Sen. John Kennedy, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is determined to push forward after a public accusation of sexual assault disrupted his confirmation process.
Kennedy, who said he spoke to Kavanaugh on the phone Tuesday, described him as “resolute, determined, unequivocal.”
“He said it’s just not true. He wasn’t angry, and he didn’t say anything bad about Dr. Ford,” Kennedy said of his conversation with Kavanaugh in an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow on “CNN Newsroom.” “He wasn’t critical.”
California professor Christine Blasey Ford authored a private letter sent to California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein in July alleging that during a party while they were both in high school, Kavanaugh forced her into a bedroom, where he tried to remove her clothes and covered her mouth with his hand. Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s account as “a completely false allegation.”
Ford was invited to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the incident, but her lawyers are calling for an FBI investigation into the incident before a public hearing.
Kennedy said it’s his hope Ford will go through with testifying at a hearing tentatively scheduled for Monday.
“I’m looking forward to hearing from her,” he said. “Now if she doesn’t want to come that’s her call. If she’s uncomfortable doing it in a public hearing, I think it would be a mistake. I think the American people need to hear from both Dr. Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be able to judge for themselves.”
“If she wants to do it privately, we can do it privately,” he added.
Kennedy told CNN after his appearance on “Newsroom” that he was unsure of what would happen next if Ford doesn’t show up to testify.
President Donald Trump, who nominated Kavanaugh in July, downplayed the idea of launching a new investigation into his nominee Wednesday but said he would “want to see what [Ford] has to say” if she decided to testify.
CNN’s Manu Raju and Sophie Tatum contributed to this report.
Correction: The headline of this story was updated to correctly reflect Kennedy’s exact quotation.