He has dismissed allegations from Dr Christine Blasey Ford

US President Donald Trump has described a heated Senate hearing involving Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford as "brutal" and "hard to watch".

But he's also praised the Supreme Court nominee's performance as he defended himself against allegations of sexual assault.

Mr Kavanaugh claims he never sexually assaulted anyone - while Prof Ford gave a harrowing account of the alleged incident.

Mr Trump 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".

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

He claimed 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.

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.

Dr Christine Blasey Ford

She said she feared for her life during the alleged incident.

Dr Ford said the weeks since coming forward with the allegations have been the hardest of her life.

"I have had to relive this trauma in front of the world and I have seen my life picked apart by people on television and on Twitter."

She noted: "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 to receive and have rocked me to my core."

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh

 Mr Kavanaugh broke down as he said his reputation had been "totally and permanently destroyed" by the allegations.

Describing the allegations as a "grotesque and calculated character assassination," he said he was not even at the house party in question – although Dr Ford never specified a date for the incident.

"This has destroyed my family and my good name," he said. "A good name built up through decades of public service at the highest levels of the American government.

"This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit."

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