Published: Sun, September 16, 2018

KAVANAUGH SPEAKS: Trump's Court Pick BREAKS SILENCE on Feinstein's Letter

KAVANAUGH SPEAKS: Trump's Court Pick BREAKS SILENCE on Feinstein's Letter

A last-minute bombshell has rocked the confirmation process of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's nominee to sit on the Supreme Court.

As bad as the allegation about Kavanaugh is (and one is justified in questioning its veracity under the circumstances), the use of an anonymous document to undermine him is terrible.

In a statement released by the White House Friday, Kavanaugh said: "I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation".

The episode has sent tensions between and inside both parties back to the boiling point over a nomination that could reshape the court for decades.

The allegation came just one week before the Senate Judiciary Committee is to vote on his nomination. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen.

If Collins or Murkowski should vote for Kavanaugh, he is likely to be confirmed.

NPR has not independently confirmed the contents of the letter, which the woman sent to her representative, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., after Kavanaugh was nominated to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

As to whether Republicans knew about the allegation in advance and had the letter from the 65 Kavanaugh high school contemporaries "in the can", Grassley's office said no.

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he won't let Kavanaugh's confirmation be stalled by the allegation, which he called "wholly unverifiable".

The woman "said that the memory had been a source of ongoing distress for her, and that she had sought psychological treatment as a result", The New Yorker added.

On Thursday, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, announced cryptically that she had forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation "information from an individual concerning the nomination".

She struggled with them and escaped, the account said.

"Upon receipt of the information on the night of September 12, we included it as part of Judge Kavanaugh's background file, as per the standard process".

Hill, who is now a professor at Brandeis University, urged the Senate to put in place a process for people to come forward.

Hill said Friday, "The reluctance of someone to come forward demonstrates that even in the #MeToo era, it remains incredibly hard to report harassment, abuse or assault by people in power".

The allegation against Kavanaugh prompted a public statement from Anita Hill, who famously accused Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his confirmation hearings in 1991. The allegation was not raised at any time during the judge's confirmation hearings.

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