McConnell Vows Quick Vote on Court Nominee Kavanaugh
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed Monday that the chamber will vote on President Donald Trump’s embattled Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, who is denying multiple accusations of sexual misconduct.
“Judge Kavanaugh will be voted on, here on the Senate floor, up or down,” McConnell, of Kentucky said, promising the vote will come “in the near future.”
Democrats are demanding a delay in Thursday’s hearing before a Senate panel in which Kavanaugh’s original accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, is scheduled to testify, along with Kavanaugh himself.
“There is one simple way to get to the bottom of this,” Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said. “A quiet, serious, thorough background check (of Judge Kavanaugh) by the FBI.”
Democrats pressed for additional time after The New Yorker magazine reported a new accusation — that Kavanaugh exposed himself to a fellow student at a Yale University dormitory party during the 1983-1984 academic year.
Deborah Ramirez described the incident in an interview after being contacted by the magazine.
Ramirez admitted she had been drinking and has gaps in her memories. But after consulting a lawyer, she said she felt confident in her recollection.
Kavanaugh denied the new allegations, calling them "smears, pure and simple."
Speaking in New York, Trump labeled the charges "totally political."
At the Senate, a visibly angry McConnell accused Democrats of attempting to destroy an honorable jurist on the basis of “decades-old allegations that are unsubstantiated and uncorroborated.”
He added that Democrats refuse to let the facts get in the way of “a good smear,” calling the episode “despicable.”
Schumer responded that if Republicans believe in Kavanaugh, then they, too, should want the accusations investigated.
“Leader McConnell is afraid of what might come out (about Kavanaugh), what the truth is,” Schumer said.
Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party in the 1980s when both were teenagers. Kavanaugh vehemently denied the charge.
Kavanaugh, a judicial conservative and Trump’s second Supreme Court pick, was nominated to fill the vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement.
His confirmation by the Republican-controlled Senate had seemed all but assured until allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced last week.
Capitol Hill correspondent Michael Bowman contributed to this report.