A group of House Republicans is hoping to lift the curtain on whatever political games might have been played by Congressional Democrats in handling the letter from Christine Blasey Ford in which she claimed she was the victim of sexual misconduct at the hands of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The congressmen are asking the heads of the House and Senate ethics committees to look into the actions of California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who kept the letter private for weeks before leaking it to the media, The Hill reported.
“Dr. Ford testified that she delivered a letter to Rep. (Anna) Eshoo who forwarded it to Sen. Feinstein on July 30, 2018 detailing allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” the letter said, noting that Ford wanted her identity kept private.
The letter noted that despite an assurance from Feinstein that Ford’s identity would be protected, the letter became public knowledge on Sept. 12 after a report in The Intercept.
“This sensitive document was leaked to the media without Dr. Ford’s consent while it was hidden from the majority staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee. These acts demand an immediate and thorough investigation to find out who is responsible,” the letter added, according to Fox News.
Feinstein has said she did not tell Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley about the letter because Ford asked not to be identified. Feinstein has denied leaking the letter.
California Democratic Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, who was contacted by Ford, has also denied leaking the letter, according to The Washington Times.
“Leaking Dr. Ford’s letter was a cynically political act that is damaging to the credibility of the United States Congress. Deliberately outing Dr. Ford without her consent may have a lasting impact on women’s willingness to report future assaults,” said the letter, signed by Congressman Andy Briggs, an Arizona Republican, with the support of GOP congressmen Steve King of Iowa, Jeff Duncan and Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Bob Gibbs of Ohio, Rod Blum of Iowa and Louie Gohmert of Texas.
“Democratic members of Congress and their staffs placed political expediency above the wishes of Dr. Ford. For these reasons, I am calling for an immediate ethics investigation to identify the individuals who are responsible for this breach and take appropriate action,” the letter also said.
Neither of the committees to which the letters were sent commented on the request.
The tortured tale of the letter was seized upon by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during a floor speech Monday supporting Kavanaugh, according to a written text of the remarks the Kentucky Republican delivered.
“Did our colleague alert the chairman, so the committee could do due diligence in a confidential way, consistent with Dr. Ford’s wishes? No, she did not. Did she discreetly raise the issue with Judge Kavanaugh during her private meeting with him on August 20th? No, she didn’t do that either. As best we can tell, the Democrats chose to keep this allegation secret, rather than investigating in a bipartisan and timely way. In fact, they held it in reserve,” he said.
McConnell noted that Democrats were not passive players as they arranged the drama that was to unfold.
“But meanwhile, the senior senator from California — or her office — were already in communication with Dr. Ford. In fact, her office had already recommended that Dr. Ford retain a particular Washington D.C. law firm,” he said.
Ford ended up losing what she wanted to protect — her privacy.
“Not long thereafter, of course, Dr. Ford’s letter to the senior senator from California wound up in the hands of the press. The same letter in which she’d asked for confidentiality — leaked,” McConnell said
“By whom? As best I can tell, nobody had possession of this letter except for Dr. Ford’s Democrat congresswoman, the Democrat side of the Judiciary Committee and, presumably, the politically connected lawyers they recommended to Dr. Ford. And somehow — somehow — it ended up in the press. Dr. Ford’s plea for privacy was brushed aside. A predictable media circus was launched,” McConnell said.
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