Collins says Kavanaugh’s anger and frustration ‘are understandable’

Collins says Kavanaugh’s anger and frustration ‘are understandable’
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Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force House Dems follow Senate action with resolution to overturn IRS donor disclosure guidance Senate votes to overturn IRS guidance limiting donor disclosure MORE (R-Maine) defended Supreme Court Designate Brett Kavanaugh’s temperament in a pre-taped interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation.” 

“Well first let me say that I thought Judge Kavanaugh’s denial at the second hearing was very powerful," Collins told John Dickerson in an interview to be aired Sunday. "His anger and his anguish, I think is — are understandable given that he's been accused of being involved in gang rapes of women. I mean that is a devastating allegation. So I think it was understandable that he was reacting as a human being as a father — as a father of two young girls." 

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“But I will say that I thought his questioning — with the questioning with the senators, that he went over the line and I was glad that he apologized to Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSenate Dems urge Trump to continue nuclear arms control negotiations after treaty suspension Senate approves bill reforming Congress's sexual harassment policy The Year Ahead: Push for privacy bill gains new momentum MORE in particular,” Collins added. 

Kavanaugh, whom the Senate confirmed to the Supreme Court Saturday afternoon, appeared in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week and issued a fiery denial of three women’s allegations against him of sexual misconduct while he was in high school and college. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of drunkenly bringing her into a bedroom, pinning her to a bed and trying to take off her clothes at a high school party in 1982, also testified at the hearing. 

Kavanaugh suggested the allegations were planned “smears” as part of Democrats’ “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.”

He also asked Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) if she had ever blacked out from drinking after she asked him the same thing. Kavanaugh apologized to Klobuchar after a brief recess.

Many on the left, already enraged over the sexual misconduct accusations leveled against Kavanaugh, pointed to his perceived partisanship as another reason to vote against his confirmation.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHouse funding bill scraps Arctic icebreaker program Senate advances Trump energy pick after Manchin flips The Senate must reject Bernard McNamee’s nomination for FERC MORE (R-Alaska), the lone GOP senator to not vote to confirm Kavanaugh, cited “matters of temperament” and “demeanor” in a speech on the Senate floor Friday explaining her decision. 

In the interview Collins said her decision to vote to confirm Kavanaugh was “a tough one” and defended the investigation the FBI conducted into the allegations against him. 

“It was a thorough investigation. Keep in mind that there have already been six FBI background investigations that have been done on Judge Kavanaugh and I, along with Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeOvernight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force Flake asks Daily Show where he can get a blanket emblazoned with his 'meaningless tweets' McCaskill: 'Too many embarrassing uncles' in the Senate MORE and Lisa Murkowski, insisted that there be a supplemental FBI investigation to look at these allegations because they were so serious,” she said.

The senator also defended Ford’s testimony, but said she could not find any corroborating evidence that Kavanaugh was her assailant.

“I am convinced that Dr. Ford believes what she told us and that she was the victim as a survivor of sexual assault and that, that has been a trauma that has stayed with her for her entire life. But we have a presumption of innocence in this country. And when I looked at the lack of any corroborating evidence — including no evidence from her very best friend who was present at the party I could not conclude that Brett Kavanaugh was her assailant,” she said.

Collins suggested that Democrats used Ford’s story for political means, referring to a leaked letter sent to Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate Dems urge Trump to continue nuclear arms control negotiations after treaty suspension Senate Intel leaders ask judge not to jail former aide amid leak investigation Dems demand Pompeo brief Congress on whether he discussed Assange with Ecuadorian official MORE (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which Ford outlined her accusations and requested to remain anonymous.

“Well I can't help but think that there were some who wanted to use Dr. Ford, and that really saddens me because otherwise they would have gone with her express wishes, which is to have been interviewed in private, to have kept her allegations confidential. They still could have been thoroughly explored and I think that's really shameful. I do not think the system treated her well," she said.