Published: Tue, September 18, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Kavanaugh, Ford invited to Senate Judiciary hearing; Thursday vote delayed, sources say

Kavanaugh, Ford invited to Senate Judiciary hearing; Thursday vote delayed, sources say

If Kavanaugh can not withstand the accusation of sexual misconduct leveled by a college professor who said he molested her in high school, President Donald Trump and Republicans will have squandered what Democrats contended was a rushed effort to confirm the judge without a complete vetting of his record.

Ford has accused Kavanaugh of trying to attack her and remove her clothing while drunk 36 years ago in a Maryland suburb outside Washington when they were students at different high schools. "But when I think about how it inspired other people to have their voices - that's moving", she said.

Republican Susan Collins said the Senate Judiciary Committee should hear the Brett Kavanaugh allegations.

Senate Democrats, publicly, defended her handling of a very delicate situation.

After Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court, Ford wrote to her congresswoman, Anna G. Eshoo, which was then forwarded to Senator Dianne Feinstein.

"No one in their right mind regardless of their motives would want to inject themselves into this process and face the kind of violation that she will be subjected to by those who want this nominee to go though. It's so slick it doesn't compute".

Instead, Grassley had said he'd seek telephone interviews with Kavanaugh and Ford, winning plaudits from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for planning to handle the episode "by the book".

"No, because the last minute is the accelerated time they set", Leahy said.

But the Iowa Republican complained that California Democratic Sen. Democrats refused to participate, saying the seriousness of the charges merited a full FBI investigation.

On Sunday evening, a pair of outgoing Republican senators said outright that the Senate Judiciary Committee should not vote on Kavanaugh's nomination until they talk to his accuser.

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Kavanaugh, 53, "categorically and unequivocally" denied the allegations when they came out anonymously last week.

"Ultimately, committee Democrats have refused to join us in this effort", he said of the new hearing.

But almost a year after the #MeToo movement swept Hollywood and Capitol Hill, the senator's handling of the charge has angered Republicans and left Democrats rushing to say they actually accept Ms. Ford's version of events, despite not acting initially. "She was quite reluctant to come forward".

A committee spokesperson said late Sunday Grassley was trying to arrange separate, followup calls with Kavanaugh and Ford before the scheduled vote, but just for aides to Grassley and California Democrat Feinstein.

Democrats, already fiercely opposed to Kavanaugh, whose confirmation could consolidate the conservative grip on the top US court, had demanded a delay in the committee's vote to let the FBI investigate. He was asked about the allegations Friday in an interview with C-SPAN - before Blasey Ford went public with her account - and declined to directly address them. Unlike supreme court justice Elena Kagan, who worked for the Clinton administration and released all of her White House communications during her confirmation process, Kavanaugh has not allowed a full look into his time working in the Bush White House. He declined to say whether Kavanaugh had offered to withdraw, dismissing the question as "ridiculous".

"I stand to believe there's no such thing as a "he-said-she-said" case", Linda Fairstein, former bureau chief of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office's Sex Crimes Bureau, told The Washington Post.

Mr Grassley could invite Ms Ford to testify, likely in closed session before Thursday. It's also raised the possibility that Trump's nominee may not join the nation's most powerful court as appeared nearly certain just days ago.

With Republicans narrowly controlling the Senate 51-49, the views of Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Six weeks before Election Day might seem like enough time to vet and process these allegations - to give them respect, but then maybe move on - but if this gets even uglier, it is hard to imagine those Republican candidates in tough campaign fights will want to stick around in Washington until November.

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