Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, picked apart Democrats' arguments against voting for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh during a lengthy Senate floor speech Friday, calling the nomination process a "circus" cooked up by staunch opposition from the left.
Speaking directly to the person who is alleged to have leaked a letter written by a woman who claimed Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 36 years ago, Collins did not mince words.
"To that leaker who I hope is listening now, let me say that what you did was unconscionable," Collins said. "You have taken a survivor who was not only entitled to your respect, but who also trusted you to protect her. You have sacrificed her well-being in a misguided attempt to win whatever political crusade you think you are fighting.
"My only hope is that your callous act has turned this process into such a dysfunctional circus that it will cause the Senate, and indeed all Americans, to reconsider how we evaluate Supreme Court nominees. If that happens, then the appalling lack of compassion you afforded professor Ford will at least have some unintended positive consequences."
Kavanaugh's nomination process appeared to be on track until nearly three weeks ago, when it was reported that Christine Blasey Ford had accused him of sexual misconduct dating back to when they were in high school. Republicans said it was a political move because the accusation was made public at the last minute.
Collins closed her speech Friday by saying she will vote to confirm Kavanaugh. Aside from citing his judicial record and approach, Collins said she's convinced that Ford's allegation does not meet the standard of "more likely than not."
"Professor Ford's lifelong friend Leland Keyser indicated that under penalty of felony, she does not remember that party [where the alleged assault occurred]. And Ms. Keyser went further: she indicated that not only does she not remember a night like that, but also that she does not even know Brett Kavanaugh," Collins said.
Collins then pointed out the lack of evidence that corroborates Ford's story, including the fact that no one has come forward to say they drove her home that night and that no one has said they were at the party — including the people she indicated were present.
"This is not a criminal trial, and I do not believe that the claims such as these need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt," she said. "Nevertheless, fairness would dictate that the claims at least should meet a threshold of more likely than not as our standard.
"The facts presented do not mean that professor Ford was not sexually assaulted that night or at some other time, but they do lead me to conclude that the allegations failed to meet the more likely than not standard. Therefore, I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court."
The Senate is expected to hold a final confirmation vote on Kavanaugh at some point late Saturday afternoon.
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