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Republican senators call for delay on Brett Kavanaugh vote until they can hear from accuser

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Republican senators call for delay on Brett Kavanaugh vote until they can hear from accuser


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According to the Washington Post, Christine Blasey Ford…who is now a 51-year-old college professor made the allegations against Kavanaugh in a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein. Susana Victoria Perez has more.
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WASHINGTON – A growing number of Republican senators are calling for a delay on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote until they have time to hear from a woman accusing the judge of sexual misconduct when they were both in high school. 

Christine Blasey Ford, 51, came forward publicly Sunday with a detailed account in The Washington Post of an incident that took place at a party when she was 15 and Kavanaugh was 17. Ford claims Kavanaugh held her down and tried to remove her clothes while covering her mouth with his hand and leading her to believe that he could “inadvertently kill me.”

The story of the alleged assault first appeared in a New Yorker magazine article last week, but Ford was not identified. 

USA TODAY does not normally name accusers of sexual assault, but in this case, the accuser came forward publicly to detail her allegations.

In light of the allegations, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he does not think the committee should advance Kavanaugh’s nomination until Ford is heard out.

“If they push forward without any attempt with hearing what she’s had to say, I’m not comfortable voting yes,” Flake told Politico on Sunday. “We need to hear from her. And I don’t think I’m alone in this.”

As of Sunday, the committee, chaired by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, planned to move forward with a vote this week. A spokesman for Grassley said the senator is working to set up “follow-up calls with Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford ahead of Thursday’s scheduled vote.” 

Ford’s attorney, Debra Katz, said Monday she is willing to testify before the committee to discuss what she called the attempted rape” during an interview with NBC’s “Today” show. 

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who, like Flake, is retiring, told Politico that it “would be best for all involved, including the nominee” if the committee delayed a vote. “If she does want to be heard, she should do so promptly.” 

When asked if she believed if the vote should be delayed, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, told CNN on Sunday, “I think that might be something they might have to consider.”

“This is not something that came up during the hearings,” she said, according to CNN. “The hearings are now over, and if there is real substance to this, it demands a response.”

Although Murkowski and Corker are not on the Judiciary Committee, Republicans only have a narrow, 51-seat majority in the Senate and every vote will be crucial to Kavanaugh’s final confirmation. The Senate could bypass the committee and bring Kavanaugh’s nomination directly to the floor for a vote. 

Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Maine Republican whom groups opposed to Kavanaugh have desperately tried to sway, told CNN she was “very surprised” by the allegation. 

She said she spoke to Kavanaugh about the allegations in a phone call Friday and that the judge was “very emphatic in his denial.” When asked if the vote should be delayed, she said she would be talking to her colleagues, and when asked if she believed the accuser, she said she did not “know enough to make a judgment at this point.” 

Collins told The New York Times on Sunday that she found it “puzzling” that Democrats did not come forward with the allegations earlier, “after having had this information for more than six weeks.” 

“If they believed Professor Ford, why didn’t they surface this information earlier so that he could be questioned about it?” Collins asked. “And if they didn’t believe her and chose to withhold the information, why did they decide at the 11th hour to release it? It is really not fair to either of them the way it is was handled.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Judiciary Committee member, announced Thursday she had forwarded a letter containing the allegations to the FBI, a day before the article in The New Yorker. 

Many Democrats were calling for a delay on Kavanaugh’s confirmation before the allegation surfaced, but they have ramped up those demands in light of the accusation. 

“For too long, when women have made serious allegations of abuse, they have been ignored,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a tweet on Sunday. “That cannot happen in this case.”

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