Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that Ford, who claims Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when they were teenagers, “must be heard” before the vote.
“I’ve made it clear that I’m not comfortable moving ahead with the vote on Thursday if we have not heard her side of the story or explored this further,” Flake told The Washington Post. “For me, we can’t vote until we hear more.”
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
Republicans wanted to push toward a Judiciary Committee vote on Thursday but Flake’s stance could endanger that. Should Flake block the committee from advancing Kavanaugh’s nomination, Republicans could attempt to bring Kavanaugh’s nomination directly to the Senate floor. But Republicans have 51 seats in the Senate and can only afford to lose two votes. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who is not on the Judiciary Committee, has said Ford should be heard before the panel votes, and his vote would be needed for a full Senate confirmation.
“I think that would be best for all involved, including the nominee,” Corker said of postponing the vote.
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) concurred.
Well, I think that might be something they might have to consider, at least having that discussion,” said Murkowski, who is seen as among the likeliest to vote “no” on Kavanaugh’s confirmation. “This is not something that came up during the hearings. The hearings are now over, and if there is real substance to this, it demands a response. That may be something the committee needs to look into.”
Kavanaugh’s confirmation no longer seems certain, and he has entirely denied the allegations, which first emerged in a confidential letter passed to lawmakers by the FBI. The letter’s contents became public on Friday, but Ford’s identity remained anonymous until she came forward as the author.
Ford recalls Kavanaugh and one of his friends drunkenly forced her onto a bed and tried to remove her clothes. She protested, but only managed to escape after another friend entered the room and stopped Kavanaugh and the other man.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” Ford, a California psychology professor, told The Washington Post. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”
The Post verified the account with notes from Ford’s past therapy sessions. They noted a “rape attempt” and an incident in which 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.”
Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said he will set up separate phone calls with Kavanaugh and Ford before the vote.
65 high school acquaintances of Kavanaugh signed an open letter last week vouching for his character after the allegations first broke. However, more than two dozen of the women did not respond when contacted by POLITICO yesterday about whether they still stood by their defense of Kavanaugh. Two of the women who signed the letter “declined to comment,” the outlet noted.