Supreme Court showdown: Cornyn: Absent proof, Kavanaugh vote imminent
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Wednesday during a conference call with Texas reporters that if California psychology researcher Christine Blasey Ford cannot prove her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at a Thursday hearing, the Judiciary Committee will probably vote quickly on whether to send the nomination to the full Senate.
Ford has maintained that she was the victim of a sexual attack by the nominee at a summertime party during the 1980s at a private home. Her accusations were made in a letter that was forwarded to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the committee, who held it until after the nominee’s scheduled week of committee hearings and until a vote seemed imminent.
“Evidence is more than one person’s accusation,” Cornyn said. “Absent evidence, absent proof, that claim would fail in court of law.”
Cornyn, a former state attorney general and Texas Supreme Court judge, said that Ford named three people she said were present at the party where the alleged incident
occurred. All three, under oath and under the threat of perjury charges, have denied being there, the senator said.
A second charge was leveled this week by a former Yale student, Deborah Ramirez, who said Sunday that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her while she was drunk at a college party. The New York Times said they could not verify the story and declined to run it, while the magazine The New Yorker did.
Coryn said committee staff members “reached out to Ramirez, who refused to cooperate.” In initially telling her story, Ramirez conceded “gaps” in her memories such that she was unable to confirm it was Kavanaugh who exposed himself. Later, after meeting with lawyers, she decided she could ID Kavanaugh.
A third allegation was issued this week by Julie Swetnick in which the accuser, who made her accusations under oath, said she was at parties in the early 1980s in which Kavanaugh and a friend attempted to get girls drunk for the purpose of committing gang rape. Michael Avenatti, who has represented porn star and stripper Stormy Daniels, is her attorney.
Cornyn said the committee has asked Avenatti to interview Swetnick but has not heard back.
The senator said he would listen respectfully to Ford’s testimony Thursday. He said he and other committee members should show the accuser courtesy and respect, as he would want if his own wife and mother and daughters were testifying. But barring the presentation of proof, he said, the process, now some 80 days long, must conclude.
Cornyn said Ford’s accusation comes 35 years after the alleged incident. It is nearly impossible, he said, to “reconstruct what happened or didn’t happen 35 years ago.” The nominee, he said, has been adamant that Ford’s allegations are false.
The senator continued his scathing criticism of Feinstein’s actions. The accuser asked that she not be identified but her letter, in Feinstein’s possession, was leaked. Feinstein did not question Kavanaugh about the letter during his first hearing.
Cornyn also suggested committee Democrats, who expressed opposition to the nomination before the hearings opened, have not been “coy” about their intentions to politically derail the nomination.