Kavanaugh fights more allegations
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, a Republican senator from Texas, suggested that the Senate Judiciary Committee could move to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination as early as this week, but said he would defer to committee Chairman Chuck Grassley for an official announcement. .
“I would defer to the chairman but I don’t think we would do it on Thursday. Friday would be possible but I’m gonna let him make those announcements," Cornyn said.
Cornyn also said the GOP was leaning toward having an outside lawyer do the questioning "for continuity."
"Rather than have 11 people ask questions for five minutes each. I don’t know what the Democrats will decide to do," he said.
Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, said the Senate Judiciary Committee Republican staff is in touch with counsel for Deborah Ramirez, the latest woman to accuse Judge Brett Kavanaugh of inappropriate sexual behavior. However, Kennedy said her lawyer has "not been terribly cooperative" and is telling the committee to read the allegations in The New Yorker.
“Our majority staff has been in touch with Ms. Ramirez’s counsel. We are told if we want to know the allegations, read the New Yorker. And that’s all they’re willing to say,” Kennedy told reporters. “So we will continue to try to investigation Ms. Ramirez’s allegations, but so far her counsel has not been terribly cooperative other than to say to read the New Yorker.”
Asked whether Ramirez’s attorney had asked to provide testimony, Kennedy said: “You have to crawl before you can walk. We’re trying to learn about the basis for the allegations other than a periodical.”
Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, a veteran member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he believed the GOP would likely rely on a female outside counsel to ask questions at the Thursday hearing.
“I think we will rely on the independent woman who is going to ask the questions,” Hatch said.
Asked why GOP Senators wouldn’t question, he said: “We are hopeful she’s going to do the job that needs to be done.”
The committee has made no announcement about who the female counsel will be.
Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins -- a key vote -- said she believes judiciary committee investigators should "reach out" to Deborah Ramirez, the latest woman who has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of inappropriate sexual behavior.
“I believe that the committee investigators should reach out to Deborah Ramirez in order to question her under oath about what she is alleging happened. I also am eager for the hearing to take place this Thursday and hear from both Judge Kavanaugh and and from Dr. Ford," Collins said Monday.
Collins added that she did not think Ramirez should be present at Thursday's hearing because "there hasn’t even been an interview of her yet with the committee staff and I think that needs to take place first."
“I am going to wait. I had not made a decision and obviously the hearing Thursday is an important one," Collins said.
Similarly, fellow Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who is also seen as a key vote, responded to a question about if she was moving closer to a decision on the nomination by saying: “There is a hearing on Thursday.”
Judge Brett Kavanaugh told Fox News that he neither "sexually assaulted anyone" nor had sex -- "or anything close to sexual intercourse" -- throughout high school and for "many years" after that.
The remarks came in an interview with Fox News' Martha MacCallum due to air later this evening.
Kavanaugh seemed to raise the fact that he was a virgin in those years unprompted, disclosing it while defending against accusations he sexually assaulted a teenage girl at a party while in high school.
Here's the full exchange:
Kavanaugh: "We’re talking about an allegation of sexual assault. I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone. I did not have sexual intercourse or anything close to sexual intercourse or for many years thereafter. And the girls from the schools I went to and I were friends..."
Fox: "So you’re saying through all these years that you were in question you were a virgin?"
Kavanaugh: "That’s correct."
Fox: "Never had sexual intercourse with anyone in high school?"
Kavanaugh: "That’s correct."
Fox: "And, through what years in college, since we’re probing into your personal life here?"
Kavanaugh: "Many years, many years after. I’ll leave it at that, many years after."
Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, was just asked about the latest allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“Well it’s amazing to me that these allegations come out of nowhere at the last minute and that they weren’t brought up earlier in this process," he said.
"And it’s not untypical for our friends on the other side to pull that kind of crap," he added, referencing the Democrats.
He also called the allegations from Deborah Ramirez "phony accusations," and said, “I think she is sincere, at least I hope so but I think she is sincerely wrong.”
“I am frustrated," he added. "I am angry because I get a little tired of the way some of these people have been treated on our side.”
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Yale Law alum, said during a press conference on Monday with Democratic Senator Chris Coons and a group of Yale Law students, that “there is simply no way in good conscience” that the Senate can vote on the Kavanaugh nomination “without a full, fair investigation.”
He added, “My hope is that the hearings may be postponed to allow an FBI investigation” and said of the hearing planned for Thursday with Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, “we’re asking that it be delayed until there is a full investigation of all of these allegations made by Deborah Ramirez and by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.”
Kavanaugh is also a graduate of Yale Law.
Asked by a reporter if he is aware of any other potential allegations against Kavanaugh, Blumenthal said he was “not prepared to talk about what there may be out there,” but said, “this nomination seems to be unraveling in real time.”
“As to other potential allegations, I’m just not prepared to talk about what there may be out there. As you know there have been some public reports just in the last 24 hours so at this point it’s really an unfolding story and this nomination seems to be unraveling in real time,” Blumenthal said.
Senator Chris Coons, another Yale Law alum, said that if the hearing takes place on Thursday with Ford and Kavanaugh, “will we have any investigation by the professionals of the FBI? No we won’t … will we be hearing from testimony from Dr. Ford under circumstances and conditions that are most conducive to her being able to come forward with her full story? No we won’t.”
In an excerpt of an interview with Fox News, set to air later Monday evening, Judge Kavanaugh said he would not let the allegations kill his nomination.
"I'm not going to let false accusations drive us out of this process," Kavanaugh told Fox News, sitting beside his wife.
"We're looking for a fair process where I can be heard defending my integrity. My life-long record of promoting dignity and equality for women, starting with the women who knew me when I was 14 years old. I'm not going anywhere."
"I have faith in God and I have faith in the fairness of the American people," Kavanaugh added. "The truth is I've never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or otherwise. I'm not questioning and have not questioned that perhaps Dr. Ford was sexually assaulted by someone in some place. But what I know is I've never sexually assaulted anyone."
President Donald Trump said Monday afternoon that it would be "sad" if Kavanaugh's nomination were upended by the allegations that have been raised against him in recent weeks.
"He's a fine, fine man. A great scholar," Trump said Monday when asked if he believed Kavanaugh would still be confirmed despite a second allegation against him surfacing.
"It would be sad to me if anything happened to reroute that. This is a fine man and we certainly hope that he is going to be confirmed," Trump said.
The President went on to lament the fact that allegations have been raised against Kavanaugh, again touting Kavanugh's character and saying Kavanaugh's "family has suffered."
"His family has suffered. What’s going on is not something that should happen," Trump said. "Brett Kavanaugh is an absolutely outstanding person. Hopefully he will be confirmed quickly."