Senate

Biden hits GOP for ‘invective, blind rage and brute partisanship’ in Kavanaugh hearing

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Former Vice President Joe Biden issued a blistering rebuke Friday of Senate Republicans’ handling of the sexual assault allegations facing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“What we witnessed yesterday from the Republican Judiciary Committee members was a degree of invective, blind rage and brute partisanship that threatens not only the Senate and the Supreme Court — it threatens the basic faith in fairness and justice that binds this country together,” he wrote in a statement. 

{mosads}”Doctor Blasey Ford gave courageous, credible, and powerful testimony. I believed her. The country believed her,” he added.

Biden’s comments came one day after Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to come forward with allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in an emotional, hours-long hearing. 

Ford, speaking for the first time publicly about the allegations, told the committee that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when the two were in high school in the 1980s. She said she feared Kavanaugh would rape her and might accidentally kill her after he put his hand over her mouth to stifle her screams for help.

Kavanaugh, testifying after Ford, fiercely denied the allegations, becoming visibly angry, red-faced and appearing to be on the verge of yelling at senators during his testimony.

Republicans hired a female outside counsel to question Ford and Kavanaugh as they tried to avoid the optics of 11 male senators questioning the 51-year-old professor, though she ultimately disappeared during Kavanaugh’s testimony.

The committee on Friday voted 11-10 along party lines to send Kavanaugh’s confirmation to a Senate-wide vote, but won a weeklong delay for that vote so the FBI could investigate allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against Kavanaugh by Ford.

“Doctor Blasey Ford deserves an FBI investigation today. The millions of women who have suffered sexual assault and abuse deserve an FBI investigation. The country deserves one. And for its reputation and legitimacy, the Supreme Court needs one too,” Biden added. 

Biden during his time in the Senate famously presided over the Anita Hill hearings regarding sexual misconduct accusations against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. He was able to secure an FBI investigation into the allegations, which took three days. 

Biden has been criticized for failing to defend Hill, with critics saying the former Delaware senator did not do enough to de-escalate senators’ questioning of her, which was famously rough and sometimes personal.

Despite resisting calls for an FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh, President Trump ordered a new investigation after Senate Republicans agreed to a one-week investigation.

“Well, it would seem that the FBI really doesn’t do that. They’ve investigated about six times before, and it seems that they don’t do that,” Trump said last week, referring to background checks Kavanaugh has gone through in the past.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), however, triggered a new FBI investigation and a delay in Kavanaugh’s nomination by saying Friday that he would withhold his confirmation vote unless an FBI investigation “limited in time and scope” was conducted into the allegations. Multiple senators, including Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), followed suit. 

Republicans have a 51-49 majority in the Senate and can only afford one GOP defection if the Democratic caucus unanimously votes against Kavanaugh’s confirmation. 

Tags Donald Trump Heidi Heitkamp Jeff Flake Joe Biden Joe Manchin Lisa Murkowski Susan Collins
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