The revelation of a second woman’s sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh has not changed Senate Republicans’ plans to vote on his nomination to the Supreme Court after a scheduled committee hearing this Thursday for his first accuser.
Senators returned Monday to Washington after a tumultuous six days away from Capitol, during which Kavanaugh’s initial accuser negotiated for a delay in his confirmation hearing to give her a chance to tell her story, a leading light of the conservative legal movement mistakenly accused a Kavanaugh classmate of being the true assailant, and the second accuser came forward.
Yet, the move to delay the hearing until Thursday aside, none of the developments seemed to put at risk a vote on Kavanaugh by the full Senate.
In a floor speech McConnell bashed what he called a “shameful, shameful smear campaign,” while a promising that in the “near future” Kavanaugh “will be voted on here on the Senate floor, up or down.”
Senate Republicans were largely dismissive of the account published by the New Yorker Sunday evening of Deborah Ramirez, who alleged that while in college Kavanaugh exposed his genitals to her.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) called the accusation “phony” and was asked by reporters why he thought it was phony.
“Because I know it is, that’s why,” Hatch said.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the No. 2 in Senate leadership, also brushed off the allegation.
“It sounds to me like she’s admitted she doesn’t — she may have made a misidentification … without it appears any corroboration,” Cornyn said.
The plan continues to be a Thursday Judiciary Committee hearing with Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to go on the record about allegations against Kavanaugh, accusing him of drunkenly assaulting her when they were both in high school.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a closely watched vote on the nomination, indicated to reporters she wouldn’t not be making her mind up until after the hearing.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) was similarly coy.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, key GOP swing vote on Kavanaugh, asked about her reaction to New Yorker article, told us: “We are going to see if she is going to move forward with that allegation”
Asked if she‘s moving closer to a decision, Murkowski said: “There is a hearing on Thursday”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 24, 2018
“You never know where our members are going to ultimately come down, and I expect probably it has a little bit to do, for a few maybe, with how Thursday goes, but I think that a lot of our members are really upset with the tactics Democrats have used,” Sen. John Thune (R-SD), a member of GOP leadership, told reporters.