Durbin: Kavanaugh's accuser is not being treated respectfully

Durbin: Kavanaugh's accuser is not being treated respectfully
© Anna Moneymaker

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinWhite House officials, Democrats spar over legality, substance of executive orders Sunday shows - Trump coronavirus executive orders reverberate Durbin blasts Trump's 'country-club fix' on unemployment MORE (D-Ill.) said Sunday that he thinks the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct at a high school party in the 1980s is not being treated respectfully.

"I do believe that she has not been treated well over the course of this and the Republicans ... feel uneasy with the way this has been handled," Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said on ABC's "This Week."

He pointed to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTrump puts trade back on 2020 agenda McConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill GOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe MORE's (R-Iowa) attempts to set up a conference call with the accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, ahead of the originally scheduled confirmation vote for Kavanaugh.

Republicans were initially reluctant to push back the vote, particularly given the timing of the allegations.

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Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Yates spars with GOP at testy hearing Democrats want Biden to debate Trump despite risks MORE (D-Calif.) only brought Ford's allegations into the public eye one week before the originally scheduled confirmation vote, despite having had them for six weeks. 

Last Tuesday, Republicans announced they would push back the vote in order to hold a hearing for Ford's allegations this Monday. However, Ford's attorney originally stated she would not testify until the FBI had investigated her claims.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice said, however, that the matter was outside the FBI's jurisdiction, pointing to the fact that Ford was not accusing Kavanaugh of a federal crime, nor did her allegations indicate he could be a national security risk. 

Democrats, who previously supported an investigation, immediately backed Ford's request, a position Durbin echoed Sunday.

"I think her requests have been reasonable," Durbin, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said. "What Dr. Ford has asked for I believe is a credible request, an investigation by the FBI."

He noted that the Bush administration called for an FBI investigation of Anita Hill's allegations that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her.

"Anita Hill, that was done instantly," Durbin said. "In this situation the Trump White House, Department of Justice have refused from the start for any type of investigation."

Hill had accused Thomas of harassing her while he was a federal employee, making it a point of federal inquiry.