Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and a growing number of Senate Democrats are calling for the Senate to postpone a vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after a woman accusing him of sexual assault spoke publicly about the allegation.
"Senator Grassley must postpone the vote until, at a very minimum, these serious and credible allegations are thoroughly investigated. For too long, when woman have made serious allegations of abuse, they have been ignored. That cannot happen in this case," Schumer said in a statement on Sunday.
Schumer added that Kavanaugh's credibility was already "seriously questioned" over concerns from Democrats that he misled senators about his work in the George W. Bush administration.
"Now his credibility is even more suspect. To railroad a vote now would be an insult to the women of America and the integrity of the Supreme Court," Schumer added.
Schumer's comments are the first time he's weighed in directly on the allegation since reports first surfaced of the alleged incident on Wednesday. It comes hours after The Washington Post published an interview where Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, described the alleged incident. Kavanaugh has denied wrongdoing.
Though Democrats have largely sidestepped commenting on the sexual assault allegation since late last week, they've begun calling for the vote to be delayed so that the alleged incident can be investigated.
In addition to Schumer, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, and Democratic Sens. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko Hirono11 senators urge House to pass .5T package before infrastructure bill Dems punch back over GOP holdup of Biden SBA nominee Senate Democrats to Garland: 'It's time to end the federal death penalty' MORE (Hawaii), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTwo 'View' hosts test positive for coronavirus ahead of Harris interview Rep. Karen Bass to run for mayor of Los Angeles: report Biden taps big bank skeptic to for top regulatory post MORE (Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats draw red lines in spending fight What Republicans should demand in exchange for raising the debt ceiling Climate hawks pressure Biden to replace Fed chair MORE (R.I.), each members of the committee, said separately on Sunday that the alleged incident needs to be investigated before the Senate moves forward with Kavanaugh's nomination.
“It took a lot of courage for Christine Blasey Ford to come forward to share her story of sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh. Her story is very credible and I believe her," said Hirono, who asked Kavanaugh during his hearing if he had ever been accused of sexual harassment or assault as an adult.
"It is more important than ever to hit the pause button on Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote until we can fully investigate these serious and disturbing allegations. We cannot rush to move forward under this cloud," Jones, who is not a member of the committee, said in a tweet.
Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDon't let partisan politics impede Texas' economic recovery The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs MORE (I-Vt.) called the allegation against Kavanaugh "a serious one that deserves a full investigation."
"The allegation from Professor Christine Blasey Ford is a serious one that deserves a full investigation," Sanders said in a tweet. "Neither the Judiciary Committee nor the full Senate should vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court until that takes place."
A government official previously told The Hill that a criminal investigation into the incident had not been opened. The FBI included the letter in an update to Kavanaugh's background file, which was then given to the White House and the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Democrats can't block Kavanaugh's confirmation on their own. Republicans hold a majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee and have scheduled the committee vote on his nomination for 1:45 p.m. on Thursday.
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump pushes back on book claims, says he spent 'virtually no time' discussing election with Lee, Graham The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden meets with lawmakers amid domestic agenda panic The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - House Democrats plagued by Biden agenda troubles MORE (R-S.C.), who is a member of the committee, said Sunday he has concerns about the timing of when Ford's allegations have come to light, but expressed a willingness to hear her account in the Senate.
"If the committee is to hear from Ms. Ford, it should be done immediately so the process can continue as scheduled," Graham said in a statement.
Republican members of the Judiciary Committee and Jones, who is not a member of the panel, predicted earlier Sunday that Kavanaugh's nomination would move forward despite the allegation.
And a spokesman for Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley announces reelection bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the committee, on Sunday defended Kavanaugh and called for Feinstein to release the letter which describes the alleged incident.
"It raises a lot of questions about Democrats’ tactics and motives to bring this to the rest of the committee’s attention only now rather than during these many steps along the way. Senator Feinstein should publicly release the letter she received back in July so that everyone can know what she’s known for weeks," Taylor Foy, the spokesman for Grassley, said.
Schumer later on Sunday doubled down on his call to postpone the vote, calling for an investigation by the FBI.
"Senate Republicans ran a transparently partisan confirmation process and then immediately insinuated Prof Ford is being untruthful," Schumer said in a tweet. "They cannot impartially investigate these disturbing allegations. That must be done by the FBI, and the vote must be postponed until it is complete."
— Updated 5:29 p.m.