Initially thought to be an easy process in a Republican-controlled House and Senate, the confirmation of conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is looking increasingly less likely. So far, two different women from Kavanaugh’s past have submitted allegations of sexual impropriety while they attended high school and college with him, and attorney Michael Avenatti, the firebrand who succeeded in exposing Michael Cohen’s involvement in campaign finance violations, claims to have a third accuser waiting in the wings, according to a timeline compiled by USA Today.
Republican lawmakers are, by and large, taking the claims of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford somewhat seriously, with a hearing scheduled for Thursday, September 27, when both Ford and Kavanaugh will be able to state their positions with no time limit and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle will be given five minutes each to ask questions of Ford. However, the second accuser, Boulder-based Deborah Ramirez, has been largely dismissed by the Republican leadership, and President Trump has openly attacked Ramirez. Ramirez attorney John Clune told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Wednesday night that despite having a call set up with bipartisan leadership earlier in the day to discuss his client’s claims and how they could be heard before the confirmation vote, the only people present for the call were Democratic lawmakers. Republican leadership chose to skip the call entirely.
Breaking: Senate Republicans picked Arizona-based sex-crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Kavanaugh and Ford at Thursday hearing https://t.co/kpWedUTkaH
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) September 26, 2018
That’s not sitting well with some Republicans, particularly Senators Susan Collins from Maine and Lisa Murkowski, who represents Alaska. According to Salon, if Collins chooses not to back Kavanaugh, Murkowski is likely to follow suit, and with the narrow 51-49 Republican lead in the Senate, those two votes would be enough to sink the confirmation. Collins and Murkowski have both stated that they would like to see both accusers be questioned by the Senate, not just Ford, and according to reporting from ABC News, Murkowski has signaled support for an FBI investigation into the claims against Kavanaugh. Some Democrats on the Hill had had enough by Tuesday night, with Senators Merkley and Markey both suggesting that Kavanaugh step down, according to a separate story from USA Today.
A number of former Kavanaugh classmates and supporters have openly stated that Kavanaugh was a heavy drinker and partier in college, and a couple of the women who initially supported Kavanaugh after the Ford accusations have withdrawn their support in light of the second allegation from Ramirez. In addition, Michael Avenatti claims via Twitter to represent yet another credible accuser, but she has yet to come forward. There has been speculation that Avenatti was trolled and deceived by a user on the 4Chan website, a claim he vigorously denies, stating that he vets his clients carefully before taking their cases.