Brett Kavanaugh nomination: Senator tells men to 'shut up and step up' over sexual assault allegations

'Do the right thing for a change,' Democratic senator says

Samuel Osborne
Wednesday 19 September 2018 13:10 BST
Brett Kavanaugh accuser will not testify in public until FBI properly investigates her claims, says lawyer Lisa Banks

A US senator has called on the men of her country to “shut up and step up” over the sexual assault allegation surrounding Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

While Donald Trump has staunchly defended Mr Kavanaugh, who he nominated for the Supreme Court, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have fought over who should testify at a hearing on the allegation.

It remains unclear whether Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Mr Kavanaugh of attacking her and trying to remove her clothing while he was drunk at a high school party in 1982, will appear at a Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday.

Mr Kavanaugh has called the allegation “completely false” and his high school friend, Mark Judge, who Ms Ford said had witnessed the alleged assault, said he had “no memory” of the incident and does not want to speak publicly.

Democrats have said they want more time for the FBI to investigate and warned anything less than a full investigation and fair hearing would haunt the GOP.

“I just want to say to the men of this country, ‘Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change',” Hawaii’s Democratic senator, Mazie Hirono, said.

Patty Murray, a Democratic senator for Washington, said: “Women are watching.”

However, Mr Trump and other Republicans have said they do not think the FBI needs to be involved.

Mr Kavanaugh, 53, was at the White House for a second straight day on Tuesday, but did not meet with Mr Trump.

The US president said he was “totally supporting” Mr Kavanaugh and has rejected calls for the FBI to investigate the accusation and reopen its background check of Mr Kavanaugh.

When he was asked about the situation, Mr Trump did not mention Ms Ford’s name but said he felt “terribly” for Mr Kavanaugh, his wife “and for his beautiful young daughters".

“I feel so badly for him that he’s going through this, to be honest with you, I feel so badly for him,” said Mr Trump, who has himself faced numerous accusations of sexual assault that he has denied. “This is not a man that deserves this.”

Five key moments from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's senate hearing

If his nomination to the Supreme Court is confirmed, Mr Kavanaugh will likely play a key role in Mr Trump’s goal of moving the federal judiciary to the right.

The battle over his nomination also comes close to an election which will decide control of both the House and Senate.

It has echoes of the contentious confirmation hearings of current Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas in 1991, which involved sexual harassment allegations lodged against him by a law professor named Anita Hill.

Mr Thomas, the court’s second black justice, was ultimately confirmed, but only after a heated televised hearing during which Ms Hill faced pointed questions from Republican senators and the nominee said he was the victim of ”a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks".

Additional reporting by agencies

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