Kavanaugh Committee Vote Still On For Thursday Despite On-Record Assault Claim

on September 5, 2018 in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 05: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (L) (R-IA) leads Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh (R) to the witness table at the beginning of Kavanaugh's second day of h... WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 05: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (L) (R-IA) leads Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh (R) to the witness table at the beginning of Kavanaugh's second day of his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill September 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. Kavanaugh was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy on the court left by retiring Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS
September 16, 2018 6:07 pm

The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Sunday that it was “disturbing” that an on-the-record allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh would “surface on the eve of a committee vote” on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Taylor Foy, Grassley’s spokesperson, added to the Washington Post’s Seung Min Kim: “The vote hasn’t been rescheduled.”

The allegation itself wasn’t called disturbing. Chairman Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) statement used another word for it: “Uncorroborated.”

But Christine Blasey Ford‘s allegation isn’t uncorroborated: According to the Washington Post, which revealed her name and the details of her story on Sunday, Ford’s claim appears in years-old therapy notes. Her husband recalled hearing about it years ago, too. Ford passed a polygraph test administered by a former FBI agent in August. She reached out to the Post in early July, before Kavanaugh’s nomination was even announced, and later that month described her allegation in a confidential letter to her congresswoman.

Grassley’s statement added: “It raises a lot of questions about Democrats’ tactics and motives to bring this to the rest of the committee’s attention only now rather than during these many steps along the way.”

Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the statement said, “should have brought it to the full Committee’s attention much earlier.”

But Feinstein only acknowledged the existence of unspecified information about Kavanaugh — not even the details of the allegation itself — after it was reported independently by The Intercept. Feinstein said Sunday: “It has always been Mrs. Ford’s decision whether to come forward publicly.”

Ford’s allegation, though some details were previously reported-upon, had not been attached to her name publicly until Sunday.

Now, Senate Democrats are calling for Kavanaugh’s nomination to be paused, in order to allow for a full investigation of the detailed allegation Ford made.

TPM’s requests for comment to the White House press office and to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnnell’s (R-KY) office went unanswered Sunday.

Deputy White House press secretary Lindsay Walters responded to TPM’s request for comment by adding her colleague Raj Shah to the email chain, though Shah had not responded at press time.

CNN reported that Shah gave the network “the same denial Kavanaugh issued previously.”

McConnell’s spokesperson told HuffPost: “If the Leader makes any new scheduling announcements, we’ll be sure to let you know.”

An unnamed lawyer “close to the White House” told Politico that, rather than withdrawing Kavanaugh’s nomination as a result of the allegation, “if anything, it’s the opposite.”

“If somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried,” the unnamed lawyer said. “We can all be accused of something.”

Another unnamed “person working on the nomination” told the outlet that the nomination process will continue unless key Republicans — like Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) or Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — object.

Neither Collins’ nor Murkowski’s offices returned TPM’s request for comment on how the on-the-record allegation changed their thinking about Kavanaugh’s nomination.

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