Politics

Hatch Says Democrat Tactics Risk Hurting Kavanaugh, Ford, and the Public Trust

Senior senator from Utah shared a stern message for his colleagues on the other side of the aisle

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Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Wednesday accused Democrats of putting both political sides at risk by their handling of, and their response to, the sexual assault allegations leveled against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“The bottom line, first and foremost: There is a process to vet, investigate, and evaluate claims like these in an apolitical way, outside of the public eye,” Hatch’s office tweeted.

“Democrats circumvented that process, risking damage to Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh, and public trust.”

Christine Blasey Ford, a psychologist based in California, is accusing the nominee of sexually assaulting her back when they were teenagers in high school in the Washington, D.C., area.

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Kavanaugh has adamantly denied those allegations from the moment they first started spreading last week.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has since canceled his first vote and scheduled a hearing to address the allegations on Monday.

Related: Kavanaugh Denies Dems’ 11th-Hour Sexual Assault Allegations

Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and some others became aware of the allegations months before, upon receiving a letter from the alleged victim. But they decided not to go forward with making the letter public after being asked by Ford to keep it confidential.

Feinstein referred the allegations to the FBI once the letter was leaked to the public.

Hatch included the tweet in a thread that built upon an op-ed he wrote for The Washington Examiner. He expressed his concern over the politically underhanded way in which the allegations came to light while detailing how the committee has responded in line with proper procedure.

Ford and her lawyers argued the hearing is happening too soon and that the FBI should investigate first. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) responded by noting that she was offered a public or a private hearing along with staff-led interviews.

“Chairman Grassley has delayed the committee vote, offered open or closed hearings, and even offered to send committee staff to California at Dr. Ford’s convenience,” Hatch’s office also tweeted. “We remain hopeful that we’ll have an opportunity to hear from her.”

Related: Democrats Renew Calls to Delay Kavanaugh Vote Amid Sexual Assault Scandal

Grassley has repeatedly said the alleged victim deserves to be heard while also questioning the timing of the allegations.

Senate Democrats didn’t bring up the allegations for months, including during a four-day confirmation hearing. The letter was then leaked less than a week before the committee was scheduled to vote on whether to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate.

Senate Democrats have called for his nomination to be delayed ever since it was announced July 9.

The sexual assault allegations are the latest in a series of reasons they have cited for why the process should be halted. They could potentially improve their chances of stopping him if they’re able to delay a final vote until after the midterm elections.

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