Brett Kavanaugh launched a bold effort to save his nomination to the US Supreme Court on Monday, lashing out at “smears” and a “grotesque and obvious character assassination” following the emergence of a new allegation of inappropriate sexual behavior.
Kavanaugh made clear that he was having no thoughts of folding his nomination, despite allegations dating to the 1980s, and warned that if his candidacy failed, it would deter people of all political persuasions from entering public service.
“There is now a frenzy to come up with something — anything — that will block this process and a vote on my confirmation from occurring,” Kavanaugh wrote in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee leaders, and made clear he intends to defend himself at a hearing Thursday that will also feature testimony from his original accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.
“The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. The last-minute character assassination will not succeed,” he wrote.
Kavanaugh’s firm personal defense came as President Donald Trump and other top Republicans made a show of rallying round his nomination, sending a signal that the fresh allegations would not, for now, derail his hopes of serving on the court.
“(F)or people to come out of the woodwork from 36 years ago and 30 years ago and never mentioned it and all of a sudden it happens, in my opinion it’s totally political,” Trump said in New York. “It’s totally political.”
The President called his nominee “a fine man with an unblemished past.”
Kavanaugh quickly denied the new accusation by a female former fellow student about an alleged incident when he was at Yale University in the early 1980s. Ford had previously alleged that he sexually assaulted her at a house party in the Washington, DC, suburbs when they were teenagers in high school — an accusation the judge strongly denies.
The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein, responded to the new allegation on Sunday night by calling on the Republican committee chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, to order an “immediate postponement” of any further action on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Her intervention is likely to focus extra scrutiny on the accusation reported by The New Yorker and to raise the stakes even further for Thursday’s hearing at which Kavanaugh is expected to present a vehement defense, which now looms as crucial for his confirmation hopes.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: CNN, Stephen Collinson