The Senate has confirmed that it will hold a public hearing on Monday next week in order to give Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser a chance to testify. Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual misconduct by a woman when they were both in high school. The Monday hearing will be an opportunity for the former Court of Appeal judge to respond on the record to these accusations.
Senator Chuck Grassley, Republican from Iowa and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that anyone who comes forward with such serious allegations deserves to be heard. The Senator added that he and his staff have reached out to the accuser and Kavanaugh himself about the possibility of testifying publically on the matter. Grassley also revealed that Committee Democrats didn’t cooperate in this process and added that the decision to hold the hearing publically is supposed to ensure the highest possible standard of transparency.
Kavanagh’s confirmation vote was expected to take place on Wednesday this week. In light of these latest developments, it’s almost certain that the vote won’t go ahead as planned. The White House has also expressed its support for the public hearing. In a statement released to the media, the White House termed the allegations against Kavanaugh “false” adding that the public hearing will be the right place for the Supreme Court nominee to clear up his name.
However, Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee think that it will be unwise to have such a public hearing, especially because an investigation by the FBI on the matter is already ongoing. They said that it would have been more prudent to wait until the probe is concluded before moving forward. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat from California and member of the committee, said that while she supports the public hearing, it doesn’t make any sense going on with it without any prior investigation. The sentiments were also backed by Richard Blumenthal, Democrat from Connecticut.
President Donald Trump also weighed in on the matter during a briefing with reporters at the White House. Trump said that he was ready to accept a delay on the confirmation but downplayed any possibility of withdrawing Kavanaugh’s nomination as a result of these accusations.
The sexual assault accusations were made by Christine Blasey Ford. Brett Kavanaugh has denied all her claims but it does seem that lawmakers from both sides of the political divide are taking the matter seriously.
Reports are emerging that Kavanaugh reached out to Senators as soon as this information came out to try to explain his case. The calls have reportedly lasted nearly nine hours. Republican committee members have since acknowledged these conversations, noting that they were extremely “positive.”
Trump, on the other hand, has maintained his support for Kavanaugh. The President reiterated during the Monday press conference that the nominee is still the best man for the job. He also expressed his concern that Democrats didn’t raise the issue earlier. The same sentiment was also shared by Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell who bashed Democrats for bringing up this issue at the “eleventh hour.”