Brett Kavanaugh Drama: Follow Facts, Not Tribalism

Cruz says Democrats 'playing games' but agrees that Kavanaugh's accuser should testify before confirmation vote

Cruz says Democrats 'playing games' but agrees that Kavanaugh's accuser should testify before confirmation vote

Republicans are forging ahead with plans for a Senate hearing they had hoped to avoid on a woman's claims that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when were high schoolers, hoping to salvage the judge's endangered Supreme Court nomination with a risky, nationally televised showdown between him and his accuser.

"This is a completely false allegation", Kavanaugh said in the statement released by the White House.

Two committee Republicans - all 11 on the Republican side are men - Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of SC, said they wanted to hear more from Ford. Democrats on the panel refused to take part, arguing that the FBI should investigate the allegations stemming from an incident Ford says happened at a party in the early 1980s when they were both students in high school.

Graham says he would "gladly listen to what she has to say" and compare it "against all the other information" the committee has considered about Kavanaugh.

The committee recently concluded four days of public hearings on the nomination and the panel's Republican chairman, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, scheduled a Thursday vote on whether to recommend that the full Senate confirm Kavanaugh for a lifetime appointment to the nation's highest court.

That the president's senior counselor, Kellyanne Conway, swiftly advocated listening to the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault points to the power of the #MeToo movement - and of women in politics.

According to NBC News' Leigh Ann Caldwell, Hatch on Monday said that he had spoken with Kavanaugh and had found him to "honest" and "straightforward" in his denials about Ford's accusations. Republicans on the committee agreed to hold the high-stakes hearing after some of its own members, mostly Democrats, decried the process moving forward without first giving Ford a public forum to share her story.

Eshoo says that in weighing privacy concerns, the woman "has demonstrated her willingness to risk these factors to present the truth".

Moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins, whose support is crucial to Kavanaugh's nomination, said both the judge and his accuser should testify under oath.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the committee's top Democrat, said staff phone calls with Kavanaugh and his accuser are not sufficient.

Evenly balanced for years, the court is expected to tilt decidedly conservative if Kavanaugh is approved, potentially threatening women's access to abortion, restrictions on presidential powers, and efforts to curb gun ownership.




Critics have already accused the Republicans of fast tracking the process to get Kavanaugh on the court by October 1, the first day of the fall term.

"I don't know if that's fair", Durbin, a Judiciary Committee member, said on CNN.

Katz told USA media her client had been ambivalent about the pressure that would come with speaking out publicly.

"I thought he might inadvertently kill me", said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California.

Trump called Kavanaugh "an outstanding intellect", and he assailed Democrats for not bringing up the assault question sooner - Sen.

The two women say the 63 other women who signed the letter to back the judge's reputation stand by their signatures, but are not speaking out to avoid the press. Key will be the views of Collins and Sen. She says Kavanaugh groped her over her clothes, grinded his body against hers and tried to take off her one-piece swimsuit and the outfit she wore over it. Kavanaugh covered her mouth with his hand when she tried to scream, she says, and escaped when the friend, Mark Judge, jumped on them. She said there are still a lot of questions, and "we need to know what happened".

In July, Ford reached out to her congresswoman, Rep. Anna Eshoo, and Sen. "I'm sure it will work out very well".

"All Senators, regardless of party, should insist the Federal Bureau of Investigation perform its due diligence and fully investigate the allegations as part of its review of Judge Kavanaugh's background", the senators said.

Republican Bob Corker also said delaying the vote "would be best for all involved".

One of the ironies of that path, of course, is that failure to give Ford a chance to tell her story, and for Kavanaugh to reply, could cause so much outrage that it will be the proximate cause of a Democratic takeover of both House of Congress in November. Asked if that included sworn testimony at a public hearing before senators, Katz told CBS' "This Morning" program: "She's willing to do what she needs to do". After her story began to leak, she changed her mind and made a decision to go public.

Katz said her client "was not wanting to inject herself into this".

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