Even as the Senate Judiciary Committee tries to set up a high-stakes showdown between Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a woman accusing him of sexual assault that dates back more than 35 years, the chamber’s top Republican on Friday vowed to confirm him.
Speaking at the Family Research Council’s annual Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). left no doubt how he expects the saga to end.
“You’ve watched the fight. You’ve watched the tactics,” he said.
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“But here’s what I want to tell you: In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.”
The ability of Sen. McConnell (pictured above right) to deliver remains in doubt, however. Increasingly, Kavanaugh’s fate seems dependent on whether and how credibly his accuser testifies — and how a handful of Republican senators regard her performance.
Christine Blasey Ford, a California clinical psychology professor, has said a drunken, teenage Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed during a party, when both were in high school, and tried to tear off her clothes. Kavanaugh (pictured above left) has denied that the allegation has any truth.
On Friday, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to back his nominee and declare that he is “under assault by radical left wing politicians who don’t want to know the answers, and they just want to destroy and delay. Facts don’t matter. I go through this with them every single day in D.C.”
The president also questioned why Ford did not immediately file a criminal complaint.
Meanwhile, 75 women who have known Kavanaugh over the years appeared at a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Friday to attest to his character.
“No matter the hour or the assignment, Brett was always the same — thoughtful, detailed and wise beyond his years,” said Sara Fagen, a friend who recalled their days together in the George W. Bush administration. “And whether you were male or female, white or black, an intern or the chief of staff, Brett was also always the same — respectful, responsive and available.”
Fagen declined to speculate about Ford’s motives and added that she should have the opportunity to make her case under oath.
“But the reason that we know that this allegation is false is because we know Brett Kavanaugh,” she said.
Other women talked about their experiences with Kavanaugh in high school, long before he became a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. These included some who had dated him and remained friends.
Meghan McCaleb, a friend since high school, said Kavanaugh had dated her sister and some of her closest friends. She said she and her friends hung out with Kavanaugh almost every weekend.
“He stood out as the most responsible guy, who treated us with kindness and respect,” she said at the press conference.
Maura Fitzgerald, who knew Kavanaugh when he was a student at Georgetown Prep and later dated him briefly in college, said she was standing by the judge because of her personal experience with him.
“I want to make something clear — very, very clear. For me, this is not political,” she said. “Me being here, my being here, has nothing to do with politics.”
Fitzgerald said she does not believe the accusation.
“The allegation against Brett is inconsistent with everything that I have known about him as a person,” she said. “In both public and private, Brett treated me and everyone I know with respect.”
Laura Cox Kaplan, who grew up in Texas near Kavanaugh’s wife, said both the judge and Ashley Kavanaugh are humble, honorable and generous.
“I am heartbroken over the way this precious family has been treated,” she said.
Progressive activists vowed Friday to keep the pressure on Democrats not to waiver in their opposition to Kavanaugh. CREDO Action pointed to a poll taken after Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) referenced an anonymous allegation but before Ford had come forward publicly as the accuser.
The survey of New York Democrats found that 61 percent believe it is the responsibility of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y) to hold his caucus together in opposition to Kavanaugh.
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“If Chuck Schumer wants to continue leading Senate Democrats, he must lead them in unanimous and unequivocal opposition to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court,” CREDO Action Co-Director Heidi Hess said in a statement.