By J.D. Durkin
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren accused her Republican colleagues on Tuesday of not taking seriously the accusations of two women who say they were victims of sexual misconduct by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during his high school and collegiate days.
In a 1-on-1 interview with Cheddar, Senator Warren of Massachusetts called out top Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee over their handling of the accusations against Judge Kavanaugh. “When they say -- before they've had a hearing, before there's been an investigation... that two women are not telling the truth,” she said, “it sounds like to me that they're not taking this very seriously.”
One of the two accusers of Judge Kavanaugh, Professor Christine Blasey Ford, alleges that he committed a violent alcohol-fueled sexual assault episode in the early 1980s while she and Kavanaugh were in high school. Dr. Ford is schedule to testify Thursday on Capitol Hill, in what could be an explosive airing of the accusations against him.
A second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, alleges that Kavanaugh exposed himself during a party when both were freshmen at Yale.
A third accuser emerged on Friday. Julie Swetnick, a Washington resident, said in a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee that the nominee was physically abusive toward girls in high school and present at a house party in 1982 where she claims to have been the victim of a “gang” rape.
Kavanaugh denied Swetnick's claims, as he had done two previous accusations of sexual misconduct, and told the Senate in prepared testimony for Thursday's public hearings that he was the victim of “grotesque and obvious character assassination.”
Senator Warren — quick to point out that Kavanaugh’s appointment is for life — says the women at this center of this dramatic episode have nothing to gain by stepping forward. “Here are two women whose lives have just been turned upside down,” the Democrat said. “There’s nothing in it for them. There is no lifetime job. This is about doing what they believe is right.”
The comments by Senator Warren, who is viewed by many as a standard-bearer of a Democratic party desperate for a cohesive identity, were her most extensive public statements on the controversy that has swirled around Judge Kavanaugh since Dr. Ford first went public in an interview with the Washington Post over a week ago.
Supporters of Judge Kavanaugh have argued that he deserve the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, and that the burden of proof lies on the accuser. But a number of Democrats, including Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, have argued that in evaluating Kavanaugh’s fitness for the Supreme Court, the Senate was not acting as a court of law.
“Look, we’re not in a court of law, we’re actually in a court of credibility at this point,” Hirono said on Monday, noting that the White House and top Senate Republicans have resisted calls for an FBI investigation of Dr. Ford’s accusations. “Without having the FBI report or some semblance of trying to get corroboration, we are left with the credibility of the two witnesses.”
Despite the backlash that Democrats like Hirono have felt over that position, Warren revealed to Cheddar that she agrees with the Hirono line of thinking. “This is not a criminal proceeding,” Warren said. “Nobody is going to lock anybody up after this. This is a job interview.” The Senator continued by linking Kavanaugh’s nomination process to the hiring of any Senate staffer, subject to a thorough character assessment and background scrutiny.
When Dr. Ford’s accusations first became public last week, President Donald Trump uncharacteristically stayed quiet; he has since slipped into the more Trumpian style of attack, today accusing Democrats of a “con job” by propping up Ford’s and Ramirez’s allegations.
It was a cross-aisle attack that Warren, often mentioned as a potential 2020 presidential candidate, was all too eager to respond to in her interview with Cheddar.
“If the President thinks that the accusations aren’t true,” she said, “then I assume that means he really wants to see an FBI investigation to prove exactly that. Have at it, Mr. President.”
For full interview click here.