WASHINGTON – Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said the committee vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination should be delayed until a full FBI investigation of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s claims is completed and added that Kavanaugh’s friend, Mark Judge, should be subpoenaed.
Democratic senators pushed back on the charge that Ford’s allegations were intentionally made public late in the confirmation process, given that President Trump nominated Kavanaugh in July.
In his testimony on Thursday, Kavanaugh said, “This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.”
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, disagreed with Kavanaugh’s argument.
“I didn’t find that credible. I frankly thought that was the least valuable part of what Judge Kavanaugh had to say today. He didn’t present any particular evidence or argument that somehow the Clintons were behind this whole thing and seeking revenge, so I don’t think he did himself any favors with that,” Coons said during an interview after the Ford and Kavanaugh hearing.
“Yes, I did receive a letter from Dr. Ford,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, said on Thursday. “I held it confidential, up to a point where the witness was willing to come forward.”
Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Democrats “you better watch out for your nominees in the future” based on the party’s handling of Ford’s allegations.
Coons responded to Graham’s comments.
“I don’t know how long maybe until we’re in the majority again. At this point we have to put one foot in front of the other and do our jobs,” he said. “Anytime folks who are here who are elected say this is all part of a grand conspiracy, I’m questioning whether that’s true.”
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said Democrats are “going to demand that there be a full and thorough FBI investigation” into the sexual misconduct claims made against Kavanaugh before any vote.
“We believe every single person who has any information should be interviewed. We believe every single fact should be known and we do not believe there should be any vote until that complete investigation has been finished,” he said. “The Republicans are contemplating jamming this nomination through despite the compelling story that Dr. Ford told the American people today. I think that’s a big mistake. I think it is absolutely clear an FBI investigation must be completed before this moves forward.”
Markey mentioned Ford’s statement about meeting Mark Judge about six to eight weeks after the incident took place.
“I did see Mark Judge once at the Potomac Village Safeway after the time of the attack,” she said, “and it would be helpful with anyone’s resources if – to figure out when he worked there if people are wanting more details from me about when the attack occurred. If we could find out when he worked there, then I could provide a more detailed timeline about when the attack occurred.”
Markey said the FBI should interview Judge to figure out the details so Ford’s “story could be corroborated but right now the FBI has no intention of questioning Mr. Judge, who was the other person in the room.” Judge has denied Ford’s story but said he won’t come before Congress to testify.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) told PJM the nomination should not move forward.
“Of course not. We haven’t even heard all of the witnesses and they refuse to do the independent investigation that has always been done. Why are they rushing? What do they have to hide?” he said.
Leahy slammed GOP lawmakers who have said the Dems are intentionally trying to stall the Kavanaugh confirmation, noting that Senate Republican leaders decided not to hold hearings on Merrick Garland in 2016.
“People worried about delay are the same people who for the first time in the history of the country held up a Supreme Court justice for a year. My goodness gracious,” Leahy said.
“[Kavanaugh] has been misleading on so much I would like to just have him tell the truth,” he added.
Blumenthal praised Ford’s testimony.
“I think Dr. Blasey Ford was extraordinarily powerful and credible. She is really a profile in courage,” he said.
“I hope the Republicans will delay this vote so we can have a full, fair and partial and objective FBI investigation. There’s a need to uncover all the facts and evidence. A lot of it now is lacking. Some of it contradicts Judge Kavanaugh.”
Blumenthal continued, “Mark Judge should be interviewed by the FBI and he ought to be subpoenaed as a witness because he is the one alleged to have been in that room when Dr. Blasey Ford said she was assaulted.”
Blumenthal was asked for his response to Republicans who have argued that the Democrats are intentionally delaying Kavanaugh with the midterm elections around the corner.
“To blame a left-wing conspiracy for the courageous forthright testimony of Dr. Blasey Ford today is a grave disservice and disrespect for her as a survivor and the community of survivors everywhere,” he replied.
Markey agreed with Blumenthal.
“There is no time limit on getting the truth for the American people on a Supreme Court nominee who could be the deciding vote in every 5-4 decision affecting every American for the next generation. There’s never a time limit on the truth,” he said. “There’s no reason why we have to vote on the nomination either at the committee level tomorrow or on the floor of the U.S. Senate in the next 4 or 5 days – that would be absolutely wrong.”
PJM asked Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Thursday if he is ready to vote on Kavanaugh.
“I won’t have anything else to say about it until I see the end of the hearing – the testimony from both sides,” he told PJM.
In response to the same question, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) said, “You know, I haven’t seen anything yet that changes my mind on Judge Kavanaugh but I’m going to watch both of these things later on.”
After both hearings took place, PJM asked Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a member of the Judiciary Committee, if he thinks the committee vote on Kavanaugh should be held on Friday or not.
“I expressed my sentiments at the hearing,” he replied.
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said he’s preparing a formal statement about his opinion of the Kavanaugh nomination.
“I’ll comment this weekend or first thing next week,” Kyl told PJM after the Ford and Kavanaugh hearing. “I haven’t spoken up about it so far and I intend to lay out all of my thoughts. I really want to get them outlined and coherent and understandable and then present them.”