Published: Wed, September 19, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Kavanaugh showdown hearing not yet set: Dems, GOP arguing on witnesses

Kavanaugh showdown hearing not yet set: Dems, GOP arguing on witnesses

Days before he was expected to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, Brett M. Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault in high school in a way that echoes Hill's allegations against Thomas in 1991.

After Kavanaugh was accused of sexual misconduct in a letter obtained by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), sixty five women who knew the nominee in high school-most of them from private schools in the D.C. area-sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee defending his character. "He stands ready to testify tomorrow if the Senate is ready to hear him", White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement Monday.

"We still haven't heard from Dr. Ford, so do they want to have the hearing or not?"

"This is so patently unfair to her, and what really bothers me and gets me so angry is that the White House is victimizing this person", Sen.

Grassley said the hearing would be televised and would include just two witnesses, Ford and Kavanaugh. In the letter, Ford said she had received medical treatment after the assault, adding that "it is upsetting to discuss sexual assault and its repercussions, yet I felt guilty and compelled as a citizen about the idea of not saying anything".

The Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh this Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the organization, Carrie Severino, sparked a backlash online when she said Ford's allegations describe "a whole range of conduct from boorishness to rough horseplay to actual attempted rape".

Republicans, some of whom see the allegations as a stalling tactic by Democrats, have been pushing to confirm Kavanaugh before November's mid-term elections when they could lose control of the Senate. But Kavanaugh appeared to be on track for confirmation before word leaked last Friday that Feinstein's office had handed over Ford's letter to authorities.

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Debra Katz, the attorney for Ford, said on CBS that her 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".

Ford recounted the incident in couples therapy back in 2012, while her therapist jotted down notes, indicating that she didn't just come forward with these allegation after Kavanaugh was nominated. The delay makes it increasingly hard for Kavanaugh to win approval by October 1, when the new session of the Supreme Court begins.

Bob Corker also believes Kavanaugh's accuser should be heard out before the Judiciary Committee votes on his nomination, the Tennessee senator's spokesperson, Micah Johnson, said in a statement to CNN.

The remarks by McConnell, R-Ky., seemed aimed at signaling that while Ford will be given her opportunity to detail her allegations under oath, party leaders - certainly for now - were not easing off their support of Trump's nominee. "It's serious. And I hope all the members on that committee take this seriously and do this in the right way because it wasn't done in the right way with Anita Hill", Murray said. As Georgetown University law professor David Super notes, federal law explicitly says these previous statements are not regarded as hearsay, or unreliable, when they are used "to rebut an express or implied charge that the declarant recently fabricated it or acted from a recent improper influence or motive in so testifying".

Ford initially declined to come forward.

If the judiciary committee's timetable slips, it would become increasingly hard for Republicans to schedule a vote before midterm elections on November 6, when congressional control will be at stake. The therapist's notes describe four boys being in the room in which the episode happened, rather than the two she now says were there.

Ford's story has not been corroborated, and many of Kavanaugh's former classmates are speaking out against these accusations. Ford told The Washington Post that Kavanaugh and his friend pushed her into a bedroom during a party and that Kavanaugh then forcibly pinned her down on a bed and tried to pull off her clothes.

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