Suggesting she’s veering from many of her Republican colleagues — who have effectively labeled the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh a “smear” campaign — Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) made it clear in an interview with The New York Times on Monday that what is brought to light in Thursday’s hearing will determine her confirmation vote.
In her interview with the Times, Murkowski outlined her attempts last week to make sure that Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford — the woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in high school — were able to come to an agreement for a hearing. Murkowski said she even cancelled a meeting she had on Thursday to ensure she is able to closely watch the proceedings to inform her decision on Kavanaugh. She told the Times she takes the allegations made by Blasey Ford, and one other woman, very seriously.
“We are now in a place where it’s not about whether or not Judge Kavanaugh is qualified,” Murkowski told the Times. “It is about whether or not a woman who has been a victim at some point in her life is to be believed.”
Murkowski, along with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and even Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), will be watched closely in coming days as Thursday’s proceedings unfold and the Senate prepares for a confirmation vote, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has privately told colleagues he wants to take place next week.
Both Murkowski and Collins have hedged on Kavanaugh, even before the allegations came to light, over his stance on Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that made abortion legal. Flake, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee set to retire when his term is up, has been vocal about his desire to hear from Blasey Ford before a vote took place.