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 KavanaughDems escalate gun fight a year after Parkland Virginia political scandals show why words, and their delivery, truly matter In Virginia, due process should count more than blind team support 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 KlobucharO’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation NBC, CNN to host first two Democratic presidential primary debates Barbara Lee endorses Kamala Harris's 2020 bid 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 TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could 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.