McConnell lashes out at Democrats over 'unhinged' criticism of Kavanaugh

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMattis warns 'ISIS will resurge' without U.S. pressure on Syria McConnell tightlipped as impeachment furor grows Hillicon Valley: Google, Reddit to testify on tech industry protections | Trump joins Amazon-owned Twitch | House to vote on bill to combat foreign interference MORE (R-Ky.) blasted Democrats on Monday over calls for Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSupreme Court can prove its independence — or its partisan capture Overnight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Planned Parenthood plans M campaign for 2020 | Dem candidates embrace aggressive step on drug prices | Officials propose changes to encourage 'value-based' care Bans on public coverage for abortion are unjustified by science and outright harmful MORE to be impeached in the wake of a new allegation of sexual misconduct.
 
McConnell, speaking from the Senate floor, compared the backlash to the movie "Groundhog Day," referring to last year's fight over Kavanaugh's nomination.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
"Over the last couple of days, leading Democrats have tried to grab on to yet another poorly sourced, thinly reported, unsubstantiated allegation against Justice Brett Kavanaugh," he said.
 
The New York Times reported over the weekend that Max Stier, a classmate of Kavanaugh's at Yale University, alleged that Kavanaugh exposed himself at a party and that other students pushed Kavanaugh's genitals into the hand of a female student, apparently without her consent.
 
The Times has subsequently added a correction to its piece, noting that friends of the woman allegedly involved in the incident said she does not recall it.
 
"Little things like facts and evidence didn't stop Democrats from rushing to exploit this. Even as the media was trying to backpedal, a number of the Democratic presidential candidates were hysterically calling for Justice Kavanaugh to be impeached," McConnell added from the Senate floor on Monday.
 
Republicans have rushed to defend Kavanaugh in the wake of the Times story. Every GOP senator, except Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMurkowski warns against rushing to conclusions on Trump impeachment GOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe Republicans show signs of discomfort in defense of Trump   MORE (Alaska), voted to confirm Kavanaugh last year despite allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. Kavanaugh, who was narrowly confirmed, has denied any wrongdoing.
 
The latest allegation has sparked calls from White House hopefuls that Kavanaugh should be investigated or impeached — a long-shot possibility given Republican control of the Senate.
 
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerBarr to speak at Notre Dame law school on Friday The 13 House Democrats who back Kavanaugh's impeachment Ignore the hype — this is not an impeachment inquiry MORE (D-N.Y.) pledged on Monday that he would ask FBI Director Christopher Wray at a hearing next month about the agency's background investigation into Kavanaugh.
 
The skirmish over Kavanaugh comes as judicial nominations have become increasingly polarizing during the Trump administration.
 
Republicans changed the rules in 2017 to get rid of the 60-vote procedural hurdle for Supreme Court nominees after Democrats got rid of the same hurdle for executive and lower court picks in 2013.
 
McConnell has also set a record pace for his confirmation of Trump's influential circuit court picks.
 
Progressive groups are trying to make structural reforms to the court a wedge issue for the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, including urging candidates to support expanding the number of Supreme Court justices.
 
McConnell, on Monday, argued that the current criticism of Kavanaugh should be viewed as an extension of a push by some Democrats to overhaul the court system.
 
"It would be a mistake to dismiss this as a bad case of sour grapes. This is not just a left-wing obsession with one man. It's part of a deliberate effort to attack judicial independence," he said.
 
"When you're this willing to launch unhinged personal attacks, you reveal a whole lot more about your own radicalism than about the men and women you target," McConnell added.