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Schumer: McConnell owes Kavanaugh accuser an apology

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerPush to pay congressional interns an hour gains traction with progressives House approves two-week spending measure to avert shutdown Manchin’s likely senior role on key energy panel rankles progressives MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday demanded that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump flubs speech location at criminal justice conference Sunday shows preview: Trade talks, Cohen sentencing memo take center stage Trump tells McConnell to let Senate vote on criminal justice reform MORE (R-Ky.) apologize to a woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, saying the GOP leader had labeled the allegations a "smear job."

"Leader McConnell owes an apology to [Christine Blasey Ford] for labeling her allegations a 'smear job.' Let me repeat that ... Leader McConnell owes an apology to Dr. Ford for labeling her allegations a 'smear job.' And he should apologize to her immediately," Schumer said from the Senate floor. 

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Schumer added that comments McConnell made during a Monday speech were "galling" and that the Senate GOP leader has "done more than maybe anyone to politicize the Supreme Court nomination process." 

Schumer's demand is the latest in an escalating rhetorical battle in the Senate as sexual misconduct allegations have placed Kavanaugh's nomination on tenuous footing. 

McConnell is pledging that he will bring Kavanaugh's nomination to the Senate floor for a vote even though President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoaquín Castro: Trump would be 'in court right now' if he weren't the president or 'privileged' Trump flubs speech location at criminal justice conference Comey reveals new details on Russia probe during House testimony MORE's nominee may currently be short of the simple majority needed to be confirmed.

During a Senate floor speech on Monday, McConnell said Democrats were using Ford's allegation to “smear”  Kavanaugh and called their tactics “despicable.”

Ford alleges that during a high school party in the early 1980s Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and tried to remove her clothing. Kavanaugh has denied wrongdoing.

"This is an allegation of misconduct which all four supposed witnesses either flatly contradict or are unable to back up. In addition to Judge Kavanaugh, the other three supposed witnesses have said they have — quote — ‘no knowledge,’ ‘no recollection,’ and ‘no memory’ of the alleged incident," McConnell said on Monday.

spokeswoman for McConnell, noting Schumer's comments, responded on Twitter.

"Given Sen. Schumer's remarks, here's what ... McConnell said yesterday 'does it sound like a choreographed smear campaign that ignored Dr. Ford's request for confidentiality in order to inflict maximum damage at the last minute on Judge Kavanaugh & his family."

Schumer also knocked McConnell over his pledge, made on Friday, that Republicans would “plow right through” on Kavanaugh’s nomination and urged McConnell to back an FBI investigation into the allegations. 

“If Leader McConnell we’re truly concerned about these allegations being swept up in partisanship, he would join us in calling for an FBI background investigation which can be performed quietly, soberly, quickly, effectively without fuss, without muss,” he said.