Both of Missouri’s senators want their colleagues to investigate allegations of sexual assault against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
It comes as Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the high court was expected to get a key vote later this week.
Christine Blasey Ford told the Washington Post that Kavanaugh forced himself on her at a party more than three decades ago when they were teens. The Californiacollege professor told the Post 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.”
Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said in a statement that “these are serious allegations that need to be looked at closely by the committee before any other action is taken.”
And Blunt’s Democratic colleague, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, said in her own statement that she’s “deeply troubled by these allegations.”
“They should be examined thoroughly and fairly by the Judiciary Committee without any artificial timeline,” McCaskill said.
Both Blunt and McCaskill’s remarks are notable because the Judiciary Committee was supposed to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination on Thursday. Both senators’ statements indicate that such a decision should be delayed. And on Monday afternoon, the New York Times reported that a final vote won't be happening this week because Kavanaugh and Ford will be called to testify next Monday.
This comes as Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who is seen as a key swing vote in Kavanaugh’s nomination, said earlier Monday that “Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh should both testify under oath before the Judiciary Committee.”
Before Ford’s allegations were made public, Blunt had announced his support for Kavanaugh’s nomination. McCaskill, who is in a close re-election matchup with GOP Attorney General Josh Hawley, has yet to say how she’ll vote.
Hawley has often made support of Kavanaugh’s nomination a major element of his stump speeches — and reiterated that point during and after a Missouri Press Association forum Friday. On Monday, he said in a statement he was concerned U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, and the Democrats "waited until the last hour to bring this 30-year old allegation to light."
“The Democrats have played politics with this entire process and were opposed to Brett Kavanaugh before he was even nominated. They don’t care about the truth," Hawley said. "I believe allegations of sexual misconduct should never be disregarded. That’s why it’s important that both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh be heard immediately and under oath.”
Trump nominated Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court after Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement. If he gets confirmed by the GOP-controlled Senate, it could tilt the court in a more-conservative direction for the foreseeable future.
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