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Senators criticize Trump’s remarks on Ford as Kavanaugh vote is fast tracked

President Donald Trump speaking in 2017 just outside Harrisburg. Staff Sgt. Tony Harp/U.S. Air National Guard

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) delivered its report to the White House on allegations that Supreme Court nominee Brett M Kavanaugh sexually assaulted women in the 1980s. The White House has transmitted the report to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

After receiving the report on late Wednesday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said that the White House is “fully confident” that Kavanaugh will be confirmed.

At 9:45 on Wednesday night Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) filed a cloture motion. This will set up a procedural vote on Friday to shut off debate on the confirmation which could come as early as Saturday.

“There will be plenty of time for Members to review and be briefed on this supplemental material before a Friday cloture vote,” McConnell said. “So I am filing cloture on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination this evening so the process can move forward, as I indicated earlier this week.”

Only the 100 Senators and six aides will be allowed to read the report that will be kept locked in a safe.

Ranking member Senator Diane Feinstein (D-California) has urged that the report not be made public. Critics suggest that is because the report would show that there is no corroboration of the allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford and two other women that Kavanaugh acted inappropriately in high school and college in the 1980s.

President Donald J. Trump (R) was critical of the allegations at a campaign rally in Southaven, Mississippi for Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith who was appointed to the seat vacated by the retirement of Thad Cochran (R) in April.

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Pres. Trump mocked Ford’s testimony, “I had one beer, ‘How did you get home?’ ‘I don’t remember.’ ‘How did you get there?’ ‘I don’t remember. ‘Where is the place?’ ‘I don’t remember.’ ‘How many years ago was it?’ ‘I don’t know.’ ‘Upstairs? Downstairs? Where was it?’ ‘I don’t know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.’ And a man’s life is in tatters.”

“It’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of,” Trump told reporters. “That’s one of the very bad things that’s taking place now.”

The President has been widely criticized for his comments.

Michael Bromwich, an attorney for Ford, said on Twitter that Trump’s comments were, “a vicious, vile and soulless attack.”

Alabama’s Senator Doug Jones (D) said that the comments were divisive.

“I’m embarrassed that the president of the United States would do that to this woman,” said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California).

“I wish he would just stay out of it,” said Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah).
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) told the Atlantic that he planned to tell Pres. Trump to, “Knock it off. It’s not helpful.”

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“There’s no time and no place for remarks like that,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) said on NBC’s “Today” show. “To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right. It’s just not right. I wish he hadn’t done it. . . . It’s kind of appalling.”

“The president’s comments were just plain wrong,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said.

“I thought the president’s comments yesterday mocking Dr. Ford were wholly inappropriate and, in my view, unacceptable,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the President’s remarks saying that he was just telling the truth.

Currently 48 Republican Senators, including Alabama’s Richard Shelby are on the record as “Yes” votes for Kavanaugh. 47 Democratic Senators, including Alabama’s Doug Jones as “No” votes on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Murkowski, Flake, Collins, as well as Democratic Senators Heidi Heitcamp from North Dakota and Joe Manchin from West Virginia are the swing votes that will decide Kavanaugh’s fate in the coming days.

The FBI did not interview Dr. Ford or Judge Kavanaugh, drawing criticism from Ford’s legal team.

“An FBI supplemental background investigation that did not include an interview of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford — nor the witnesses who corroborate her testimony — cannot be called an investigation,” her legal team said in a statement. “We are profoundly disappointed that after the tremendous sacrifice she made in coming forward, those directing the FBI investigation were not interested in seeking the truth.”

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Meanwhile, Dr. Ford’s boyfriend of six years has come forward and disputed much of her testimony saying that she has no fear of flying, is not claustrophobic, never ever mentioned any sexual assault story, once coached a friend of hers on how to pass a lie detector test, and was a liar who cheated on him, and then used his credit cards even after the breakup, denying it until he threatened to go to the credit fraud authorities. It also has came out that the second front door to Dr. Ford’s house is not because of an irrational fear of being trapped but instead leads to a room that the couple leases out.

Kavanaugh continues to deny all of the allegations. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would be Trump’s second Justice appointed to the nine member Supreme Court.

(Original reporting by The Memo’s Niall Stanage, the Washington Post, the Hill’s Jourdain Carney, and Fox News’ Elizabeth Swirz, Edmund DeMarche, Benjamin Brown, and Sean Hannity contributed to this report.)

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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