One of President Donald Trump's senior advisers has referred to her own experience of being a victim of a sexual assault while defending the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

Kellyanne Conway said she had been a victim of sexual assault during an interview with CNN while discussing the FBI's investigation into Mr Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual assault and sexual misconduct by three women.

"I feel very empathetic, frankly, towards victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment and rape," Ms Conway said.

Continuing after a brief pause, she added: "I'm a victim of sexual assault."

The 51-year-old has previously hinted that she was molested by a congressman in the past but has given no further details.

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She said that women who survive such experiences should be heard, but that it was unfair to condemn Mr Kavanaugh for an alleged action 36 years ago that could not be confirmed.

Ms Conway denied accusations that the White House is "micromanaging" the investigation into Mr Kavanaugh's background.

She insisted it will be "limited in scope" and "will not be a fishing expedition".

"The FBI is not tasked to do that," she added.

Mr Trump ordered the new FBI investigation on Friday, as the Senate delayed a final vote on Mr Kavanaugh's confirmation as the key ninth member of the Supreme Court.

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The delay followed a dramatic televised Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at which university professor Christine Blasey Ford accused the federal appeals court judge of assaulting her in the 1980s.

Mr Kavanaugh has denied all the allegations made against him.

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