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Donald Trump has backed his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh following the judge's emphatic denial of sexual assault allegations.

The US president praised Mr Kavanaugh for his "powerful, honest and riveting" evidence to the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying he had "showed America exactly why I nominated him".

In a dramatic hearing, Mr Kavanaugh insisted he was innocent of claims he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford at a 1980s high school gathering.

He claimed that Democrats were engaged in "a calculated and orchestrated political hit" against him.

Dr Ford, a university professor, had earlier told the committee she feared Mr Kavanaugh would rape and accidentally kill her during the alleged assault at a house in Maryland in 1982, when she was 15 and he was 17.

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Video: Christine Blasey Ford says she is 'haunted' by the alleged assault

She said she "100%" certain a drunken Mr Kavanaugh had pinned her to a bed, tried to remove her clothes and clapped a hand over her mouth as she tried to yell for help.

She also described "uproarious laughter" by Mr Kavanaugh and his friend, whom she said was also involved in the alleged incident in a locked bedroom.

Fighting back tears, Dr Ford told the hearing: "The details about that night that bring me here today are the ones I'll never forget. They have been seared into my memory and have haunted me episodically as a result."

Professor Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh
Image: Dr Ford said she is '100%' certain Mr Kavanaugh assaulted her

Describing the impact of going public with her allegations, she added: "My family and I have been the target of constant harassment and death threats. I have been called the most vile and hateful names imaginable.

"These messages, while far fewer than the expressions of support, have been terrifying and have rocked me to my core. My family and I were forced to move out of our home."

Dr Ford, 51, also denied she had political motivations for coming forward with her claims, saying she was "no one's pawn".

In his own evidence, Mr Kavanaugh described the hearing as a "circus" and said he had faced a "grotesque and coordinated character assassination".

Brett Kavanaugh fought back tears during parts of his evidence
Image: Brett Kavanaugh fought back tears during parts of his evidence

"I categorically and unequivocally deny the allegation by Dr Ford," he said.

"I've never sexually assaulted anyone, not in high school, not in college, not ever. I am innocent of this charge."

Mr Kavanaugh fought back tears as he told the hearing his 10-year-old daughter had said their family should pray for his accuser.

"My family has been destroyed by this," he said.

Mr Kavanaugh – a judge on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals – said he would not be "intimidated" into withdrawing his candidacy for the Supreme Court, describing the confirmation process as a "national disgrace".

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Video: Republican senator claims Democrats want to 'destroy' Brett Kavanaugh's life

"This whole two-week effort have been a calculated and orchestrated political hit fuelled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election," he said.

Mr Trump watched the hearing on-board Air Force One as he returned to Washington from the United Nations, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

As the hearing ended, Mr Trump tweeted: "Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him.

"His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats' search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!"

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Video: Trump dismisses sex assault allegations as a 'big fat con job'

Other women have accused Mr Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

Deborah Ramirez told The New Yorker magazine that Mr Kavanaugh exposed himself to her in college, while Julie Swetnick claims to have witnessed him be "abusive and physically aggressive" towards young women

Mr Kavanaugh denies the allegations.

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The Senate Judiciary Committee, which has 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats, is due to vote on Mr Kavanaugh's nomination on Friday.

If approved, it would go to the full Senate for a vote, where Republicans hold a slim 51-49 edge.

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