Washington scrambles over Kavanaugh allegations

April FrancisSep 20, 2018

While Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is embroiled in an allegation that he sexually assaulted a teenage girl while in high school, Republicans and Democrats are growing increasingly at odds with what kind of process should come next and putting the appeals judge's confirmation chances on thin ice. Ford provided portions of the therapist's notes to the paper, which described an incident without mentioning Kavanaugh by name. The White House has been adamant that it does not plan to withdraw Kavanaugh's nomination.

FILE - In this December 8, 2017, file photo, Anita Hill speaks at a discussion about sexual harassment in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Republicans had also displayed no willingness to delay a Judiciary panel vote that Grassley had planned for this Thursday to advance the nomination.

But if they pause Kavanaugh's nomination - or scrap it all together - they risk handing over the process to Democrats.

Ford has stated through her attorney Debra Katz that she is willing to testify publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding her allegations.

Kavanaugh went to the West Wing on Monday shortly after issuing a strongly worded statement denying the woman's allegation and stressing his willingness to go before the Senate Judiciary Committee to "refute" it.

"And for my part I need to see them and listen to their answers to the questions in order to make an assessment". She said she escaped after Kavanaugh's friend, Mark Judge, jumped on them. Many Democrats have called for a delay in the vote, and a handful of Republicans have opened the door to that possibility.

Nearly a quarter - 23% - didn't know whether the Senate should vote to confirm Kavanaugh, slightly fewer than "didn't know" about Thomas in July (pre-Hill accusations) - 31%. Both are under enormous pressure from outside groups who want them to oppose Kavanaugh on grounds that as a justice he could vote to undercut the Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion in the U.S.

The Republican-controlled Senate panel appears committed to a vote on Kavanaugh this week.

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Until Monday, Trump had remained silent about the allegations against Kavanaugh. She allowed her records from a therapy session about it to be reviewed by The Post.

Katz described Ford's recollection of the incident in stark terms, going as far as saying her client considered it an attempted rape. Judiciary Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, (R) of Iowa, said Monday that he will "continue working on a way to hear her out in an appropriate, precedented, and respectful manner".

Republicans have blasted Democrats for the way in which the accusation came out - at the 11th hour, while for six weeks, the senior Democrat on the committee, Sen. Her attorney said Ford is "not motivated at all by politics".

That action alone could lead to new Senate hearings about who is lying about this sexual attack she claims occurred when both were high school students in Bethesda, Maryland. Susan Collins, R-Maine, wouldn't say whether the vote should be postponed or whether she believes Ford.

"In light of recent allegations, it is more important than ever for the Senate to have a full picture of Judge Kavanaugh's views, credibility, and character", Leahy said.

Republicans at first seemed determined to avoid a public airing of the allegations against Kavanaugh and on Monday began a vociferous defense of the judge.

"This woman should not be insulted and she should not be ignored", said Conway, who added that Kavanaugh should also have an opportunity under oath to address Ford's allegations.

Ford tells The Washington Post a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers in the 1980s.

Leahy said in a statement that the "integrity of our nation's highest court is on the line" and "we can not brush aside these extraordinarily serious allegations in an unseemly rush to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to a lifetime seat".

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