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'I am not going to be played': Judiciary Committee Republicans respond to Avenatti's Kavanaugh accuser

Conservative Review

Several Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans are skeptical of new allegations of sexual misconduct brought forward against Judge Brett Kavanaugh the day before Kavanaugh will testify in his defense.

On Wednesday, attorney and prospective 2020 Democratic candidate for president Michael Avenatti made public a sworn affidavit by his client, Julie Swetnick, who claims she attended house parties in the 1980s where girls were drugged and sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh and his high school friends in "train" rapes. Swetnick's affidavit was signed under penalty of perjury.

Avenatti has demanded an investigation into his client's claims, and Senate Democrats have written a letter  asking President Donald Trump to immediately withdraw the Kavanaugh nomination.

Kavanagh has denied the new allegations of sexual misconduct.

“This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone. I don’t know who this is and this never happened,” Kavanaugh said in a statement responding to Swetnick's sworn affidavit.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, raised the possibility of holding second hearing to address the new accusations Wednesday, depending on how Thursday's hearing to address Christine Blasey Ford's allegations turns out.

“We’re going to take this step-by-step, and you’ll have to ask me that question Thursday night,” Grassley told reporters. He refused to delay Thursday's hearing.

“The committee meeting is going to go ahead because I don’t feel that we should disadvantage Dr. Ford any more than she’s already being disadvantaged in the sense of people wondering whether the hearing was going to be last week or this week or whatever else,” Grassley said.

Addressing the new allegations brought forward by Swetnick, Grassley said the committee's lawyers were following up and investigating Swetnick's claims without paying special attention to her legal counsel's motivations.

"I suppose I’m supposed to be up on every lawyer that’s involved here, and I only know him as what I read in the paper. I haven’t even gone to Google to learn more about him. It seems to me he wants to protect people that are involved in pornography and that he’s running for president,” Grassley continued. “I don’t know what his motivations are. I don’t know what his reputation as a lawyer is, so how can I draw any conclusions? But really what’s important here isn’t the lawyer. The important is the claim that she’s been harmed.”

Other Judiciary Committee Republicans are more skeptical of Avenatti and these new allegations brought forward at the last minute.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said the Committee should move forward with Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., released the strongest statement on the new accusations, saying "I have a difficult time believing any person would continue to go to – according to the affidavit – ten parties over a two-year period where women were routinely gang raped and not report it.”

On Twitter, Graham accused Avenatti of taking "this debacle to an even lower level."

Other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have not commented on the new allegations, some intentionally. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., told the Omaha World-Herald Wednesday he is still sorting through the allegations.

“I’ve made a point of not commenting very much in public on this because we still have a lot of allegations and details to sort through,” Sasse said. “I think Brett Kavanaugh was a strong nominee that the president made and now these new allegations came late in the process."

Adding that the committee needs to hear the allegations, Sasse said it was unhelpful "for people to sit on allegations for two months and spring them after our hearings were all done."

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