Heitkamp says she was prepared to vote 'yes' on Kavanaugh until the hearing

Heitkamp says she was prepared to vote 'yes' on Kavanaugh until the hearing

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) was prepared to vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughChief justice of California Supreme Court leaves GOP over Kavanaugh confirmation Doug Jones: Carmakers 'scared to death' over Trump tariffs McCaskill: 'Kavanaugh spectacle' made the difference in midterm loss MORE but decided not to after watching his hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, she said in an interview that aired Monday.

Heitkamp, who was considered a swing vote in Kavanaugh's confirmation process, told CNN that she had her office "begin to prepare a statement saying I was voting for him, up until that hearing.”

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Heitkamp said she watched Christine Blasey Ford's hearing, then Kavanaugh's and then Kavanaugh's for a second time, with the sound off. 

"We communicate not only with words, but with our body language and demeanor," she said.

"I saw somebody who was very angry, who was very nervous, and I saw rage that a lot of people said, 'Well of course you're going to see rage he's being falsely accused,' but it is at all times you're to acquit yourself with a demeanor that's becoming of the court," Heitkamp added.

Heitkamp said the final straw came when Kavanaugh responded to Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll Gillibrand says she's worried about top options in Dem 2020 poll being white men Biden team discussed 2020 run with O'Rourke as VP: report MORE (D-Minn.) asking him if he had ever blacked out from drinking by asking her the same question.

Kavanaugh on Saturday was confirmed to the Supreme Court by a 50-48 vote in the Senate. 

Heitkamp also said she believed Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her, because of her experience as an attorney working with sexual assault victims.

"I certainly think I have expertise beyond a number of people within the United States Senate and that expertise is that I have sat across the desk with victims people I've believed when they told me their story, and I had to say, 'I believe you but these cases can't be proved beyond a reasonable doubt so we can't proceed with the prosecution," she said. 

Heitkamp, who is one of 10 Senate Democrats up for reelection in states that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Memo: Cohen fans flames around Trump Memo Comey used to brief Trump on dossier released: report MORE won in 2016, is considered particularly vulnerable ahead of November's midterms. Recent polling has shown her trailing challenger Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) by a double-digit margin.