Responding to a last-minute attempt to derail his confirmation by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh denied a claim that he mistreated a woman while they both were in high school, and 65 women who knew him at that time also have come to his defense.
“I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time,” Kavanaugh said in a statement Friday.
Feinstein on Thursday issued a cryptic statement as the Senate Judiciary prepared to vote on Kavanaugh saying she had “received information from an individual concerning the nomination” that she referred to “federal investigative authorities.”
The New York Times cited two unnamed officials familiar with the matter who said Feinstein has a letter about possible sexual misconduct between Kavanaugh and a woman when they were both in high school. The Times also reported Feinstein received the letter “this summer,” meaning it may have been held until the last minute for maximum impact.
Also on Friday, 65 women who say they have known Kavanaugh for more than 35 years and knew him while he attended high school declared in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that for “the entire time we have known Brett
Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect.”
“We strongly believe it is important to convey this information to the Committee at this time,” the letter said.
Fox News said it confirmed Feinstein’s “information” is an allegation against Kavanaugh while a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Maryland in the 1980s.
A woman, according to a New Yorker report Friday, accused Kavanaugh of holding her down and trying to force himself on her during a party before she got away.
White House spokeswoman Kerri Kupec responded Thursday to Feinstein’s letter saying the “11th hour attempt to delay” Kavanaugh’s confirmation is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., “delivering” on his vow to “oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have.”
“Throughout his confirmation process, Judge Kavanaugh has had 65 meetings with senators — including with Senator Feinstein — sat through over 30 hours of testimony, addressed over 2,000 questions in a public setting and additional questions in a confidential session. Not until the eve of his confirmation has Sen. Feinstein or anyone raised the specter of new ‘information’ about him,” Kupec said in the statement,” she said.
“Throughout 25 years of public service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has thoroughly and repeatedly vetted Judge Kavanaugh, dating back to 1993, for some of the most highly sensitive roles. He has served in the Office of Independent Counsel, the White House, and on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, all before his nomination earlier this year to serve as Associate Justice on the Supreme Court.”
Feinstein agitating colleagues
The Intercept said Thursday, according to multiple sources, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have privately requested to see the letter, but Feinstein has refused.
The senator’s refusal to share the letter, which is from a California constituent, has created tension on the committee, The Intercept said.
The woman who is the subject of the letter, The Intercept said, is now being represented by Debra Katz, a whistleblower attorney who works with #MeToo survivors.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has scheduled the panel’s vote on Kavanaugh for Sept. 20, and he said there is no plan to delay it. Republicans want to confirm Kavanaugh before the court’s Oct. 1 session begins.
“Sen. Grassley is aware of Senator Feinstein’s referral,” Grassley’s communications director Taylor Foy said in a statement. “At this time, he has not seen the letter in question, and is respecting the request for confidentiality. There’s no plan to change the committee’s consideration of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.”