Key Republican Susan Collins defends decision to approve Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick

Maine senator raises doubts over whether Christine Blasey Ford’s alleged attacker was Brett Kavanaugh

Chris Riotta
New York
Monday 08 October 2018 00:32
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Senator Susan Collins: “After hearing Christine Ford’s very compelling and painful testimony, I thought perhaps he needs to withdraw, but then he came back with such a forceful denial

Susan Collins has defended her decision to support Brett Kavanaugh’s ascension to the Supreme Court, saying she did not believe he was the man who assaulted Christine Blasey Ford.

“I do believe that she was assaulted,” the Maine Republican said. “I don’t know by whom and I’m not certain when.”

Dr Ford delivered a historic testimony ahead of the US Senate’s confirmation vote, claiming Mr Kavanaugh had assaulted her during a party the two attended in high school nearly 36 years ago.

The Senate Judiciary Committee then turned into a state of chaos, with Republicans initially refusing to look into the allegations any further and Democrats walking out of a vote to advance the nomination. The majority ultimately agreed to a one-week FBI investigation after the move was publicly supported by Republicans such as Ms Collins and other swing votes such as Jeff Flake and Lisa Murkowski.

But Ms Collins broke from Ms Murkowski in the main vote on Saturday and approved the ascension of the embattled judge, delivering a nearly 45-minute speech on the House floor to explain her reasoning.

On Sunday, Ms Collins described Dr Ford’s testimony as heart-wrenching and compelling, while stopping just short of fully supporting her story.

“I believe that she believes what she testified to,” the senator told CNN. “But we also had a case where Judge Kavanaugh came forward and said, ‘I’m 100 per cent certain that this did not happen,’ so here you have two people who are each 100 per cent certain of what they’re saying under pain of perjury. So then I had to look at the other evidence, and was there corroborating evidence, and that’s why I pushed hard for the FBI to do a supplemental background investigation.”

She also attempted to separate herself from Donald Trump’s mockery of Dr Ford at a recent rally, where the president attacked the witness’s memory and falsely claimed she did not remember key aspects of her allegations.

The president celebrated Ms Collins’s decision to support his nominee to the Supreme Court, saying at the White House on Sunday: “I thought Susan was incredible yesterday. You could see how hard she worked, how hard she was working.

"She didn’t stop … And I know it for a fact because I spoke with her, she didn’t stop. She gave an impassioned, beautiful speech yesterday. And that was from the heart, that was from the heart.”

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