UPDATE: Sen. Jeff Flake says committee vote on Kavanaugh should be delayed.
"We can't vote until we hear more," he says.
NEWS: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) tells me in an intv he that doesn’t think the Judiciary Cmte should move ahead with its Thursday vote on Kavanaugh until they hear more from Christine Blasey Ford. “For me, we can’t vote until we hear more.”— Sean Sullivan (@WaPoSean) September 16, 2018
Well, it’s happened. The woman who alleges that Judge Bret Kavanaugh, along with another individual, attempted to sexually assault her while in high school has come forward. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) reportedly had a letter about this encounter since at least the summer, but sat on it. One could say that alone speaks to the credibility of the accusation. It was referred to the FBI later this week, and now the whole nomination process could be thrown into chaos. It’s messy. The whole situation could get ugly very soon and very fast, folks. Backward reels the mind to the Clarence Thomas hearings. The pressure is already building. If the person remained anonymous, that’s one thing, but she’s now come forward to The Washington Post. Her name is Christine Blasey Ford. She’s a research psychologist in northern California and a professor at Palo Alto University. Ford was a student at the all-girls Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland. The encounter occurred when Kavanaugh was 17-years-old. It was not revealed until 2012 during couple’s therapy, the Post obtained some of the notes from these sessions. Kavanaugh is not mentioned by name, though Ford's husband said his wife said his last name (via WaPo):
Speaking publicly for the first time, Ford said that one summer in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh and a friend — both “stumbling drunk,” Ford alleges — corralled her into a bedroom during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County.
While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”
Ford said she told no one of the incident in any detail until 2012, when she was in couples therapy with her husband. The therapist’s notes, portions of which were provided by Ford and reviewed by The Washington Post, do not mention Kavanaugh’s name but say she reported that she was attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” The notes say four boys were involved, a discrepancy Ford says was an error on the therapist’s part. Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.
She gets more specific about this alleged attempted assault later in the lengthy Post article. The article also notes that she contacted the Post, her local representatives in government,andWashington lawyer Debra Katz, who advised her to take a polygraph by a former FBI agent in August:
She contacted The Post through a tip line in early July, when it had become clear that Kavanaugh was on the shortlist of possible nominees to replace retiring justice Anthony M. Kennedy but before Trump announced his name publicly. A registered Democrat who has made small contributions to political organizations, she contacted her congresswoman, Democrat Anna G. Eshoo, around the same time. In late July, she sent a letter via Eshoo’s office to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
In the letter, which was read to The Post, Ford described the incident and said she expected her story to be kept confidential. She signed the letter as Christine Blasey, the name she uses professionally.
Though Ford had contacted The Post, for weeks, she declined to speak on the record as she grappled with concerns about what going public would mean for her and her family — and what she said was her duty as a citizen to tell the story.
She engaged Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer known for her work on sexual harassment cases. On the advice of Katz, who believed Ford would be attacked as a liar if she came forward, Ford took a polygraph test administered by a former FBI agent in early August. The results, which Katz provided to The Post, concluded that Ford was being truthful when she said a statement summarizing her allegations was accurate.
Ford said that on the night of the party, she left the family room to use the bathroom, which was at the top of a narrow stairway. She doesn’t remember whether Kavanaugh and [Mark] Judge were behind her or already upstairs, but she remembers being pushed into a bedroom and then onto a bed. Rock-and-roll music was playing with the volume turned up high, she said.
She alleges that Kavanaugh — who played football and basketball at Georgetown Prep — held her down with the weight of his body and fumbled with her clothes, seemingly hindered by his intoxication. Judge stood across the room, she said, and both boys were laughing “maniacally.” She said she yelled, hoping that someone downstairs would hear her over the music, and Kavanaugh clapped his hand over her mouth to silence her.
At one point, she said, Judge jumped on top of them, and she tried unsuccessfully to wriggle free. Then Judge jumped on them again, toppling them, and she broke away, she said.
She said she locked herself in the bathroom and listened until she heard the boys “going down the stairs, hitting the walls.” She said that after five or ten minutes, she unlocked the door and made her way through the living room and outside. She isn’t sure how she got home.
NBC News reached out to Ford but did not immediately receive a response.
After the report was published Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to delay the confirmation vote "until, at a very minimum, these serious and credible allegations are thoroughly investigated," he wrote in a statement. Sens. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., also called for the vote to be postponed.
The Judiciary panel is currently scheduled to hold a vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination on Thursday. GOP leaders have been aiming to have him confirmed as a Supreme Court justice before high court's new term begins in October.
Grassley dismissed the "uncorroborated allegations" and did not indicate that he intended to delay the vote.
Whatever the case, the needle will not be moved at least not at this point. The timing of this allegation is immensely suspect. Why did Feinstein hold onto the letter for so long if this was supposedly explosive? Why not bring it up at the hearings? The character assassination angle, the optics, the motive is so transparent—you cannot help but conclude that this hail Mary pass by Democrats is supercharged in its political motivation. Tim wrote about Ms. Katz as well, and shocker—she’s a big time Democratic donor who is virulently anti-Trump.
Debra Katz, the lawyer representing Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford, defended Al Franken when he was accused of sexual misconduct, saying, "He did not do this as a member of the U.S. Senate." https://t.co/nliQyUiStB— Ryan Saavedra ???? (@RealSaavedra) September 16, 2018
Regardless, it could buck the GOP moderates in the Senate—Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)—to possibly jump onto the delay train. Those two seemed poised to vote for Kavanaugh, and with former Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyl filling in to serve the remainder of the late John McCain’s term, Kavanaugh would’ve been confirmed. The whole process is now upended. For those hoping that this was going to be a smooth confirmation (myself included despite the clown show we saw during the hearings), I think that’s over. This is going to boil down to a street fight for the Supreme Court. The liberals see Kavanaugh as a threat to Roe v. Wade, you know how they love abortion, and conservatives see him as a solid jurist who can guarantee a 5-4 majority. It’s going to get nasty. It’s time to pick sides. This week is going to be rough.