Top Senate Republicans aren’t even pretending Kavanaugh’s accusers will make a difference

Geraldine Edwards
September 26, 2018

"No, I know Brett".

MARTIN: Kavanaugh and his first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, will both testify separately in front of a congressional committee Thursday.

The Kavanaugh confirmation fight comes just weeks before November 6 congressional elections in which Democrats are trying to take control of Congress from Republicans, against a backdrop of the #MeToo movement fighting sexual harassment and assault.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., lashed out at Democrats, accusing them of throwing "all the mud they could manufacture" and decrying a "shameful smear campaign".

The New Yorker said the allegation came to the attention of Democratic senators through a civil rights lawyer.

All the Republicans on the panel are men.

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Supporters hope that Kavanaugh's nomination can be confirmed before the start of the court's next term on October 1.

They are Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. That could set up a vote in the full Senate early next week.

Some advocates say the handling of the complaints - especially lawmakers' unwillingness to authorize a deeper investigation into Kavanaugh's conduct - shows how far the movement still has to go in changing the way women are treated by powerful men. Now that these sexual assault allegations have surfaced, it is up to the Senate to decide whether Kavanaugh will still be appointed to the Supreme Court.

Even if Republicans lose their Senate majority, they could still have time to confirm a nominee in a lame-duck session, but the GOP hasn't indicated that is under consideration. It is certain that McConnell will need to file a cloture motion to bring debate over President Trump's second Supreme Court pick to a close and proceed to a vote.

Kavanaugh's forceful message comes as a second woman has come forward alleging sexual misconduct.

"I did not have sexual intercourse - or anything like sexual intercourse - in high school or many years thereafter", he said. "The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out".

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But on one question in particular, Cruz tried to answer for his humiliating about-face on President Donald Trump . Cruz went out of his way to paint O'Rourke as to the left of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen.

What I know is the truth, and the truth is I've never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or otherwise. Speaking with his wife, Ashley, at his side, the nominee said, "I'm not going anywhere" and dismissed what he called "false accusations". Kavanaugh insisted that he's not withdrawing his nomination and said, "I want a fair process where I can defend my integrity".

Additionally, a Yale University classmate of Kavanaugh, Debbie Ramirez, claims he exposed himself to her at a college party, and Michael Avenatti, who is representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against Trump, tweeted Sunday he soon intends to reveal accusations against Kavanaugh from another woman. Deborah Ramirez has said Kavanaugh forced her to touch his penis during a Yale dormitory party when both were freshmen.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday "we would be open" to having Ramirez testify before the same Judiciary Committee hearing at which Ford and Kavanaugh are scheduled to appear Thursday.

With increasing intensity, Republicans have attacked the credibility of Ford's and now Ramirez' accounts.

President Donald Trump nominated the federal appeals court judge in July to succeed Anthony Kennedy, who retired from the bench.

"The second accuser has nothing", Trump told reporters while at the United Nations General Assembly in NY. "I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your trousers".

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The president traveled south Wednesday as the region continues to grapple with the aftermath of a storm that North Carolina Gov. Leaves began "melting on the stalk" - disintegrating when sunny skies followed heavy rains and standing water.

The new allegations raised broader questions about a nominee whose confirmation seemed all but certain two weeks ago.

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