WASHINGTON – Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) praised Judiciary Committee member Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) for his performance during the committee hearing with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
“I watched the whole f–king thing. You did really well. You did so well,” Gillibrand told Blumenthal after the conclusion of Kavanaugh’s portion of the hearing on Thursday.
Gillibrand declined to answer a follow-up question about her reaction to the hearing.
Last year, Gillibrand used colorful language during a speech about democracy and her opposition to President Trump, which CNN declared was “out of character” for her.
“If we are not helping people, we should go the f–k home,” she said. Referring to Trump, she said, “Has he kept his promises? No. F–k no.”
Gillibrand, who is not a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, watched the hearing inside the room alongside actress Alyssa Milano, a progressive activist, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).
On the Senate floor Wednesday, Gillibrand said that “the presumption of innocence until proven guilty” does not apply to Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation since it is not a criminal trial.
“To those who I hear say, over and over, ‘this isn’t fair to Judge Kavanaugh, he’s entitled to due process. What about the presumption of innocence until proven guilty? Dr. Blasey Ford has to prove her case beyond reasonable doubt,’” said Gillibrand, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential contender.
“He’s not entitled to those because we’re not actually seeking to convict him or put him in jail,” Gillibrand added. “We are seeking the truth. We are seeking facts. We are seeking just what happened.”
Following Ford’s testimony earlier on Thursday, Gillibrand said, “I just don’t know how any Republican could vote for Brett Kavanaugh after what she said – not only her honesty, her integrity, her truth, it’s obvious. I just don’t know how any Republican could vote for Brett Kavanaugh after hearing her.”
Kavanaugh’s nomination passed out of committee on an 11-10 vote Friday. The full Senate vote has been delayed to allow the FBI to conduct an investigation this week. On the demand of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), President Trump requested the supplemental FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh. Ford alleges Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were in high school.
Some Republican senators like Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) have said they are ready to vote in favor of Kavanaugh. Wicker said Kavanaugh is considered “so favorable by his peers and by people who have worked with him” over the course of his career.
“I just think there’s a coordinated smear campaign by those who don’t want someone of his philosophy as a swing vote on the Supreme Court,” Wicker said.
Blumenthal told PJM on Thursday evening that Kavanaugh’s childhood friend, 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.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, also said Judge should be subpoenaed and “required to testify under oath.”
“The FBI should have investigated your charges as they did in the Anita Hill hearing, but they did not,” Durbin told Ford. “Judge Kavanaugh, if he truly believes there’s no evidence, no witnesses that can prove your case, should be joining us in demanding a thorough FBI investigation. But he has not.”
Blumenthal was asked for his response to Republicans who have argued that the Democrats are intentionally delaying Kavanaugh with the midterm elections taking place in a little over a month.
“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.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) also said a full FBI investigation should be conducted and that “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.”