Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination process reflects the bitter partisanship of the age


One official says they will follow the lead of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley as the story continues to unfold.

Yesterday, Christine Blasey Ford came forward as the alleged sexual assault victim of President Trump's recent Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Grassley said on conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt's radio show. A spokesman said the five-term congressman "believes the committee and full Senate should thoroughly evaluate the claims and Judge Kavanaugh should address them".

"It kind of raises the question, do they want to come to the public hearing or not?"

But Ms. Ford's hazy memory of some details, the way Democrats sprung the allegations late in the confirmation process, the nature of a congressional hearing and the high stakes involved - a seat on the Supreme Court - make it all the less likely that senators will be able to resolve the matter beyond a reasonable doubt.

On Tuesday, the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the FBI and White House counsel Donald McGahn asking the agency to complete an investigation into the allegations before a public hearing.

Ford named Mark Judge, a classmate of Kavanaugh's, as a witness to the incident at the high school party, but he told the Weekly Standard earlier this week he doesn't recall the episode.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill Sept. 4 2018 in Washington D.C
Drew Angerer Getty Images

It was unfair to Kavanaugh, unfair to his accuser and unfair to Feinstein's colleagues - Democrats and Republicans alike - on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He also says "I have no more information to offer the Committee and I do not wish to speak publicly regarding the incidents described in Dr. Ford's letter".

Republican Senator Susan Collins, considered a key potential swing vote, tweeted that both should testify under oath. Then, the week before the committee was set to vote to advance Kavanaugh to the full Senate for confirmation, Feinstein announced she has referred the letter to the FBI for a criminal investigation against Kavanaugh.

Yet a few Republicans have suggested there may have to be a delay, at least in the Judiciary vote on the nominee - which was scheduled for this Thursday - in order to hear from Ford. As Georgetown University law professor David Super notes, federal law explicitly says these previous statements are not regarded as hearsay, or unreliable, when they are used "to rebut an express or implied charge that the declarant recently fabricated it or acted from a recent improper influence or motive in so testifying". But just as the previous statements could be used to bolster her claim, this could be used to argue that she changed her story. According to sources familiar with the FBI's background investigation process, the allegation was passed on to the White House, but the agency would take no further action unless ordered to do so by the White House. The therapist's notes describe four boys being in the room in which the episode happened, rather than the two she now says were there.

Christine Blasey Ford said he tried to attack her and remove her clothing in 1982 when they were both high school students in a Maryland suburb outside Washington.

Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, urged Mr Trump's fellow Republicans not to " rush the hearings".

He added that Kavanaugh was "anxious" to answer the accusations against him, while acknowledging that the testimony would hold up his confirmation. In the letter, the women said, "Through the more than 35 years we have known him, Brett has stood out for his friendship, character, and integrity". This isn't about what happened in the 1980s when Kavanaugh and Ford were in high school.

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