WASHINGTON— Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh said he was willing to speak to the Senate Judiciary Committee to “refute” the charge that he sexually assaulted a woman while in high school, as the woman making the accusation said via her attorney that she was ready to tell her story to the panel in public.
Kavanaugh released a statement calling the allegation “completely false” and saying he “had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself” on Sunday to The Washington Post.
“I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity,” Kavanaugh said.
Democrats, led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, called for a delay in the vote and two committee Republicans — all 11 on the GOP side are men — Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said they wanted to hear more from Ford. Flake went as far as to say he was “not comfortable” voting for Kavanaugh for the time being.
A potential “no” vote from Flake would complicate the judge’s prospects. A Republican not on the committee, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, said the vote should be postponed until the committee heard from Ford.
Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly joined the calls for a delay, calling the allegations against Kavanaugh “serious” and worthy of additional review:
“The allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh are serious and merit further review. Given the nature of these allegations, and the number of outstanding questions, I believe the Judiciary Committee should hold off on Thursday’s scheduled vote.”
Kavanaugh had been on a smooth confirmation track, but the new allegations have roiled that process. Republican senators have expressed concern over a woman’s private-turned-public allegation that a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers.
In the video above, Donnelly calls for an FBI investigation into the allegations, but wouldn’t commit either way on a vote.
“I want to get as much information from this as I possibly can, there’s potential hearings involved , we’ll see if that happens,” said Donnelly. “I believe the FBI should do an investigation because it only takes a couple days, it’s not going to hold anything up. The more information we have the better off we are.”
Donnelly’s vote on Kavanaugh is being closely watched with Donnelly up for re-election and facing a strong challenge from former State Rep. Mike Braun.
“The process looks orchestrated from the get-go,” said Braun. “Judge Kavanaugh is such a great candidate. We need to get through this process (and) move to having a vote on it.”