Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Trump defends court nominee Kavanaugh, wants to hear from accuser

Actress and alumna of Bethesda school signs letter in support of Kavanaugh's accuser Showdown between Kavanaugh, accuser scheduled for next week
Ellis Copeland | 19 September, 2018, 20:23

Lawyers for the woman who is accusing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault more than 30 years ago says she wants the FBI to investigate her allegation before she testifies publicly.

"In the 36 hours since her name became public, Dr. Ford has received a stunning amount of support from her community and from fellow citizens across our country", Ford's attorneys, Debra S. Katz and Lisa J. Banks, said in the letter to Grassley. In those 1991 Supreme Court nomination hearings, Anita Hill accused Thomas, her former boss, of sexual harassment.

"This is different circumstances, occurring in a whole different time", says Manley, warning about "blowback" if Republicans try to overreach and impugn Ford's motives for coming forward.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday stepped up his defense of his U.S. Supreme Court pick, saying it is hard to imagine Brett Kavanaugh committed a sexual assault and that it would be unfortunate if the nominee's accuser does not testify before the Senate.

But there is also potential for overreach for the #MeToo movement - and Democrats - if they argue that one incident, allegedly carried out by a drunken 17-year-old Kavanaugh, disqualifies an otherwise stellar legal career and seemingly upright character.

On Tuesday, Ford's lawyers sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is handling Kavanaugh's confirmation, insisting that the FBI investigate her charge before she testifies to the committee. He declined to say whether Kavanaugh had offered to withdraw, dismissing the question as "ridiculous". He said senators hearing Ford's accusations, if she testifies, "will open it up and they will do a very good job" considering Ford's allegations and Kavanaugh's denial.

Republicans have said they don't think they need an FBI investigation.

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.


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A Kavanaugh friend, Mark Judge, who Ford has also said was present during the assault, previously told Grassley through a lawyer he did not want to speak publicly.

Ford claims that at a party when both were teenagers in the early 1980s, an intoxicated Kavanaugh trapped her in a bedroom, pinned her on a bed, tried to undress her and forced his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream. Her family has relocated, they said. "I have said from the beginning that these are very serious allegations and she deserves to be heard".

"Nothing the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee, so there is no reason for any further delay". But winning the short game might mean losing the long game if Republicans hold the Senate and confirm a pro-lifer in his stead who votes to overturn Roe with no similar asterisk. "I hope Republican Voters, and others, are watching and studying, the Democrats Playbook".

Speaking to reporters as he left the White House for a trip to visit flood damages in North Carolina, Trump said he "really wants to see" Christine Blasey Ford testify on Monday. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Judiciary Committee Democrat.

Meanwhile Mr Trump has said he is not anxious about what his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is co-operating with the USA special counsel's probe into Russian election meddling, will tell prosecutors, as long as he is truthful.

Yet a few Republicans have suggested there may have to be a delay, at least in the Judiciary vote on the nominee - which was scheduled for this Thursday - in order to hear from Ford.

"No, I'm not", Mr Trump said when asked if he was concerned what Manafort might say. That begins with protecting Ford from intimidation and threats - and taking her story seriously.

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