Associated Press

Senate Majority Leader McConnell Says 'Far Left' Trying to 'Bully' Kavanaugh with 'Mudslide' of Sexual Misconduct Allegations

October 03, 2018 - 7:51 am
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the "far left" is trying to "bully" Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with a "mudslide" of sexual misconduct allegations.

McConnell in a floor speech Wednesday says the Senate will vote on Kavanaugh's nomination this week. He says senators will not be intimidated by the protesters opposed to Kavanaugh who have been confronting them in the hallways of the Capitol, at airports and at their homes.

McConnell says "there's no chance in the world they're going to scare us out of doing our duty."

The FBI is nearing completion of its expanded investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanagh. Once the Senate receives the FBI's report, Republicans are expected to move toward a vote.

A handful of senators are undecided on Kavanaugh. Their votes will likely decide whether he is confirmed.

Some senators who are considered swing votes on Kavanaugh's confirmation, such as Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, have not yet responded to the comments.

Sen. Susan Collins: The Republican senator from Maine is considered to be one of the critical swing votes in Kavanaugh's confirmation. Although she has voted against some of Mr. Trump's critical legislation, such as repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, she has voted in line with Republican judicial nominees nearly 99 percent of the time.

Collins said Wednesday that Mr. Trump's comments were "just plain wrong."

Sen. Jeff Flake: Flake, a retiring Republican senator from Arizona, is another key vote in Kavanaugh's confirmation. He spearheaded the effort to delay the floor vote on Kavanaugh for one week, so that the FBI could conduct an investigation into allegations against Kavanaugh.

On the "Today Show" Wednesday morning, Flake condemned Mr. Trump's comments.

"No time and place for remarks like that to discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right. It was appalling," he said.

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10:05 a.m.

The FBI has finished an interview with Chris Garrett, a high school friend of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Garrett's lawyer, William Sullivan, says Garrett has voluntarily cooperated with the FBI's reopened background check of Kavanaugh and has finished his interview.

He declined to comment further.

Garrett is at least the fifth person known to have been interviewed by the FBI since last Friday, when the White House directed the FBI to look into allegations of sexual misconduct dating back to Kavanaugh's high school and college years.

Other people questioned include people who were said to have been present at a high school party where California professor Christine Blasey Ford says she was assaulted as a teenager in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.

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9:50 a.m.

A second Republican senator wavering on Brett Kavanaugh is criticizing President Donald Trump's mocking of a woman who's accused the Supreme Court nominee of sexually attacking her in the 1980s.

Susan Collins of Maine tells reporters that Trump's remarks about Christine Blasey Ford were "just plain wrong."

The president, at a rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night, mimicked Ford's responses to questions at a Senate hearing last week when she described her allegations about Kavanaugh.

Another undecided GOP senator also has criticized Trump. Arizona's Jeff Flake tells NBC's "Today" show that Trump's remarks were "kind of appalling."

GOP leaders say an FBI report on Kavanaugh will be completed soon. They plan a Senate vote on him later this week. It is unclear whether he will be confirmed.

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7:20 a.m.

Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake says President Donald Trump's mocking of Brett Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, was "not right" and "kind of appalling."

But Flake isn't saying whether he'll vote to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Ford alleges Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school. He denies the accusation.

Trump mocked Ford at a rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night, listing what he described as holes in her account as his audience laughed.

Flake told NBC's "Today" show Wednesday that mocking "something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right." Flake added, "I wish he hadn't done it. It's kind of appalling."

Flake, who is retiring from the Senate, said last week he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, but then called for an expanded FBI investigation of the accusations, delaying the confirmation timetable. Flake said Wednesday he'd be concerned if the FBI only followed up on a few leads.

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12:16 a.m.

The FBI investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is being questioned by lawyers for two of his accusers.

Attorneys for the woman who says she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh at a party when they were teenagers, Christine Blasey Ford, are asking the FBI why its agents haven't contacted her.

A lawyer for the woman who says Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a college party, Deborah Ramirez, says he's seen no indication that the FBI has reached out to any of the 20 people who Ramirez says may be able to corroborate her account.

In Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is certain that the FBI's report will be finished and the Senate will vote on Kavanaugh's nomination this week.

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