Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

GOP torn on how to handle Kavanaugh assault allegations

World Service - Newsday, Will Kavanaugh accuser testify? Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford moves, hires security
Ellis Copeland | 19 September, 2018, 18:44

Republican senators are urging the Judiciary Committee to vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in a timely manner amid confusion surrounding whether the woman accusing him of sexual assault plans to testify next week. In the letter, Ford said she had received medical treatment after the assault, adding that "it is upsetting to discuss sexual assault and its repercussions, yet I felt guilty and compelled as a citizen about the idea of not saying anything". The committee's Democrats said witnesses should include Kavanaugh's friend Mark Judge, who Ford has said witnessed the alleged incident.

Anita Hill, whose allegation Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her prompted a similar hearing in 1991, told ABC on Wednesday that the Judiciary Committee could be holding "just a sham proceeding" next week without the FBI investigation Ford wants.

"Monday is her opportunity", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday.

Christine Blasey Ford, a professor based in California, has accused Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge, for attempting to rape her in a Maryland suburb outside Washington back in 1982 when they were teenagers. In his testimony during the subsequent hearings on the issue, Thomas said that it was when the Federal Bureau of Investigation raised the issue on September 25 that he first learned of Hill's allegations.

Republicans control the Senate by only a narrow margin, meaning any defections within the party could sink the nomination and deal a major setback to Trump. A vote in committee would be a precursor to action in the full Senate. She told The Washington Post that Judge watched and laughed as Kavanaugh tried to remove her clothes and held his hand over her mouth so she couldn't scream.

A bill to give whistleblower protections to state legislative employees died repeatedly in the Senate, only passing this year, spurred by the #MeToo movement. Senator Dick Durbin said he had "a lot of questions" for Kavanaugh. "We were looking for a way to get it investigated by an outside investigator and what we found is we had to go through (the rules committee) and we were discussing the pros and cons of doing that, so it hasn't been easy".

But Ford's account is quite credible.

Donald Trump expresses sympathy for Supreme Court nominee accused of sex assault
Kavanaugh's best friend in high school , Mark Judge , actually wrote a memoir entitled "Wasted" about his high school days. Senate Republicans seemed to recognize the danger of appearing insensitive, said Ford O'Connell, a Republican strategist.


Here's your deals for National Cheeseburger Day
Wendy's is extending its National Cheeseburger Day 2018 celebration with a deal that lasts almost an entire month. On September 18 and 19, So Connected members can get a free burger with the purchase of an entrée.


Hurricane Florence strengthens to Category 4, SC coast to be evacuated
Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 140 miles per hour (220 kph) as it moved west-northwest at 13 miles per hour (20 kph). State agencies will reverse traffic on US 278 and USA 21 in Beaufort County if conditions warrant, McMaster's office said.


"On Sept. 23, the allegation was brought to the attention of the Judiciary Committee", a White House statement at the time read. At a protest in front of the court when President Trump named Kavanaugh, there were signs reading "Stop Hardiman", "Stop Kethledge", and "Stop Kavanaugh" on site, just in case.

The president, who himself faced multiple accusations of sexual misconduct that emerged during the 2016 presidential election, said he did not meet with Kavanaugh when the nominee visited the White House. Kavanaugh has categorically rejected the claims.

Trump, who nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch after his election win, wants Kavanaugh confirmed by October 1, the start of the next Supreme Court term.

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said she had seen a "callousness from my colleagues that I am totally appalled by", especially if Republicans press forward with a hearing without Ford. We've heard from neither Kavanaugh nor Ford but she's already passing the hat.

Politico reported on Tuesday that Bush said he and his wife, Laura, "have known and respected Brett Kavanaugh for decades". "There are gaps in her memory", AP quoted Cornyn as saying.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee who was first informed of Ford's accusation in July when the woman requested anonymity, denounced Republicans' efforts to limit the hearing to two witnesses.

And there's Patrick Smyth, who Ford alleges was also at the party where the incident is alleged to have occurred and who, through a letter from an attorney, denied the claim.

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