Jeff Flake confronted by sexual assault survivors after he backs Kavanaugh
Sep 29 2018
U.S. president Donald Trump has acknowledged that past accusations of sexual misconduct against him have influenced the way he views similar allegations against other men, including his Supreme Court nominee.
"It is my hope that we could work together on a bipartisan basis to diligently pursue an FBI investigation within the next week, not for the objective of delay, but for the goal of investigating further allegations made by Dr. Ford or others".
Those allegations have been refuted in statements by the witnesses she says were at the party, but Ms. Blasey Ford's powerful testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday left too many questions for many senators, and it became clear Judge Kavanaugh would struggle to be confirmed absent the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe.
Republicans, their hand forced by the narrow margin of support for Kavanaugh, issued a statement not long afterward confirming they had agreed to a "supplemental background investigation" to be limited to "current credible allegations" and to take no longer than a week.
Kavanaugh's high school friend, Mark Judge, who Ford says was in the room when a drunken Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, said Friday that he will cooperate with any law enforcement agency that will "confidentially investigate" sexual misconduct allegations against him and Kavanaugh. "His testimony was powerful, honest and riveting", he tweeted.
Pressure for Republican members of the senate judiciary committee are mounting as more and more people come forward, raising serious questions about Kavanaugh's fitness to sit on the supreme court.
As of Friday afternoon, there are 49 Republicans voting for Kavanaugh with Murkowski and Maine's Susan Collins undecided.
The allegations resonate deeply in Maryland, where Kavanaugh and Ford attended separate private prep schools. In recent weeks, he's acted as a committee liaison to the Democrats and moderates Republicans urging a slower process.
Specifically, Democrats and outside groupswant the FBI to conduct an investigation into the accusations made by Christine Blasey Ford and others about the Supreme Court nominee's conduct from decades ago. The Senate Judiciary Committee said the probe should be limited to "current credible allegations against the nominee" and be finished by October 5.
Mr Trump's election pledge to nominate only conservatives to the court was seen as key to firing up his voter base, and rejection of Mr Kavanaugh would be a huge blow to the president.
Meanwhile, there were signs the remarkable testimony before the panel in which Kavanaugh angrily declared his innocence and Ford calmly recounted the moment in which she says he attacked her had registered negatively with two organizations whose support Kavanaugh had earlier received.
The FBI is unlikely to open a criminal investigation.
"Look at me and tell me that it doesn't matter what happened to me", she said.
What Republicans say is the due diligence on Kavanaugh is complete and now it's time for the Judiciary Committee to vote on whether to recommend him to the full Senate - and then for the chamber itself to decide. "She was very good in many respects".
"I think back to when I was 8 years old and the Anita Hill hearings happening", said UH Downtown Assistant Professor Creshema Murray. Last weekend, he pushed the committee to give Ford more time to decide whether to testify.