McCaskill challenger calls for special counsel to investigate Feinstein’s handling of Kavanaugh allegations

Anna Moneymaker

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R), who’s running against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), is calling for a special counsel to investigate Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and her staff over the handling of sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“It raises very troubling ethical question … and that’s why I’m calling today for a special counsel to investigate the conduct of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, her staff and all other relevant party for violating the confidentiality of Dr. Ford and obstructing the work of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Hawley told reporters on a Monday conference call, referring to the first woman to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

{mosads}Feinstein, the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, first received a letter in July from California professor Christine Blasey Ford about allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party in the 1980s.

The California senator has maintained that she didn’t come forward with the letter because Ford wanted it to remain confidential, but Republicans have continued to criticize Feinstein for her handling of that letter. Ford went public with the allegations in September after reports surfaced that Feinstein gave a letter to the FBI.

Two other women have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. He has denied all the allegations.

Hawley on Monday also called on McCaskill, who’s in one of the toughest Senate races in the country, to back his call for a special counsel.

“I call on Sen. McCaskill today to put partisanship aside and support a special counsel to investigate these potential abuses,” Hawley said on the call.

“This is what a partisan does, and what causes the problem in the first place. We need to be respecting one another, talking to one another, and calmly completing our work — not pointing fingers,” McCaskill said in a statement.

McCaskill announced that she opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination prior to last week’s hearing. While she called the allegations “troubling,” McCaskill said she doesn’t support the judge because of his positions on the “avalanche of dark, anonymous money that is crushing our democracy.”

Hawley also criticized Democrats at last Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, where both Ford and Kavanaugh testified, calling it a “partisan circus.”

When asked about his thoughts on Ford’s testimony, Hawley said he believed she was sincere but pointed to what he believes is a lack of evidence. The Missouri Republican described Kavanaugh’s testimony as “very powerful” and “heartfelt.”

“There’s no reason to doubt her sincerity, but the question is, is there sufficient corroborating evidence?” Hawley said. “Based on what we know now, I think the answer to that is no. I think there’s no corroborating evidence.”

McCaskill and Hawley are squaring off in one of the most competitive races in the country. McCaskill is defending her seat in a state that President Trump won by nearly 19 points in 2016.

–This report was updated at 1:40 p.m.

Tags Claire McCaskill Dianne Feinstein Donald Trump

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