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September 21, 2018 02:07 PM

Ivanka Trump has reportedly advised dad Donald Trump to “cut bait” and withdraw support for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, as a sexual assault allegation looms large over his confirmation proceedings.

Vanity Fair reported on the advice, and also said that Christine Blasey Ford‘s allegation against Kavanaugh has rattled Trump and the White House, according to sources.

Ford, 51, has accused Kavanaugh, 53, of sexually assaulting her at a party when they were both in high school. He has denied the allegations.

In the past, Trump has responded to allegations of sexual misconduct — including those against him — by denying everything and going on the offensive. But as Vanity Fair noted, he has been uncharacteristically cautious in his response to the Kavanaugh situation — defending the judge but mostly shying away from attacking Ford. 

“Everyone knows [Trump’s] predisposition is to punch back, but this is a different situation than an election,” a former West Wing official briefed on White House strategy discussions tells Vanity Fair.

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On Thursday, Trump — who himself denied accusations of sexual harassment or assault by several women during the 2016 presidential campaign — questioned Ford’s claims in an interview with Fox News pal Sean Hannity.

“I think it’s a very sad situation,” said Trump, 72. “He’s an outstanding person and frankly, Sean, to see what’s going on is just very, very sad. You say, why didn’t somebody call the FBI 36 years ago? When did this all happen? What’s going on? To take a man like this and besmirch?”

The president also tweeted Friday morning: “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!”

Trump has also said that Ford should testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and echoed those comments to Hannity on Thursday, saying, “Let her have her say, and let’s see how it all works out.”

Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist and professor at Palo Alto University, is reportedly negotiating the terms under which she would testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.

Ivanka Trump, 36, has not publicly commented on Ford’s allegations.

If you or someone you care about is affected by sexual violence, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

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