Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday that in the case of the sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh there’s “no presumption of innocence or guilt.”
"No, it's not a legal proceeding. It's a fact-finding proceeding," Schumer said in response to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) saying Kavanaugh should get a “presumption of innocence.”
"This is not a criminal trial,” Schumer emphasized. “This is to find the facts."
"What I believe is we ought to get to the bottom and find the facts in the way that the FBI has always done," he argued. "There's no presumption of innocence or guilt when you have a nominee before you. There is, rather – find the facts ... and then let the Senate and let the American people make their judgment, not whether they're guilty or innocent, but whether the person deserves to have the office for which he or she is chosen. Plain and simple."
Earlier Tuesday, Leader McConnell said that "everybody in America understands there's a presumption of innocence,” and “that standard of fairness is applied to every American citizen in almost every situation.”
“I think we ought to go into these hearings with a presumption of innocence,” he concluded, “but hear the argument on the other side, the testimony on the other side so the members of the Senate can make a decision here on a very, very significant matter."
Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual misconduct by Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor who claims he groped her and pinned her down while he was drunk at a party in high school.
A Yale classmate of his, Deborah Ramirez, claimed in a New Yorker article published Sunday, that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a college party although, The New Yorker acknowledges, she was initially “reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty.”
Kavanaugh fully denies both allegations. He and Ford are reportedly set to testify on the allegations before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday.