The Latest: GOP bringing in Arizona prosecutor for hearing
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh (all times local):
Senate Republicans are bringing in Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to handle questioning about allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
A news release from committee chairman Chuck Grassley’s office describes Mitchell as “a career prosecutor with decades of experience prosecuting sex crimes.”
Mitchell worked in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix as the chief of the Special Victims Division, which covers sex crimes and family violence.
Republicans have been trying to hire outside counsel for the hearing with Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexual assault when they were teens. They say they want to avoid an overtly political process. But the panel’s all-male lineup on the GOP side also prefers to have a woman questioning Ford.
The attorney for the second woman to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct says Senate Judiciary Committee GOP staffers are involved in “game playing.”
John Clune said he was supposed to talk Tuesday evening with staffers about how his client, Deborah Ramirez, can tell her story. But Republicans kept changing conditions of the call. He says at one point they demanded all evidence before they’d pick up the phone. In the end, Clune joined the call and found no GOP staffers there.
Clune told CNN’s Anderson Cooper: “There’s a lot of game playing that’s going on with the majority party.”
Clune reiterated that Ramirez wants an FBI investigation into her claims that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a drinking game at Yale University 35 years ago. Kavanaugh denies it.
The attorney for Brett Kavanaugh’s second accuser says his client wants to give a sworn statement to the FBI.
John Clune tweets that he’s been trying to talk to Senate Judiciary Committee staffers about how Deborah Ramirez can swear to her account of sexual misconduct by President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Ramirez told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh exposed his genitals to her during a party at Yale 35 years ago.
“Ms. Ramirez is ready to swear to the FBI under penalty of perjury,” Clune tweeted. “Why won’t the Senate Judiciary Committee welcome that?”
The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote Friday on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
The committee vote is being set for the day after Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford are to testify about her allegation he sexually assaulted her when they were teens. That public hearing is set for Thursday.
The committee scheduled the vote as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday he was moving forward with Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s claim and that of another woman who has come forward with an allegation from his time at Yale.
The committee will be voting on whether to recommend Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate.
Senators were told to be prepared for a rare weekend session and McConnell said he was confident Kavanugh would be confirmed.
Democratic Sen. Patty Murray says President Donald Trump is sending the wrong message by diminishing the account of a woman who’s accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct while both were students at Yale.
Trump says Deborah Ramirez acknowledges being drunk and having gaps in her memory, casting doubt on her account.
Murray asked, “How many women have heard that before? How many women have kept their experiences quiet because they knew they would hear that?”
Kavanaugh has denied Ramirez’s accusation.
The Washington state senator was elected in 1992, a year after explosive hearings involving then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Murray says Thomas’s accuser, Anita Hill, was not treated fairly.
She says, “I have been very, very focused on making sure that this time around, 27 years later, this Senate acts appropriately.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s confident Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the Supreme Court.
McConnell told reporters Tuesday the Senate is “moving forward” on the nomination.
The GOP leader says he’s “confident we’re going win.”
Pressed if he had the 50 votes needed for Kavanaugh amid sexual assault allegations from the judge’s time as a teenager, the Kentucky Republican indicated he did.
McConnell says he’s confident Kavanaugh “will be confirmed in the very near future.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hear Thursday from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexual assault from high school. The committee could vote Friday.
Senators may stay in session over the weekend to begin voting on the nominee, with a final vote possible early next week.
Senate Republicans are considering a weekend session to begin the process of voting on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
A final vote on Kavanaugh could come early next week, according to a GOP aide not authorized to discuss the plans on the record and who insisted on anonymity.
Kavanaugh is set to appear Thursday for a Judiciary Committee hearing with Christine Blasey Ford, who accuses him of sexual assault when they were teens. Kavanaugh denies the allegation.
After the hearing, the Judiciary panel could vote as soon as Friday on whether to recommend Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the full Senate. Then the Senate could take up the nomination over the weekend. Senators are being told to keep their schedules open.
Republicans worry that prolonging the process for Kavanaugh would open him to more rumors and accusations about his past, which they say are being orchestrated by Democrats.
Republicans have hired a female attorney to handle questioning during this week’s hearing with Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The attorney’s name has not been released. The hire was confirmed by a GOP aide to the Senate Judiciary Committee who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Ford’s lawyers have objected to Republicans hiring someone they call an “experienced sex crimes prosecutor.” They say the move is inconsistent with the GOP pledge to avoid a “circus.”
Attorney Michael R. Bromwich asked Republicans for the name of the attorney and the opportunity to meet with her before Thursday’s hearing.
Republicans want a woman to conduct their questioning of Ford, who accuses Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teens. Kavanaugh denies the allegation.
All 11 Republicans on the Senate panel are men.
12: 15 p.m.
The attorney for the second woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct says she wants an FBI investigation.
Attorney John Clune tweeted that he is in contact with the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said: “We remain adamant that an FBI investigation, where all witnesses are questioned under threat of perjury, is the only way to get the truth.”
Clune said his client, Deborah Ramirez, stands by her account of drunken wrongdoing by Kavanaugh that she told to The New Yorker. The account was published Sunday.
Ramirez alleges that while in his first year at Yale University, Kavanaugh put his genitals in her face after a drinking game. Kavanaugh denies the accusation.
President Donald Trump says Democrats are playing a “con game” against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Trump is seeking to cast doubt on sexual misconduct allegations lodged against Kavanaugh by a Yale classmate, Deborah Ramirez, who made her claims in an article published in The New Yorker magazine.
Trump says Ramirez says it might not have been Kavanaugh and there were gaps in her memory. He says she says “she was totally inebriated and all messed up.”
Trump says: “This is a con game being played by the Democrats.”
Kavanaugh is set to testify Thursday at a public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, is also expected to testify.
A key Republican senator is indicating she believes there should be a new FBI investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after allegations of sexual misconduct.
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is one of a handful of Senate Republicans undecided on Kavanaugh’s confirmation. When asked Tuesday if there should be a full FBI investigation about the claims, she said: “Well, it would sure clear up all the questions, wouldn’t it?”
President Donald Trump and most Senate Republicans have said an FBI investigation isn’t needed. Kavanaugh and his initial accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, will testify Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ford says he sexually assaulted her when both were teenagers.
A second woman told the New Yorker magazine that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her in college. Kavanaugh denies both claims.
The Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell owes Christine Blasey Ford an apology for calling her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh a smear job.
Schumer says “he should apologize to her immediately.”
Two women have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct decades ago. He has denied sexually assaulting anyone.
Schumer, the minority leader, also says it is galling that McConnell is making charges of partisanship by Democrats. He says McConnell has done more than maybe anyone else to politicize the Supreme Court nomination process.
Schumer says that if McConnell truly believed the allegations were a partisan attack, he would join Democrats in calling for a background investigation.
Schumer says “I think they’re afraid of the facts.”
The Senate’s top Republican says unconfirmed, decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh are no reason to block his Supreme Court nomination.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says such charges are “nowhere near” a reason to “nullify someone’s career.” He says in the United States, accused people are supposed to be treated with fairness and a presumption of innocence.
McConnell’s emphasis on fairness comes as Republican leaders have ramped up efforts to solidify support for Kavanaugh among GOP senators.
Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of molesting her during an early 1980s high school party. Deborah Ramirez has said Kavanaugh forced her to touch his penis during a Yale dormitory party when both were freshmen. Kavanaugh has denied both allegations.
McConnell says the Senate will vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation soon.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says “we would be open” to Deborah Ramirez, a second woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, testify before the Senate Judiciary panel this week.
Sanders says that “process could take place on Thursday,” when Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has separately accused him of assaulting her in high school, are scheduled to testify.
She says President Donald Trump “has said a number of times these individuals should be heard.” At the same time, she noted that Kavanaugh has been “unequivocal in his denial” of sexual assault allegations. She adds, “This is a country where you’re innocent until proven guilty except when you’re a conservative Republican.”
Republicans have accused Democrats of a smear campaign by using the women’s accusations of misconduct by Kavanaugh in high school and college to try to defeat his nomination.
Brett Kavanaugh says he won’t let “false accusations” drive him from his quest to win Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court. That’s part of an aggressive drive by President Donald Trump and top Republicans to rally the public and GOP senators behind Kavanaugh’s teetering nomination.
Trump and Republican leaders are accusing Democrats of a smear campaign by using accusations by two women of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh in the 1980s to try scuttling his Senate confirmation.
There were no immediate indications that the emergence of a second accuser had fatally wounded Kavanaugh’s prospects. But Republicans tried projecting unflinching support for Kavanaugh that included the nominee taking the unusual step of defending himself in a television interview.
Kavanaugh said Monday on Fox News Channel, “I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.”