Female House Dems urge Senate to delay Kavanaugh testimony for FBI investigation

Female House Dems urge Senate to delay Kavanaugh testimony for FBI investigation
© Greg Nash

A group of female Democratic House members hand-delivered a letter on Thursday calling on Republican leadership to delay moving forward with Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination until the FBI conducts an investigation.

The move is reminiscent to the seven female House members who crossed chambers to demand senators take Anita Hill's sexual harassment allegations into account during the nomination process for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991.

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The letter was delivered to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAre Democrats turning Trump-like? House Democrat calls for gun control: Cities can ban plastic straws but 'we can't ban assault weapons?' Churches are arming and training congregants in response to mass shootings: report MORE's (R-Ky.) office shortly before Christine Blasey Ford began testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding her accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her during in the early 1980s.

The group argued that Kavanaugh's testimony, which is scheduled for later in the day, should be postponed to provide additional time to investigate additional allegations that have emerged in recent days.

"As women, we know uniquely that when our voices are spoken that we have not been heard. We are not going to allow that this time," Rep. Brenda LawrenceBrenda Lulenar LawrenceMichigan House Democrats plan vigil for Iraqi man who died after deportation Democrats warn of Trump trap Democratic lawmaker: 'I love America even though at times she didn't love me back' MORE (D-Mich.), the chair of the Women's Caucus, said in a video of the women dropping off the letter. "We are demanding an investigation and we demand to be heard and respected. And this nominee should be totally vetted to be the Supreme Court justice. Not on our watch."

In the letter — spearheaded by Rep. Lois FrankelLois Jane FrankelDemocratic Women's Caucus calls for investigation into Epstein plea deal Epstein death sparks questions for federal government Attorney General Barr 'appalled' by Epstein death in federal custody MORE (D-Fla.) and signed by 65 Democrats — members said they believe it's critical the process isn't rushed before appointing someone to the highest court.

"In 1991, the Senate disrespected Anita Hill, questioned her credibility, and discounted her experiences. Now, 27 years later, Senate leadership has an opportunity to do better," the letter reads.

"These courageous women have nothing to gain by speaking their truth and every reason to stay silent and avoid the harassment and death threats they are currently receiving for coming forward."

Democrats in both chambers have been vocal in their call for an FBI investigation, calls that have been met with pushback from Republicans, who argue members across the aisle are attempting to stall the process and an investigation doesn't fall under the agency's jurisdiction. 

The FBI would not typically open an investigation into the allegations because no federal crime is alleged, although a background check into Kavanaugh could be reopened at the White House's request.

"It is in the interest of Brett Kavanaugh to have this investigation if he wants to clear his name. It’s certainly in the interest of all women in this country to make sure that we have someone on the Supreme Court who recognizes women and respects women and does not treat them as chattel," said Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierEpstein death sparks questions for federal government Overnight Defense: Senate fails to override Trump veto on Saudi arms sales | Two US troops killed in Afghanistan | Senators tee up nominations, budget deal ahead of recess Democrats see window closing for impeachment MORE (D-Calif.), who has been one of the top voices on the "Me Too" movement and women's rights in the lower chamber. "We have Dr. Blasey Ford’s back and we’re not going back."

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination Friday.