President says he is with Kavanaugh all the way after New Yorker details fresh allegation of sexual misconduct against supreme court nominee
Brett Kavanaugh vowed on Monday to defend himself against mounting allegations of sexual misconduct as Republican leaders closed ranks and signaled support for the embattled supreme court nominee.
As fresh accusations against Kavanaugh swirled on Monday, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, ignored calls from Democrats to postpone further action on his nomination and announced that a vote would be held in the very near future.
The latest developments set the stage for an extraordinary public hearing on Thursday that could determine the fate of his nomination. Senators will hear public testimony from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, a California college professor who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a high school party.
While I am frightened, please know, my fear will not hold me back from testifying and you will be provided with answers to all of your questions, Ford wrote in a letter to the Senate judiciary chairman, Chuck Grassley. I ask for fair and respectful treatment.
An interview with Kavanaugh, his first since the allegations emerged, is also due to be broadcast on Fox News on Monday night.
The committee is also investigating fresh allegations revealed in the New Yorker on Sunday, which reported that a 53-year-old woman, Deborah Ramirez, accused Kavanaugh of thrusting his genitals in her face at a party when they were freshmen at Yale during the 1983-84 academic calendar.
Ramirez acknowledged that both she and Kavanaugh were inebriated at the time of the alleged incident and that she had some gaps in her memory. But she told the magazine she remembers another student shouting Kavanaughs name and said an FBI investigation was warranted.
The new account roiled an already tumultuous confirmation process and further imperiled his nomination.
These are smears, pure and simple, Kavanaugh said in a statement released by the White House. And they debase our public discourse. But they are also a threat to any man or woman who wishes to serve our country. Such grotesque and obvious character assassination if allowed to succeed will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from service.
I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process, he concluded.
Donald Trump dismissed the allegations as a totally political attempt to stop Republicans cementing a solid conservative majority on the bench. At the United Nations in New York, Trump called his nominee an outstanding person with an unblemished record.
I am with him all the way, Trump said.
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway called the claims a vast leftwing conspiracy and said Kavanaugh should not have to pay for decades of pent-up demands by women for a cultural reckoning on sexual misconduct.
I dont think one mans shoulders should bear decades of the #MeToo movement, Conway told CBS News on Monday morning.
The new accusations were published hours after Ford agreed to testify publicly before the Senate judiciary committee on Thursday. Kavanaugh, who will also testify, has vehemently denied Fords allegation.
Fords lawyers said in a statement on Sunday: Despite actual threats to her safety and her life, Dr Ford believes it is important for senators to hear directly from her about the sexual assault committed against her.
Hours later, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the committees top Democrat, requested an immediate postponement of any further proceedings related to the nomination.
The allegations have deeply polarized the country at a time when the #MeToo movement has toppled powerful men across industries and including in Congress. On Monday, sexual assault survivors and protesters swarmed the Capitol wearing pins that say I believe Dr Christine Blasey Ford, leading to some arrests.
At 1pm, demonstrators gathered in groups around the Capitol as part of a national walkout and moment of solidarity in support of Kavanuaghs accusers.
Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican on the judiciary committee, said on Monday the controversy around Kavanaughs nomination represented a total collapse of the traditional confirmation process. He blamed Democrats for trying to tear apart Trumps agenda by any means possible.
Clearly when it comes to President Trump, elections in the eyes of Democrats have no consequences, the South Carolina senator said in a statement. In my view, the process needs to move forward with a hearing Thursday, and vote in committee soon thereafter.
He was joined by Orrin Hatch of Utah, a senior Republican on the committee, who accused Democrats of leading a coordinated effort to demean the nominee with their partisan games and transparent attempts at character assassination.
No innuendo has been too low, no insinuation too dirty, said Hatch, in a statement urging the committee to hold the hearing on Thursday and vote soon after that. Everything is an excuse for delay, no matter how unsubstantiated.
The New Yorker came under fire for its reporting after the New York Times said its reporters interviewed several dozen people over the past week in an attempt to corroborate [Ramirezs] story, and could find no one with first-hand knowledge.
Reporter Ronan Farrow defended his article, which says Ramirez spoke to the magazine after six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney.
It is not accurate to say that those who knew him at the time dispute this, Farrow told ABC. He said there were several people in this story who back Ms Ramirez.
Also on Sunday night, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels and a leading anti-Trump figure, released an email that he had sent to the Senate judiciary committee on behalf of an unnamed client. In it, he made unsubstantiated claims about Kavanaughs behavior as a teenager in suburban Washington. In an interview with the Guardian, Avenatti said his client would come forward publicly before Thursdays hearing.
If you enjoyed our content, we'd really appreciate some "love" with a share or two.
And ... Don't forget to have fun!