- Some prominent Democrats are accusing Republicans of pushing to expedite the timeline for a confirmation vote on Brett Kavanaugh even after they knew of a then-secret allegation of sexual misconduct against the judge last week.
- The development comes after The New Yorker on Sunday night published details of an allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh by his former Yale University classmate, Deborah Ramirez.
- “Senate Republicans were trying to rush a vote while they knew Deborah Ramirez would come forward with her story,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, said Sunday night.
Some prominent Democrats accused Republicans of pushing to expedite the timeline for a confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh even after they learned last week of a then-secret allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh.
On Sunday evening, The New Yorker published a report detailing a second sexual misconduct claim against Kavanaugh, this one made by the judge’s former Yale University classmate, Deborah Ramirez. She says Kavanaugh exposed himself to her and thrust his genitals in her face without her consent at a dorm-room party during the 1983-84 school year.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand accused Republican leaders of attempting to “rush a vote” on the nominee even after they knew of the second then-secret allegation.
“Senate Republicans were trying to rush a vote while they knew Deborah Ramirez would come forward with her story,” the senator tweeted on Sunday night. “They deny Dr. Ford an FBI investigation, won’t subpoena corroborating witnesses, and now, this. It’s an embarrassment. They have absolutely no interest in the truth.”
The New Yorker piece, written by veteran investigative reporters Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow, asserted that staffers for some senior GOP Senate staffers and at least four Democratic senators learned of Ramirez’s allegation last week. While at least two Democratic senators soon initiated investigations into Ramirez’s allegations, Republicans continued to press for a committee vote on Kavanaugh.
But some Republicans, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, claimed not to have known about the newest charge until it was published on Sunday evening.
“A Grassley aide tells me the majority Republican staff learned about Ramirez’s allegations from Sunday evening’s New Yorker story,” The Washington Post’s Seung Min Kim tweeted Sunday night. “Neither Ramirez nor her attorney have contacted the chairman’s office, the aide said, adding Dems never informed the GOP staff of these allegations.
Spokesmen for Sens. Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, and Mike Lee – all Republicans – also told The Post they did not know of the allegations before the New Yorker report.
But top Senate Republicans have joined the president and Kavanaugh in characterising the allegations as a Democratic “smear campaign” and are continuing to call for a speedy vote.
“Democrats won’t let a complete lack of evidence get between them and a good smear. It’s despicable,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday.
“We should hear from Dr. Ford on Thursday as planned,” Hatch, a member of the Judiciary Committee said in a statement. “Then we should vote.”
The developments come days before scheduled testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, who alleges that Kavanaugh forced himself on her, locked her in a room, groped her, and covered her mouth to mask her screams during a drunken house party when she was 15 and he was 17.
In the wake of Ramirez’s allegation, Democrats led by the Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein are calling on Grassley to postpone all further confirmation proceedings and join them in pressuring the White House to direct the FBI to investigate both Ford and Ramirez’s claims.
Sen. Mazie Hirono accused the Judiciary Committee’s 11 Republicans of “treating this like a hostage situation.”
“What are they afraid of?” she asked.
Kavanaugh, who has denied both Ford and Ramirez’s allegations, remained defiant on Monday, writing in a letter to the Judiciary Committee on Monday that the claims are “smears, pure and simple” and “grotesque and obvious character assassination.”
“I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process,” he wrote. “The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out.”
Trump simultaneously dug in, calling the sexual misconduct allegations “totally political” and telling reporters that Kavanaugh is “a man with an unblemished past.”
“There’s a chance that this could be one of the single most unfair, unjust things to happen for a candidate for anything,” Trump said.
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