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Republican senators abandon Trump's supreme court nominee
The campaign to delay or annul President Trump's nomination of top-ranked Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court was escalate ...
Monday, September 17, 2018
by Martin Barillas

The campaign to delay or annul President Trump’s nomination of top-ranked Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court was escalated on Monday. An open letter, signed by hundreds of former students who once attended the exclusive Holton-Arms girls preparatory school, broadcasted that Christine Blasey Fords’ alleged sexual assault by Kavanaugh while they were teenagers in the 1980s was “all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending” the school. Ford has accused Kavanaugh of a sexual assault that occurred sometime in the early 1980s. The White House has been dismissive of Ford's account even while delays in Kavanaugh's confirmation are in the offing. 

On Sunday, the Washington Post published an interview with Ford, who sent a confidential letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) detailing how Kavanaugh allegedly held her on a bed, groped her, and tried to remove her clothes. Ford claims that he also covered her mouth when she tried to scream. On Monday, she offered to testify before Congress. Both Feinstein and Senate Minorty Leader Chuck Schumer call Ford's accusations as "credible."

Kavanaugh denied the allegations “categorically and unequivocally,” and added that he “did not do this back in high school or at any time.”  On Monday, a statement from Kavanaugh was released that said that the allegations are "completely false." "I have never done anything like what the accuser describes -- to her or to anyone," Kavanaugh said. "Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday. I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity."

In the open letter, Ford’s former classmates (1967-1988) wrote, “We…are grateful that [Dr. Blassey Ford] came forward to tell her story,” and added, “It demands a thorough and independent investigation before that Senate can reasonably vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to a lifetime seat on the nation’s highest court.” 

“Dr. Blasey Ford’s experience is all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton,” the letter adds. “Many of us are survivors ourselves.” The letter did not, however, provide specific testimony about the alleged encounter between Kavanaugh and Ford, which happened when they were teenagers. At the time, Kavanaugh was a student at Georgetown Prep.

On Friday, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee circulated a list of 65 women who knew Kavanaugh at the time of the alleged assault. The women claimed that “[f]or the entire time we have known Brett Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect.” By Monday, however, only two of the women stood by their initial statement. On Sunday, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee released another statement reiterating their support for Kavanaugh and pointed out that Democrats had not raised the point earlier. 

There are Republicans in the Senate who are raising the possibility that a delay in confirming Kavanaugh is in the offing. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Bob Corker (R-TN), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said that they need more time to consider the accusations. And after signalling initial support of the nomination, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) tweeted on Monday that both Kavanaugh and Ford should testify under oath before the Senate. On Sunday, Collins told CNN that she was “surprised” by the accusations against Kavanaugh. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he is open to hearing Ford, but has not yet said whether a deposition from Kavanaugh is necessary.

Murkowski and Collins were the two pro-abortion Republicans who voted against the Republican reform of health care laws that would have abolished Obamacare. There remains speculation that they may vote against confirming Kavanaugh, based on their own speculation as to how he might vote on future cases about abortion that may be brought before the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh has himself said that abortion is now “settled law.”

Senior counselor to President Trump Kellyanne Conway told Fox News on Monday morning that Ford’s accusations should be heard in sworn testimony. “This woman should not be insulted and she should not be ignored,” Conway said. “I think the Senate is headed to a reasonable approach in that it seems to be allowing this woman to be heard in sworn testimony, allowing Judge Kavanaugh to be heard in sworn testimony.”

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who presides over the Judiciary Committee, said over the weekend that he expects a vote on the nomination will go forward on Thursday. On Monday, Grassley said he is open to hearing Ford’s accusations. “Anyone who comes forward as Dr. Ford has deserves to be heard, so I will continue working on a way to hear her out in an appropriate, precedented and respectful manner,” Grassley said.

Christine Blasey Ford is currently a professor at Palo Alto University in California. She told Emma Brown of the Washington Post for the Sunday article that she is the author of the confidential letter to Sen. Feinstein alleging the assault by Kavanaugh. Ford supposedly kept quiet about the letter out of concern for retaliation, but her sense of “civic responsibility” brought her around. “These are all the ills that I was trying to avoid,” Ford told the newspaper.. “Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and my terror about retaliation.”

Ford claims that she, Kavanaugh and friend Mark Judge were at a party in the early 1980s. She claims that Kavanaugh and Judge were drunk and pulled her into a bedroom. According to the Washington Post: “While his friend watched, she said, 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. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.” 

Ford now says that she thought at the time that Kavanaugh might “inadvertently kill” her. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”

Ford claims that Judge jumped on the pair, causing the trio to tumble. Ford claims that she ran from the room and eventually fled the house. She told the newspaper that she told no one about the alleged incident in detail until she and her husband were receiving therapy in 2012. The Washington Post reviewed the therapist’s notes and found that Ford claims she was attacked by students from “an elitist boys’ school” who eventually became “highly respected and high-ranking members of society.” Those notes, however, do not name Kavanaugh. They do claim that four boys were involved rather than two. Ford blames the therapist for not recording her recollection correctly. 

Unlike many victims of assault or rape, Ford does not recalls essential details about the alleged incident, including how the party was organized, how she managed to go home, or the year it took place. It was not until July that she contacted the newspaper once Kavanaugh was bruited as a nominee for the high court. Ford then first contacted Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and then Sen. Feinstein.

Other motivations for Ford’s letter to congressional Democrats have emerged. 

Ford has been an active donor to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. She was a signatory of a letter this year in which healthcare professionals condemned Trump’s immigration policies. It has also emerged that Kavanaugh’s mother presided as a judge over the bankruptcy trial of Ford’s parents, Ralph G. Blasey and Paula K. Blasey, in Maryland in 1996. Judge Martha G. Kavanaugh presided in case V156006 in a federal circuit court.

Donald Trump Jr. mocked Ford in an Instagram post. He wrote: “Oh boy... the Dems and their usual nonsense games really have him on the ropes now. Feinstein had the letter in July and saved it for the eve of his vote... honorable as always. I believe this is a copy for full transparency. 🤣🇺🇸🤣🇺🇸🤣.”


Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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