WASHINGTON — With the clock ticking down to voting time and several key Republicans still undecided, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is campaigning for every last vote.
In an article in the Wall Street Journal Kavanaugh addressed last Thursday’s hearing in which he went before the Senate Judiciary Committee to talk about the claims made by Christine Blasey Ford that he sexually assaulted her as a teen in the 1980s. He has always denied the allegations.
“I was very emotional last Thursday, more so than I have ever been. I might have been too emotional at times,” wrote Kavanaugh.
“I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said. I hope everyone can understand that I was there as a son, husband and dad.”
Several White House sources said that the op-ed was Kavanaugh’s own idea and was intended to show he could rise above the partisan fury that has consumed his nomination.
Moment of decision
Senators, especially the three Republicans who will decide the destiny of his Supreme Court hopes, have reached the moment of decision.
Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has scheduled a Senate vote for Friday at 10:30 a.m. that will force Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski to finally reveal their hands. The vote is not a final verdict on Kavanaugh but is likely to establish his chances of reaching the Court.
His chances appeared to improve on Thursday, as senators read through an FBI supplementary background check on the judge’s past. Both Flake and Collins spoke positively about the report, prompting speculation that it had given them sufficient political cover to move towards a “Yes” vote on Kavanaugh.
President Trump’s team seemed increasingly confident as his campaign blasted out an email with the subject line “Kavanaugh Cleared.”
During a campaign rally in Minnesota on Thursday night, Mr. Trump said Kavanaugh’s been a target for Democrats since he was nominated.
“Democrats have been trying to destroy Judge Kavanaugh since the first second he was announced,” he said, touting his “incredible intellect” and calling him an “incredible person.”
If Kavanaugh is confirmed, President Trump would fulfill campaign promises to conservative voters that were instrumental in cementing his political coalition and will go down in history as the President who gave the conservative movement its Supreme Court.
Arrests and accusations
As dissent boiled on Capitol Hill, police arrested 302 protesters in the Hart Senate Office Building. Comedienne Amy Schumer was seen amongst those being detained. Earlier, at a rally in Washington anti-Kavanaugh demonstrators chanted: “Hey hey, ho ho, Kavanaugh has got to go”
In another scene that has become typical in recent days, a group of protestors confronted Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch in a corridor, and reacted furiously when he told them to “grow up.”
As momentum appeared to be building for Kavanaugh, Ford’s lawyers wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray to complain that the bureau did not interview Ford or witnesses who had information on her allegations.
“The ‘investigation’ conducted over the past five days is a stain on the process, on the FBI and on our American ideal of justice,” read the letter from attorneys Debra Katz, Lisa Banks and Michael Bromwich.
Democrats tried to counter Republican arguments that the FBI investigation, which will not be released to the public, contained nothing to corroborate Ford’s allegations that she was assaulted by Kavanaugh when they were teenagers in the Washington suburbs in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
“It looks to be a product of an incomplete investigation that was limited, perhaps by the White House,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, told reporters.