Grassley, committee staff received an email from Munro-Leighton on Oct. 3 in which she claimed to be the letter's author but was "deathly afraid" of going public.
When committee staff eventually spoke with Munro-Leighton, she recanted, saying she only sent the email "as a way to grab attention" because she felt angry.
Investigators found that she lived in Kentucky, not California. She told them she had never met Kavanaugh.
Munro-Leighton is the fourth person Grassley has referred to federal prosecutors for investigation over the Kavanaugh hearings. Julie Swetnick, who says Kavanaugh attended parties where women were gang-raped, and her attorney, Michael Avenatti, were referred in late October. A man who has not been publicly identified was referred in late September.
Another woman, Deborah Ramirez, who maintains that Kavanaugh once thrust his penis in her face at a Yale party, never directly spoke with committee members.