Politics

Haley Sees ‘Way Too Much Politics’ in Kavanaugh Confirmation Fight

'Every accuser always deserves the right to be heard' — as does all of those accused, according to U.N. ambassador

Image Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley urged senators on Sunday to remove politics from the process of conducting hearings with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

“We see way too much politics in this,” Haley told CBS “Face the Nation” guest host John Dickerson. “And I think at the end of the day the goal is the truth. And you do that in a way that’s not with a lot of fanfare. You do it in a way that’s with a lot of respect … I think that’s what the American public wants to see.”

Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, delivered the same message on the cable outlet.

“Every accuser always deserves the right to be heard … At the same time, I think the accused deserves the right to be heard,” Haley told CNN’s “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper. “The Senate has a huge responsibility here. They have to make sure it’s fair. They have to make sure it’s responsible. And they have to take the politics out.”

The Washington Post last week identified Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor of psychology, as the formerly anonymous woman who, in a letter made public by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a house party in the 1980s when the two were high schoolers.

Kavanaugh categorically denied the allegation, and each of the individuals Ford indicated were present at the party, including Mark Judge, Patrick Smyth and Leland Keyser, have since said they do not recall any such party ever taking place. Keyser, a longtime friend, said she believes Ford even though she has no recollection of the event.

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Ford is tentatively scheduled to testify Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee after the panel’s chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), agreed to six of her 10 demands concerning the circumstances of her appearance, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Graham was interviewed on “Fox News Sunday” by host Chris Wallace.

Related: Ambassador Nikki Haley Calls Human Rights Council U.N.’s Greatest Failure

Two points on which the committee declined to accept Ford’s demands for changes were that witnesses will include only Kavanaugh and Graham, and that Ford will be interviewed by Republicans’ legal counsel.

“We’re not going to turn over to the other side how many witnesses to call. There will be two witnesses, Dr. Ford, then Judge Kavanaugh, and we’ll hire our own counsel,” said Graham, a Republican member of the judiciary panel.

“If they continue to contest those two things, there won’t be a hearing. If they really want to be heard, they can be heard in a small room with a lot of security, limited press availability, she’ll be treated fairly. But we’re not going to turn the hearing over to her lawyers,” Graham said.

Wallace noted during the program on which Graham was interviewed that all 10 Democrats on the judiciary panel had been invited to appear but declined to do so for the second consecutive week.

“If they continue to contest those two things, there won’t be a hearing … But we’re not going to turn the hearing over to her lawyers.”

Ford’s legal team includes attorneys Debra Katz, a long-time Democratic contributor, and former Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Bromwich. Bromwich is also representing fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Ford’s political advisers include Ricki Seidman, a congressional and Democratic campaign veteran. Seidman is an expert on mounting character attacks on Republican Supreme Court nominees, having previously worked as an investigator for Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), who led the assault on Robert Bork.

That assault on President Ronald Reagan’s choice was so vicious that it spawned the term “Borking,” for when opponents of an individual launch multiple false allegations against his or her character and conduct.

Seidman was also involved in the Borking of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas when he was nominated by President George H.W. Bush. Thomas called the Democrats’ lurid allegations against him a “high-tech lynching.”

Related: Nikki Haley + Pricey Curtains = A New Swipe at Trump

Haley, for her part, is experienced in dealing with fallout stemming from false accusations. A story published last week by The New York Times suggested that she was responsible for the purchase of $52,701 worth of curtains for the ambassador’s residence in New York City.

In fact, the curtains were ordered under Haley’s Obama administration predecessor,  Samantha Power. The Times subsequently added a mea culpa to the story, but the damage had been done.

President Donald Trump said in a Friday tweet that Ford or her parents would have gone to the police had the alleged attack been as serious as she has described it.

Asked by CNN’s Tapper about Trump’s tweet, Haley said, “The message I’m comfortable with is that accusers go through a lot of trauma. And some handle it one way and some handle it the other way.”

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.

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