Flake: My office received call saying my family would be 'taken out' over Kavanaugh stance

Flake: My office received call saying my family would be 'taken out' over Kavanaugh stance
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GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Kelly, McSally virtually tied in Arizona Senate race: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (Ariz.) said on Wednesday that his office received a call saying that he and his family "would be 'taken out' " over his rhetoric on Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination.

Flake recounted from the Senate floor how he told Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyHouse to vote next week on sweeping bill to lower drug prices Trump escalates fight over tax on tech giants Falling impeachment support raises pressure for Democrats on trade MORE (R-Iowa) that he didn’t think the Senate should proceed with the confirmation process until Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, was given the opportunity to testify.

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“Not everybody felt that way," Flake said. "One man, somewhere in the country, called my office in Arizona and left a message saying that he was tired of me ‘interrupting our president’ and that for the offense of allowing Dr. Ford to be heard, for this offense, me and my family would be ‘taken out.’” 

Flake is the latest senator to say that their office has received threats over Kavanaugh’s nomination. Spokespeople for Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGiffords, Demand Justice to pressure GOP senators to reject Trump judicial pick Senate confirms eight Trump court picks in three days Lawmakers call for investigation into program meant to help student loan borrowers with disabilities MORE (R-Maine) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGiffords, Demand Justice to pressure GOP senators to reject Trump judicial pick Senate confirms Trump pick labeled 'not qualified' by American Bar Association Feinstein endorses Christy Smith for Katie Hill's former House seat MORE (D-Calif.) have also talked about how they have received “vulgar” and threatening calls and mail.

Collins is one of the few senators who remains publicly undecided on Kavanaugh. Feinstein is the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

Flake, who chose not to seek reelection this year, blamed the current political climate for calls like the one he said his office received.

“I mention this with reluctance, but only to say that we have lit a match, my colleagues. The question is, do we appreciate how close the powder keg is?” he asked.

Flake also used his speech to defend Ford and Kavanaugh against attacks being lobbed from both sides.

He said Ford wasn’t trying to “smear” Kavanaugh. Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocratic challenger to Joni Ernst releases ad depicting her as firing gun at him Senate confirms eight Trump court picks in three days The case for censuring, and not impeaching, Donald Trump MORE (R-Ky.), have accused Democrats of using Ford’s allegation to run a “smear campaign” against his nomination.

“What I do know is that I don’t believe that Dr. Ford is part of some kind of vast conspiracy from start to finish to smear Judge Kavanaugh, as has been alleged by some on the right,” Flake said. “And what I do know is that I don’t believe that Judge Kavanaugh is some kind of serial sexual predator, as has been alleged by some on the left."