McConnell: Chairman Grassley Has Worked to Put Together a Fair Process
‘If you write to the Senate Democrats in complete confidence about an extremely sensitive matter, you’ll soon wind up a household name. And if you’re a public servant whose confirmation the far left happens to oppose-- because they dislike the fact that you will interpret the law and the Constitution according to what they mean, rather than what the far left wishes they would mean-- they will not hesitate to weaponize uncorroborated allegations and drag your name and your family through the mud.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the president’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh:
“Tomorrow morning, the Senate and the American people will hear from Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford under oath. We will hear sworn testimony from both of them regarding the allegation of 30-plus-year-old misconduct that Dr. Ford has raised. It goes without saying, but it bears repeating: Sexual assault is completely abhorrent. Everyone deserves to be safe. I am glad Dr. Ford will be heard.
“I’d like to particularly thank Chairman Grassley, who worked tirelessly to establish a fair process and a secure, comfortable setting for this to take place. He gave Dr. Ford the opportunity to testify in public or in private, or to speak with investigators who would meet her anywhere she wished, or to conduct the entire interview by phone.
“He has brought a patient professionalism to this process—one that stands in stark contrast to those on the other side of the aisle who self-describe as ‘Spartacus’ and play to the television cameras. So Dr. Ford will be heard thanks to Chairman Grassley -- and despite the irresponsibility of Senate Democrats, who ignored her allegation for weeks and then discarded her request for confidentiality and leaked it to the press.
“Let me walk through this again. The ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee received a letter from Dr. Ford all the way back in July, in which she stated her allegation and asked for confidentiality. That was in July. The Committee’s thorough review of Judge Kavanaugh was just getting started. There was ample time to vet this allegation in a serious and bipartisan manner that would have maintained confidentiality and honored Dr. Ford’s request for privacy. All the Democrats needed to do was go through proper channels. Share the information with their Republican colleagues so the Committee could tackle it together.
“But that is not what Senate Democrats did. This is the Democratic caucus whose leader, my friend the senior Senator from New York, said just hours after Judge Kavanaugh was nominated that he’d -- quote – ‘oppose him with everything I’ve got.’ This just hours after the nomination. This is the Democratic caucus of which several members preemptively announced fill-in-the-blank opposition to any nominee before Judge Kavanaugh had even been named. This is the Democratic caucus that spent all summer searching for reasons to delay, delay, delay this nomination -- because there weren’t enough documents... because there were too many documents... because of unrelated headlines… you name it.
“No, these Democratic colleagues did not treat Dr. Ford or her allegation with the seriousness and discretion she deserved. Apparently they took no meaningful action with respect to her claim for weeks. And then, finally, at the 11th hour, when its introduction was virtually certain to introduce further delay, they got it to the press. So much for Dr. Ford’s request for confidentiality, I guess. So what lessons can we draw from all this?
“If you write to the Senate Democrats in complete confidence about an extremely sensitive matter, you’ll soon wind up a household name. And if you’re a public servant whose confirmation the far left happens to oppose -- because they dislike the fact that you will interpret the law and the Constitution according to what they mean, rather than what the far left wishes they would mean -- they will not hesitate to weaponize uncorroborated allegations and drag your name and your family through the mud.
“Uncorroborated allegations, which Judge Kavanaugh has denied repeatedly -- in public and to Senate investigators -- in the strongest terms and under penalty of felony. Let’s not forget that Dr. Ford’s account identifies three other supposed witnesses. And each of these individuals has denied participation in or recollection of any such event -- also under penalty of felony in all cases. One of the alleged witnesses is a longtime friend of Dr. Ford. She’s stated not only that she does not recall any such party, but that she doesn’t even know Judge Kavanaugh.
“No corroboration. No supporting evidence before us. Just Dr. Ford’s allegation. By any normal standard of American justice, this is nowhere near enough to destroy someone’s reputation or nullify their career. But some of our colleagues are trying to move the goalposts. The junior senator from Delaware asserted recently on television that it is Judge Kavanaugh who -- I quote – ‘bears the burden of disproving these allegations.’ Guilty until proven innocent? In this country?
“Similarly, the junior senator from Hawaii has implied that Judge Kavanaugh does not deserve a presumption of innocence because she does not agree with his judicial philosophy. Just yesterday, the Democratic Leader said that because we aren’t in a criminal courtroom, ‘there is no presumption of innocence or of guilt here when you have a nominee before you.’
“Well, Democrats haven’t always taken this bizarre position. Back in 1991, Senator Joe Biden, then the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, had this to say to Judge Clarence Thomas when the Committee was evaluating an allegation against him: ‘...the presumption is with you. With me, the presumption is with you, and in my opinion, it should be with you until all the evidence is in and people make a judgment.’ My colleagues would do well to remember this commonsense principle.
“I’m glad that Chairman Grassley, his staff and committee investigators have worked so hard to clean up this mess and put together a fair process. And I’m encouraged by the Committee’s choice of Rachel Mitchell -- a career prosecutor with decades of experience in sensitive investigations, who was recognized with an award by Arizona’s then-Democratic governor Janet Napolitano -- to lend expertise to this important process. It is time for Senators to hear from both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh, under oath. Tomorrow, we’ll do just that. And then it will be time to vote.”
Related Issues: Judicial Nominations, Senate Democrats, Supreme Court, Nominations