Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh appeared all set to receive a confirmation from the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, ahead of a full vote on the Senate floor that would see him ultimately confirmed to the high court in time for the next session set to start on Oct. 1.
That is, until Democrat California Sen. Dianne Feinstein dropped a bombshell anonymous allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh — that she’d quietly sat on for months — that was purported to have occurred when Kavanaugh was a high school student in the early 1980s.
Kavanaugh’s accuser went public over the weekend — Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford — and provided a few additional, if still rather vague, details of the alleged incident, in which Kavanaugh was said to have drunkenly groped her at a party.
Of course, this has only served to pour fuel on the fire of Democrats clamoring for a delay to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, but the White House and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley, are standing by Kavanaugh through this obvious partisan assault on his reputation.
At the White House on Monday, President Donald Trump took questions from reporters about the nomination, declared that he fully supported Kavanaugh, and called the nominee “one of the finest people that I’ve ever known.”
Meanwhile, Grassley on Sunday, according to The Washington Free Beacon, released a statement on behalf of the Judiciary Committee’s Republican majority saying it was “disturbing” how Democrats waited until the last moment to level this allegation against Kavanaugh. The statement suggested that Feinstein and her fellow Democrats should have brought this accusation forward much earlier, if they truly “took this claim seriously.”
“Instead, they said nothing during two joint phone calls with the nominee in August, four days of lengthy public hearings, a closed session for all committee members with the nominee where sensitive topics can be discussed and in more than 1,300 written questions,” the statement said.
“Sixty-five senators met individually with Judge Kavanaugh during a nearly two-month period before the hearing began, yet Feinstein didn’t share this with her colleagues ahead of many of those discussions.”
The statement added that this whole scenario called into question the “tactics and motives” of Feinstein and the Democrats, and proceeded to provide links to a number of testimonials on behalf of Kavanaugh’s personal and professional reputation and “impeccable character.”
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 16, 2018
Outside of Trump, other White House officials were in the media on Monday declaring Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the high court once the accusation is resolved.
Speaking to reporters, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway explained that she had spoken at length with Trump about the matter and that everyone was in agreement that both Kavanaugh and Ford should testify under oath to the committee about what happened.
Conway noted that the White House would “respect the process” of how the committee chose to deal with the late-breaking allegation.
“She should not be insulted. She should not be ignored. She should testify under oath, and she should do it on Capitol Hill,” said Conway of the accuser.
She added that, with respect to Kavanaugh’s prior testimony and the fact that he’d already cleared six separate background checks from the FBI over his career, “I think you have to weigh this testimonial evidence from Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh along with the considerable body of evidence that is already there about the judge’s temperament and qualifications and character.”
As for Kavanaugh himself, he released a new statement on Monday in response to Ford’s going public with her identity and additional details.
“This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes — to her or to anyone,” the statement said.
“Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday. I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity.”
The Judiciary Committee is now scheduled to hear from both the accuser and Kavanaugh at a hearing on Monday, according to The New York Times.
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