Senate Democrats on Sunday called for a delay in this week’s planned committee vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination after a woman said he sexually attacked her decades ago when they were teenagers.
The Washington Post identified Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist and professor at Palo Alto University, as the woman whose accusation threw Kavanaugh’s nomination into chaos when it surfaced last week. The newspaper quoted Ford’s detailed description of the incident, and said it also viewed notes from a 2013 therapy session in which she had called it a “rape attempt.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Judiciary Committee Democrat, called the allegation “extremely serious.” The FBI should investigate it before the Senate moves forward with Kavanaugh’s nomination, she said in a statement.
Taylor Foy, a spokesman for Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, said in a statement it was “disturbing that these uncorroborated allegations” had surfaced shortly before Thursday’s planned committee vote. The statement didn’t say whether there would be any schedule change, and Foy didn’t immediately respond to a query about whether the vote would be delayed. Republicans are aiming for full Senate confirmation of Kavanaugh before the Supreme Court term begins Oct. 1.
Foy said the report “raises a lot of questions about Democrats’ tactics and motives.”
The White House, asked for comment, reiterated the statement from Kavanaugh it released Friday, in which the nominee said, “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”
The Post quoted Ford as saying Kavanaugh and a friend were “stumbling drunk” when they took her into a bedroom during a party in a house in the Maryland suburbs of Washington. Kavanaugh pinned her to the bed and groped her through her clothes, grinding his body against hers and trying to pull off her clothes, the Post quoted Ford as saying. She said that when she tried to scream, he put his hand over her mouth. She said she believed the attack occurred in 1982.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” the Post quoted Ford as saying. She said Kavanaugh’s friend, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them, sending them tumbling, and she was able to escape, the newspaper reported. She said she went home and didn’t tell anyone until she and her husband were in couples therapy in 2012.
The Post said it viewed notes from that session and an individual therapy session the following year. The paper said the 2013 notes showed that Ford described a “rape attempt” in her late teens. Her husband, Russell Ford, told the newspaper that when she described the incident in the 2012 session, she used Kavanaugh’s last name and said she was concerned he might eventually be nominated to the Supreme Court. He has been a federal appeals court judge since 2006.
Ford and her lawyer, Debra Katz, didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.
Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer called on Grassley to postpone the nomination vote “until, at a very minimum, these serious and credible allegations are thoroughly investigated.”
Senator Kamala Harris of California, a Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee, also called for a delay and described Ford’s story in a statement on Twitter as “a credible and serious allegation.”
Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama said it was "more important than ever to hit the pause button on Kavanaugh's confirmation vote until we can fully investigate these serious and disturbing allegations. We cannot rush to move forward under this cloud."
Jones also said it was a "very brave step to come forward."
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