Mon, 27 May 2019

Kavanaugh refuses to withdraw, vows to fight 'smears'

By Sheetal Sukhija, Cairo News
25 Sep 2018, 08:28 GMT+10

WASHINGTON, U.S. - Hours after the U.S. President Donald Trump reaffirmed his support for the man he chose to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, a letter that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee was released.

Kavanaugh's letter to the Committee came a day after his accuser, 51-year-old research psychologist and university professor from northern California, Christine Blasey Ford, agreed to testify in an open hearing on Thursday.

In the letter, Kavanaugh called the allegations of sexual assault made against him as "smears, pure and simple."

Explaining his stance, Kavanaugh reportedly wrote in the letter, "The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out."

He wrote, "I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. The last-minute character assassination will not succeed."

Kavanaugh wrote, "Such grotesque and obvious character assassination if allowed to succeed will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from service."

His letter also came after an explosive report in The New Yorker quoted 53-year-old Deborah Ramirez as alleging that Kavanaugh pulled down his pants and exposed himself to her, when they both attended Yale University in the early 1980s.

Ramirez claimed that she had been drinking and recalled, "I remember a penis being in front of my face. I knew that's not what I wanted, even in that state of mind."

Ramirez, the report pointed out, is the same age as Kavanaugh and they both graduated from the university in 1987.

However, Kavanaugh has denied the allegation and issued a statement released by the White House, claiming that the event from 35 years ago did not happen.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in New York, where he is attending the United Nations General Assembly, Trump reaffirmed support for Kavanaugh.

The U.S. President said, He is a fine man with an unblemished past, these are highly unsubstantiated statements from people represented by lawyers. Judge Kavanaugh is an outstanding person. And I am with him all the way.

He added, There is a chance this could be one of the single most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything. It is totally political."

Further, following Ramirez' account, Kavanaugh also received support from some congressional Republicans.

Speaking on the Senate floor on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that the allegations were a "smear campaign" that had been "aided and abetted by members of the U.S. Senate."

McConnell added that Kavanaugh will receive an up or down vote on the Senate floor "in the near future."

He said, "But even by the far lefts standards, this shameful smear campaign has hit a new low. Senate Democrats and their allies are trying to destroy a mans personal and professional life on the basis of decades-old allegations that are unsubstantiated and uncorroborated."

However, Democrats, in response to the latest allegations reiterated calls for an FBI investigation into the allegations.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who is the ranking member on the committee, called for a delay in the Thursday hearing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing with Ford and Kavanaugh for Thursday.

At the hearing, Ford, who was the first woman accusing Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school, will testify publicly.

In a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the Judiciary Committee chair, Feinstein wrote, I am writing to request an immediate postponement of any further proceedings related to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh."

She has also reiterated her call that the FBI should investigate both the allegations.

Many other Democrats mirrored the calls through the day.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. tweeted, "If Brett Kavanaugh refuses to withdraw, then at the very least we cannot move forward until there is a complete and thorough investigation of what appears to be a disturbing pattern of behavior by this nominee.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash also took to Twitter and wrote, "What we need is a nonpartisan investigation into the facts and information, which could help the Judiciary Committee members and others understand exactly what transpired. We need to get this right."

Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a member of the committee, tweeted, "The Senate simply cannot in good conscience vote on this nomination without a full fair FBI investigation of all these allegations & an opportunity for these sexual assault survivors to be heard."

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