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Democrats seize on accusations against Kavanaugh, demand delay in confirmation vote

Democrats call for a delay in the Senate's confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after his accuser goes public. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Democrats have opposed Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination from the minute President Donald Trump made it official. They may now have the ammunition they need to completely derail Kavanaugh's confirmation.

The development comes after the woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct against her in the early 1980s, when they were both teenagers, went public in an interview with the Washington Post Sunday.

What are Democrats saying?

Top Senate Democrats are calling for Kavanaugh's confirmation vote to be delayed now that there is a real human — 51-year-old Christine Blasey Ford, who is a professor at Palo Alto University — behind the sexual misconduct allegations. Some are even calling for the FBI to investigate the claims.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said: "I support Mrs. Ford’s decision to share her story, and now that she has, it is in the hands of the FBI to conduct an investigation. This should happen before the Senate moves forward on this nominee."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said: "For too long, when women have made serious allegations of abuse, they have been ignored. That cannot happen in this case. Judge Kavanaugh’s credibility has already been seriously questioned. ... To railroad a vote now would be an insult to the women of America and the integrity of the Supreme Court."

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said: "The allegations contained in the Washington Post report about Judge Brett Kavanaugh are serious, credible, and deeply troubling. At a bare minimum, this week’s scheduled committee vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court must be postponed until this matter is fully and thoroughly investigated."

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said: "Christine Blasey Ford courageously stepped forward to tell her story — it is a credible and serious allegation. The Senate has a constitutional responsibility to scrutinize SCOTUS nominees. A vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination must be delayed until there is a thorough investigation."

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said: "Rather than outright dismissing this very serious allegation, or releasing a premeditated defense of the allegation via a letter from former classmates, Republicans should postpone the rush to vote on Kavanaugh this week and investigate these allegations in a bipartisan manner. Shame on the Senate if they don’t take this seriously, especially before moving forward on a lifetime appointment."

The initial Senate vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation had already been delayed once. It is now scheduled for Sept. 20.

What are Republicans saying?

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley (R), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said it was "disturbing" that "uncorroborated allegations" from the early 1980s surface "on the eve of a committee vote after Democrats sat on them since July."

"The committee vote on Judge Kavanaugh's nomination will proceed as scheduled, next Thurs. Here’s what we know: Judge Kavanaugh has undergone six FBI full-field investigations from 1993 to 2018. No such allegation resembling the anonymous claims ever surfaced," Grassley said.

Other Republicans, however, exercised more caution. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), long believed to be a key swing vote, said she will be "talking with my colleagues." Still, Collins expressed frustration over the timeliness of the allegations. Democrats "have managed to cast a cloud of doubt on both the professor and the judge," she told the New York Times.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake (R) took a more hardline stance. "For me, we can’t vote until we hear more," he told a Washington Post reporter on Sunday.

Anything else?

Debra Katz, the Washington attorney representing Ford, said Monday on "CBS This Morning" that her client is willing to testify the validity of her allegations before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"My client will do whatever is necessary to make sure that the Senate Judiciary Committee has the full story and the full set of allegations to allow them to make a fully informed decision. She's willing to do what she needs to do," Katz said.

She doubled down on those comments during an interview with CNN.

One last thing…
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