The Senate Judiciary Committee will proceed to a planned vote on Supreme Court Nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh Thursday, sources tell Breitbart News Monday.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is, according to these sources, refusing to yield to pressure over allegations of a high school attack revealed by Democrats over the weekend. Since July, Ranking Member Diane Feinstein (D-CA) had possession of a letter from California professor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, claiming that Kavanaugh and another teenager had forced her into a room at a 1982 party where Kavanaugh forced himself on her before she escaped.
Feinstein declined to introduce the letter at any point before or during the four-day public hearings on Kavanaugh’s nomination, but went public after media reports of the letter began to surface.
The Republican leadership came under intense pressure not only from Senate Democrats, but from moderate Republicans like Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who indicated they would not vote for Kavanaugh without hearing Ford’s accusations out. Democrats like Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) explicitly took this as support for his call to delay the vote.
Two sources close to the confirmation process, however, told Breitbart News that Republicans will not yield to that pressure. One claimed the Thursday vote would occur “no matter what.” The other confirmed that Chairman Grassley remains “completely committed” to the originally scheduled Thursday vote.
Both sources also indicated Judge Kavanaugh will speak on a conference call with the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday night, where he will directly address Ford’s accusations. He has already twice categorically denied he attacked Ford and reports indicate he told Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) Monday that he was not at the party in question.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also addressed the matter on the Senate floor Monday afternoon.
“I am glad that Chairman Grassley is following standard practice and regular order. As he’s stated, he plans to pursue this matter by the book, with bipartisan interviews of both Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford,” he said, criticizing Grassley’s Democratic counterpart, Sen. Feinstein, over her handling of the matter:
Neither she nor any of her Democratic colleagues chose to raise this allegation during the committee staff’s bipartisan background calls with the nominee. They did not raise it, even with the name redacted, in the 65 meetings Judge Kavanaugh held with Senators before his confirmation hearings, including his private meeting with the Ranking Member. They did not raise it, even with the name redacted, in four days of exhaustive public hearings while Judge Kavanaugh testified under oath — even though they chose to raise myriad other matters at the hearing, including through sometimes bizarre innuendo.
They did not raise it in the closed session, the proper forum where such an allegation could been addressed with discretion and sensitivity. They did not raise it in the thousand-plus follow-up questions that Senators sent to Judge Kavanaugh in writing. But now – at the 11th hour, with committee votes on the schedule, after Democrats have spent weeks and weeks searching for any possible reason that the nomination should be delayed.
Minority Leader Schumer spoke shortly thereafter, reiterating his call for a delay on Thursday’s vote and an open hearing before the Judiciary Committee. “When someone … believes she was terribly aggrieved — and I believe her — … when the credibility of a Supreme Court Justice is on the line, we’re gonna just brush it under the rug?” he asked, adding, “I want to applaud my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who have called for hearings. I believe, one way or another, six have said this should be delayed. I hope they’ll be strong. I hope they tell Leader McConnell he’s doing the wrong thing.”
While some Senate Republicans, like Flake, Graham, and Bob Corker (R-TN) have said Ford must have an opportunity to be heard, and key moderate vote Sen. Susan Collins said Monday she wants both Ford and Kavanaugh to testify under oath, none have explicitly ruled out a Thursday vote.
Asked about the situation Monday, President Donald Trump stuck by his pick, calling the idea of him withdrawing “ridiculous.”