On the heels of today’s bombshell self-disclosure by the woman who has accused Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her while in high school, Senate Judiciary Committee member Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has told a reporter from The Washington Post that he now believes that the committee should postpone its vote on the nomination until they hear more from the accuser.
NEWS: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) tells me in an intv he that doesn’t think the Judiciary Cmte should move ahead with its Thursday vote on Kavanaugh until they hear more from Christine Blasey Ford. “For me, we can’t vote until we hear more.”
— Sean Sullivan (@WaPoSean) September 16, 2018
Palo Alto University psychology professor Christine Blassey Ford revealed her identity to The Washington Post today and gave further details about the attack. Now that the accusations can be attributed to an individual rather than an anonymous source, the chances that they can actually have an effect on a confirmation process that the Republican majority has been hell-bent on railroading through the Senate—despite the credible allegations that their nominee told multiple lies during his hearing—is considerably stronger.
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Most Republican Senators have nonetheless rushed to defend Kavanaugh despite the newly identified charges. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and John Neely Kennedy (R-LA) both expressed their concerns that Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) had access to the information that Professor Ford alleges since July before finally referring the then-anonymous victim’s story to the FBI for investigation. The Senators questioned why the accusations did not come up during the actual committee hearings earlier in the week.
“The questions that we will ask and seek answers to next week are, ‘Why sit on it for weeks?’ We understand that the person who wrote the letter is not willing to come forward. So we have a confidential witness not willing to sit down at least in a closed setting — that’s problematic to me,” Tillis told CBS’s Face The Nation.
Senator Kennedy made a similar statement to Fox News Sunday:
“Senator Feinstein’s had the letter since July,” he said. “For three months, she said nothing, nothing, zero, nada, zilch. She didn’t say anything in the confirmation hearing, she didn’t say anything in our confidential session with Judge Kavanaugh when the senators and nominee met privately. And now, after it’s all over, she produces the letter.”
Now that the woman has identified herself, however, their colleague Senator Flake is at least willing to postpone a final vote to refer the nomination to the full Senate until Professor Ford can testify as to her experience with Kavanaugh.
Ford has said that: “Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth,” according to the story in The Washington Post.
Republicans have a major dilemma on their hands now with the midterm elections so close. They can appease their conservative evangelical base by pushing through the nomination of a judge that many see as their best hope to reverse the Roe v. Wade decision and eliminate women’s established reproductive rights, or they can risk alienating millions of female voters by providing a virtual rerun of Clarence Thomas’s controversial nomination process where the allegations of his sexual harassment of Anita Hill were ignored in a time before the #MeToo movement had gained the momentum it has today.
With Senator Flake already a lame duck due to his impending retirement from the Senate, the vocal Trump critic has little to risk politically by delaying the nomination process until Professor Ford can tell her story to the committee in person. Let’s hope that this time he backs up his words with actions that can prevent the confirmation of another sexual predator to the nation’s highest court.
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