Published: Wed, September 19, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Former Girlfriends And Longtime Friends Come to Brett Kavanaugh's Defense

Former Girlfriends And Longtime Friends Come to Brett Kavanaugh's Defense

Democrats have been calling on the FBI to investigate a woman's claim that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school.

It soon emerged that the attorney sent a letter to the Republican Senate Judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley, asking that the FBI investigate Ford's accusations against Kavanaugh to "ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner".

After initially suggesting a private conference call on the matter would suffice, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said his panel would hold a hearing next Monday "to provide ample transparency".

The letter revealed Tuesday evening confirmed The New York Times' earlier reporting about threats Ford has received, saying Ford has "been the target of vicious harassment and even death threats".

Republicans including President Trump have cast doubt upon Ford's accusation by pointing out that it came to light mere days before Kavanaugh was set to be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee - and after his confirmation hearings had already been concluded.

Judge did not respond to repeated requests for comment from Business Insider.

The conservative attorney went on to note that Kavanaugh has flatly denied the allegations and said that he did not attend the party where Ford said the attack took place.

The No. 2 Senate Republican leader, John Cornyn of Texas, noted that Ford has admitted she doesn't remember some details of the incident.

"I think that people don't quite understand the impact that a sexual assault like that can have long term on a victim's life", Bruno said.

If the Judiciary committee's timetable slips, it would become increasingly hard for Republicans to schedule a vote before midterm elections on November 6 elections, when congressional control will be at stake.

"I did not ask to be involved in this matter nor did anyone asked me to be involved", Judge said in a written statement forwarded to the committee by his attorney, Barbara Van Gelder.

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Ford, now a psychology professor at California's Palo Alto University, gave her description of her encounter with Kavanaugh to The Washington Post in an interview published Sunday.

On Tuesday Trump doubled down on backing Kavanaugh despite a woman claiming he tried to rape her in the 1980s.

"We will delay the process until it's finished out", Trump said. "I'm not concerned about tanking the nomination", he said.

It's not clear yet if Ford will show up on Monday.

"The need for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to perform its due diligence has become even more important in light of Chairman Grassley's announcement that he plans to move forward with a hearing on this matter next Monday", the letter said.

Trump picked Kavanaugh to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative who sometimes sided with the court's liberal wing.

Ford's prior statements, though, go only so far in bolstering her claim.

"Of course it helps that there are women on that committee, but you know what, I expect the men in this country and the men in this committee-and many of them, because believe me, we all signed onto this letter-to demand an FBI investigation", Hirono said.

"Any Senate Democrat, hailing from a red or blue or purple state, is wise to think deeply about how the larger cultural shifts over the past year-plus should affect their political beliefs", said Tracy Sefl, a Democratic consultant in Chicago.

In a statement to local media, the Department of Justice said the "FBI does not make any judgement about the credibility or significance of any allegation". She joined the panel as its previously all-male membership was grappling with stinging criticism of its handling of Anita Hill's sexual harassment allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. "The responsibility falls to us", Hatch wrote, reiterating Grassley's offer to let Ford testify before the Judiciary Committee.

With their narrow Senate majority, Republicans could ram through Kavanaugh's nomination without any Democratic support, but doing so might prove risky in a year that has seen a surge of women, motivated by their opposition to Trump, vote in primary and special elections.

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