CLOSINGS: View Closings

Kavanaugh nomination descends into chaos

Plans for a dramatic, clarifying hearing featuring Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh and the woman who accu...

Posted: Sep 19, 2018 6:03 AM
Updated: Sep 19, 2018 6:03 AM

Plans for a dramatic, clarifying hearing featuring Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh and the woman who accused him of sexual assault have descended into chaos and partisan bitterness.

The confusion and bickering between Democrats and Republicans set off by Christine Blasey Ford's allegations are casting a darkening cloud over Kavanaugh's hopes of being swiftly confirmed and cementing a conservative majority on the court in a huge win for President Donald Trump.

Brett Kavanaugh

Christine Blasey Ford

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Misc people

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Politics

US federal government

US political parties

US Republican Party

White House

Government organizations - US

US federal court system

US Supreme Court

Mark Judge

US Congress

US Democratic Party

US Senate

Conservatism

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Society

US Department of Justice

US federal departments and agencies

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Midterm elections

Senate Democrats are demanding a delay in the hearing scheduled for Monday to allow for time for an FBI probe into the allegations which Kavanagh has categorically denied.

But Trump Tuesday rejected Democratic demands for the bureau to look at Ford's claims that she was assaulted by a drunken Kavanaugh when they were teenagers at a house party outside Washington in the 1980s.

"I don't think the FBI really should be involved because they don't want to be involved," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

"Judge Kavanaugh is anxious to do this. I don't know about the other party. But Judge Kavanaugh is anxious to do it," Trump said, sticking to his unusual show of restraint on the drama.

Attention is now also turning to Kavanaugh's past and behavior around the time of the alleged assault on his fellow high schooler, who is now a California professor and came forward on Sunday about her previously anonymous claims.

The optics of Monday's planned hearing are also coming into focus, given that the 11 Republican senators who hold the key to passing the nomination out of committee are all middle aged or elderly men and face an acutely sensitive task fraught with political risk when they cross examine Ford, at one of the most agonizing and personal moments of her life.

Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii accused the Republicans of not being sufficiently sensitive to women's concerns about the allegations.

"Of course it helps that there are women on that committee. ... But really, guess who's perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It's the men in this country. And I just want to say to the men in this country: Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change."

Meanwhile, Ford has not yet agreed to appear. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said Tuesday on Hugh Hewitt's radio show that Ford had not responded to multiple requests to do so. On Monday, her lawyer had said her client would be prepared to testify to Congress.

'We must not repeat the mistake'

Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday sought to build on apparent Democratic momentum after Republicans were left with little choice but to delay Thursday's previously scheduled committee vote on Kavanaugh and call for the public hearing.

"We must not repeat the mistake of the Anita Hill hearings," Schumer said, referring to the 1991 confirmation hearings in which the former attorney accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment that in subsequent years came to be seen as one of the most notorious moments in recent congressional history.

"They were rushed. They were a debacle. Do we want to repeat that mistake?"

Democrats want a full FBI investigation into the allegations, but Republicans are keen to avoid any more delays in the nomination -- which represents a vital deliverable to their voters in the midterm elections and will cement a conservative majority on the Court, possibly for a generation.

The top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, said that unless there was an investigation, the hearing should not go ahead.

"The important thing is to get this investigated," she said, adding that if the FBI doesn't investigate the allegation, "I think it should be delayed."

In the hours after Ford came forward, Kavanaugh pushed for immediate hearings so he could publicly deny the allegations, a source told CNN's Ariane de Vogue. The judge was back at the White House on Tuesday preparing his defense after spending all day there on Monday.

One of the big risks for Kavanaugh is the six days until the hearing are likely be filled with speculation about his past and potentially new revelations that could reflect poorly on his character and adversely impact his credibility as a witness.

'Tales of a Gen X Drunk'

There is increasing interest in Washington on the other person who Ford has said was in the room at a house party in the Washington suburbs while the alleged drunken assault, when she was 15 years old, took place.

The man, Kavanaugh's old friend Mark Judge, a journalist and filmmaker, has also denied that the incident happened.

"It's just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way," Judge told The Weekly Standard in an interview on Friday. CNN has been unable to reach Judge for comment despite repeated attempts.

But in a book "Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk," he details his experiences of extensive drinking while attending Georgetown Preparatory School, where Kavanaugh was also a student.

Judge writes that he is "shocked" about what he got away with in high school -- recalling beach parties that hundreds of people would attend.

At another point he describes his high school as "positively swimming in alcohol" and references a "Bart O'Kavanaugh," who he writes vomited in someone's car.

It has not been confirmed whether this is a reference to the Supreme Court nominee in his younger days.

Judge said he had "no memory" of the alleged incident in a letter to the Judiciary Committee Tuesday and his lawyer said he has no plans to speak publicly

"Brett Kavanaugh and I were friends in high school but I do not recall the party described in Dr. Ford's letter. More to the point, I never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes," Judge wrote.

But the book is certain to fuel questions about Kavanaugh's character among Democrats on the Judiciary Committee on Monday and the party is demanding that Judge should be asked to testify under oath.

The gender balance of the hearing is also becoming an issue. The Judiciary Committee has 21 members, 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats. None of the GOP senators are women. There are four female senators among the Democratic ranks.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who is not on the committee but represents a potentially decisive Republican vote on Kavanaugh in the full Senate, said Tuesday that she would talk to GOP leaders about having attorneys representing Kavanaugh and Ford do the questioning to begin with, before turning over to committee members.

Republicans cannot afford any perception that they are bullying Ford, given the deep hole the party is already experiencing with female voters with the midterm elections only seven weeks away.

"It is not unheard of to have the counsel do the questioning," she said noting the past precedent with the Watergate hearings. "We have two very experienced trial attorneys that are representing the judge and the professor. And with all due respect to my colleagues on the committee they may be able to elicit more information."

The fact that both attorneys are women, "might be helpful as well" given the optics of the all male Republican panel on the committee, she said.

But Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah said the gender imbalance on the committee would not be a problem.

"That is something I am sure they (Democrats) will point out. But the fact of the matter is you have some of the most decent people in the Senate as Republican members of the judiciary committee," Hatch said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 292811

Reported Deaths: 6613
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19515228
Hinds18611385
Harrison16431275
Rankin12543261
Jackson12419216
Lee9641160
Madison9378194
Jones7857145
Forrest7094136
Lauderdale6760225
Lowndes5998137
Lamar581180
Lafayette5698113
Washington5135128
Bolivar4580120
Oktibbeha438691
Panola424992
Warren4101113
Pearl River4083128
Pontotoc406668
Marshall398392
Monroe3977126
Union392173
Neshoba3758166
Lincoln3447100
Hancock338673
Leflore3349118
Sunflower316685
Tate299874
Pike298293
Scott291867
Alcorn289660
Itawamba288571
Yazoo283262
Tippah275465
Copiah273957
Coahoma272666
Simpson270778
Prentiss267658
Leake251370
Wayne250540
Marion249878
Covington247178
Grenada244676
Adams232877
George229845
Newton223151
Winston220274
Tishomingo211465
Jasper211244
Attala205969
Chickasaw200550
Holmes181470
Clay177848
Stone171129
Tallahatchie169239
Clarke168271
Calhoun155527
Smith151531
Yalobusha142236
Greene126533
Walthall123340
Noxubee122629
Perry120934
Montgomery120537
Lawrence119021
Carroll117223
Amite110732
Webster109229
Jefferson Davis99931
Tunica98023
Claiborne97329
Benton92524
Humphreys91326
Kemper89422
Quitman76614
Franklin75419
Choctaw69416
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61027
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 490220

Reported Deaths: 9744
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson704661342
Mobile35810721
Madison32203443
Tuscaloosa23961409
Montgomery22417489
Shelby21773211
Baldwin19635272
Lee14883147
Morgan13571248
Etowah13118312
Calhoun13090283
Marshall11212203
Houston10036257
Limestone9321133
Elmore9313179
Cullman8864177
St. Clair8771220
Lauderdale8570210
DeKalb8419173
Talladega7450162
Walker6492249
Jackson6466102
Autauga617285
Blount6072125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5229100
Dale4614106
Russell401431
Franklin397675
Covington3948105
Chilton383196
Escambia376670
Tallapoosa3559139
Clarke342749
Dallas3396140
Chambers3393103
Pike292771
Lawrence281284
Marion280793
Winston245665
Bibb243759
Marengo238554
Geneva238468
Pickens223554
Barbour209550
Hale208464
Fayette199356
Butler195165
Henry182341
Cherokee176338
Monroe165638
Randolph162740
Washington156233
Crenshaw143353
Clay143254
Macon140543
Cleburne136539
Lamar131632
Lowndes130148
Wilcox120825
Bullock116534
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98231
Coosa86823
Greene86732
Choctaw54723
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 59°
Columbus
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 63°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 59°
Starkville
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 63°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather