US President Donald Trump has said it was okay with him if the Senate confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is briefly delayed to allow a woman accusing him of sexual assault to be heard.
"If it takes a little delay, it'll take a little delay," Mr Trump told reporters in the White House Roosevelt Room.
However Mr Trump said he believed his pick's nomination remained on track and he has full confidence in his nominee, who he said has "never even had a little blemish on his record."
"We want to go through a full process ... and hear everybody out," M rTrump said.
He said he wished Democrats had brought up the accusations against Mr Kavanaugh sooner.
Mr Kavanaugh has called the allegation that he sexually assaulted a woman her 36 years ago "completely false".
A lawyer said the accuser is willing to publicly testify before a Senate panel that is scheduled to vote this week on his nomination.
The conservative appeals court judge was chosen by Mr Trump in July for a lifetime job on the top US court.
In a day of fast-moving developments, all ten Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee overseeing the confirmation process sent a letter urging a delay in Thursday's planned vote so the FBI can investigate the allegation.
Republican Senator Susan Collins, whose vote could be pivotal in deciding whether Mr Kavanaugh gets confirmed, said on Twitter the nominee and his accuser should both testify under oath before the committee.
Christine Blasey Ford, a university professor in California, has accused Mr Kavanaugh of trying to attack her and remove her clothing in 1982 when they were both high school students in a Maryland suburb outside Washington.
"This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes - to her or to anyone," Mr Kavanaugh said in a statement issued by the White House.
"Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday," added Mr Kavanaugh.
He said he was willing to talk to the Judiciary Committee in any way it deems appropriate "to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity".
Mr Kavanaugh, whose statement was his second denying the allegation but the first since Ms Ford was publicly identified as his accuser, was at the White House on Monday morning, a White House official said.
Ms Ford's accusation has significantly complicated his nomination, which must be approved first by the Judiciary Committee and then by the full chamber, which is narrowly controlled by Mr Trump's fellow Republicans.
The high-stakes confirmation fight comes just weeks before the 6 November congressional elections in which Democrats are seeking to take control of Congress from Republicans.
White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said sworn testimony from both Mr Kavanaugh and Ms Ford on the specific allegation should be considered as part of the record in the judge's hearings.
"This woman should not be insulted and she should not be ignored," Ms Conway said told Fox News.
In television interviews early today, Ms Ford's Washington-based lawyer, Debra Katz, said her client would be willing to speak out publicly.
Asked if that included testimony under oath at a public hearing before senators, Ms Katz told the CBS "This Morning" programme: "She's willing to do what she needs to do."
Ms Katz's comments suggested any public hearing, however, could be explosive.
Ms Ford, now a California professor, believes Mr Kavanaugh's alleged actions were "attempted rape" and "that if it were not for the severe intoxication of Brett Kavanaugh, she would have been raped," Ms Katz told NBC's "Today" programme.
Ms Katz told CBS that Ms Ford had consumed a beer but was not drunk.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley plans to speak with Mr Kavanaugh and Ms Ford before the committee's scheduled vote, according to a panel spokesman.
Senator Lisa Murkowski, one of two Republican women on the panel, told CNN late yesterday that they "might have to consider" discussing a possible delay.
Fellow Republican panel member Jeff Flake has urged the committee to delay its vote until it hears from Ms Ford, while another committee Republican, Lindsey Graham, welcomed hearing from Ms Ford but said it should "be done immediately so the process can continue as scheduled."
Democrats on the panel came forward with the allegation from the unnamed accuser last week, but Ms Ford identified herself in an interview with the Washington Post published on Sunday.