The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee said on Sunday that the Senate should delay further action on confirming Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until newly revealed allegations of sexual assault from 35 years ago are investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In televised interviews, Sens. She tried to scream, but Kavanaugh allegedly put his hand over her mouth. The allegations, which Kavanaugh vehemently denies, refer to when he was a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda, Maryland, in the 1980s.
NPR has not independently confirmed the contents of the letter, which the woman sent to her representative, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., after Kavanaugh was nominated to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Ford said she was able to escape Kavanaugh and his friend, whom she identified as Mark Judge. "It could maybe been cleared up".
Last week, Republicans said they still planned to move forward with the scheduled September 20 vote on whether to advance Kavanaugh's confirmation. "I just think an anonymous letter, to derail something at this late date, is just not a good practice. I did not do this back in high school or at any time".
Not all Democrats have called for a delay of Kavanaugh's confirmation vote. They have given no indications the allegation will alter their plans. Judge's denial relies on his assertion that he "never saw Brett act that way".
What to do? Unless the leadership believes this woman, it should press ahead with the confirmation process.
"The questions that we will ask and seek answers to next week are, 'Why sit on it for weeks?' We understand that the person who wrote the letter is not willing to come forward". Who are we going to cross-examine, Senator Feinstein? "For three months, she said nothing, nothing, zero, nada, zilch". Judge stood across the room, she said, and both boys were laughing "maniacally". In addition, she signed a letter denouncing President Trump's border policy.
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According to a source cited by the New Yorker, Feinstein learned of the alleged incident in July and while her staff members mentioned it to other Democratic lawmakers, they did not share the letter with them.
Kavanaugh issued a statement last week on the matter.
First question for you, since you became a legal adult, have you ever made unwanted requests for sexual favors or committed any verbal or physical harassment or assault of a sexual nature?
In a statement, she called the accusations "extremely serious" and said they "bear heavily on Judge Kavanaugh's character".
"If Ranking Member Feinstein and other Committee Democrats took this claim seriously, they should have brought it to the full Committee's attention much earlier", the Judiciary Committee said.
Republicans are trying to push the nomination through before the midterm elections in November, when their slim 51-49 hold over the Senate will be at risk. Democrats now won't dare vote for him, fearing the wrath of their base, so Republicans have no margin for error. But with so many years having passed between the time of the incident and now, who can be sure what happened?
Democratic senators and groups will nearly certainly call for the Judiciary chairman, at the very least, to delay's Thursday's scheduled vote.