Senate Democrats slammed their GOP counterparts for scheduling what they described as a “sham” hearing on allegations of sexual assault levied against Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Tuesday, ripping them for refusing to allow corroborating witnesses.
“We’re calling for an investigation, an assessment of the facts, for other witnesses to be heard from, and then have this hearing,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), a member of Democratic leadership, told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
Facing mounting pressure, Senate Republicans announced Monday evening that they’d hold a hearing next Monday to look into whether California professor Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers.
But the GOP didn’t consult Democrats before announcing that day. They didn’t even ask Ford if she’d be available to testify then. And while Republican say they are reaching out to others about the alleged incident, Grassley said that he’s only planning on testimony Ford and Kavanaugh. This will limit the committee’s ability to publicly assess other corroborating evidence and more accurately weigh whether Ford’s telling the truth.
The White House and Justice Department haven’t instructed the FBI to investigate the matter, keeping them from probing the facts of the case. Ford has said she’d testify in front of the Senate, but has yet to respond to Republicans’ demand that she appear before the committee on Monday.
Those maneuvers to rush through Kavanaugh’s confirmation in spite of these serious allegations have Democrats incensed.
“We should not be rushing to judgment with a sham hearing on Monday,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said Tuesday, after arguing Ford’s “account is specific, she told her therapist five years ago, she told her friend last year, she passed a polygraph test and she has everything to lose.”
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was visibly enraged by the GOP’s approach.
“What really bothers me and gets me so angry is that the White Wouse is victimizing this person,” she said. “To the men in this country, just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change.”
As Democrats walked away from the microphones at their weekly Senate press conference, Hirono confronted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who was walking to the mics.
“Do the right thing!” she said while pointing at him, according to the Washington Examiner.
McConnell, for his part, said the one-on-one Monday hearing was plenty to hear out both sides.
“It’s pretty obvious this is all about delaying the process, but the accuser has a right to be heard,” he said. “Monday is her opportunity.”
McConnell didn’t answer questions about why other witnesses wouldn’t be allowed to testify.