The Senate Judiciary Committee needs to postpone Thursday's planned vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until members can get to the bottom of allegations of sexual assault that have surfaced against him, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin said Monday.
"We cannot ignore it," the Illinois Democrat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"It is an important issue. We need to have a fair hearing for both Judge Kavanaugh and certainly for Dr. [Christine Blasey] Ford."
Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her while they were both teenagers in Maryland during the 1980s. D.C. attorney Debra Katz, who is representing her, said Monday her client is willing to testify under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee and that she has passed a polygraph test.
Kavanaugh called the accusation "completely false" Monday, and said he is willing to talk to the Judiciary Committee in any way it deems is appropriate.
Durbin also defended Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to whom Ford wrote a letter about her claims in July, for not releasing the information.
"Sen. Feinstein was in a dilemma," said Durbin. "She had important allegations, but she had a person who did not want to become public with them. I think Sen. Feinstein did what she could."
Durbin said he first heard about the allegations nine days ago, when he got a call from another committee member, and he thinks it is important that Ford is not victimized.
"It took time for her where she would want to become public," he said. "This woman's statement that she is willing to testify puts the burden on us and we need to show our respect for due process on the Senate Judiciary Committee."
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