Joe Biden says an FBI investigation should be opened into Christine Blasey Ford’s sex assault claim against Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate moves forward with a vote on his Supreme Court nomination.
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee when Clarence Thomas faced accusations from Anita Hill, the retired Democratic politician said an FBI probe would only delay the proceedings by two days.
‘I think they should do an FBI investigation. We did that for Anita Hill,’ he said on ‘Today’ in an Friday morning interview. ‘Most importantly, Anita Hill was vilified when she came forward by a lot of my colleagues, character assassination. I wish I could’ve done more to prevent those questions and the way they asked them.’
Biden said he hopes that his Senate colleagues learned from that experience, ‘learned from that she deserves to be treated with dignity.’
Joe Biden says an FBI investigation should be opened into Christine Blasey Ford’s sex assault claim against Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate moves forward with a vote on his Supreme Court nomination
‘Anita Hill was vilified when she came forward by a lot of my colleagues, character assassination,’Biden recalled. ‘I wish I could’ve done more to prevent those questions and the way they asked them’
Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas (R), flanked by his wife Virginia, waits to reopen his testimony, 12 October 1991, before the Senate Judiciary Committee after law professor Anita Hill filed sexual harassment charges against him
‘It takes enormous courage for a woman to come forward on the bright lights of millions of people watching and relive something that happened to her, assert that something happened to her. And she should be treated with respect,’ Biden said.
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee when Clarence Thomas faced a sex assault accusation, Biden says he regrets the way his colleagues treated Anita Hill
In contrast, President Donald Trump said Thursday that the Senate Judiciary Committee should move swiftly to finish vetting his Supreme Court nominee and ridiculed Democrats who are calling for an FBI investigation into a sex-assault allegation dating back to 1982.
‘You say, “Why didn’t somebody call the FBI 36 years ago?”‘ the president said, declaring that Kavanaugh’s opponents have tried to ‘besmirch’ him.
Committee Republicans are trying to secure a commitment from accuser Christine Ford to appear at a hearing on Monday, but the Palo Alto University professor and Democratic senators are calling for an FBI investigation before the process can move forward.
Ford says she’d be willing to testify on Thursday – but only if Kavanaugh appears before the committee as previously scheduled on Monday.
‘I say let her say what she has to say and let’s see how it all comes out,’ Trump told Fox news Channel host Sean Hannity inside a Las Vegas arena before a scheduled rally. ‘But they’ve delayed it a week, and they have to get on with it.’
Christine Ford (left) has accused Brett Kavanaugh of pinning her down to a bed during a party more than 35 years ago, covering her mouth, and groping her over a one-piece bathing suit while he tried to disrobe her. Kavanaugh flatly denies that it ever happened
President Donald Trump defended Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Thursday and mocked Democrats who want an FBI investigation into a woman’s claim that he sexually assaulted her in 1982. ‘Why didn’t somebody call the FBI 36 years ago?’ the president asked
Trump said Thursday in Las Vegas that the U.S. Senat should ‘get on with it’ and confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court
Anita Hill was assailed at her public testimony by senators and Thomas was later confirmed. She’s seen here in 2017
In his pre-rally interview, Trump called Kavanaugh ‘an outstanding person’ and dismissed the demands for an FBI probe.
The FBI has conducted six background checks on Kavanaugh, including some when he was first nominated to a federal judgeship in 2006.
But Ford claimed in a letter to her congresswoman this summer that a drunken, teenage Kavanaugh had once pinned her to a bed at a high school party and groped her through a swimsuit while he tried to undress her.
Kavanaugh has flatly denied the event ever happened, and a friend who Ford claimed was present has backed him up.
Trump defended his nominee and didn’t mention Ford. His audience mentioned Kavanaugh’s name before he did, chanting it loudly at Trump’s first mention of ‘our judges’
Protesters opposed to Kavanaugh’s nomination were arrested outside the office of Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on Thursday
Ford spoke to no one of it until 2012 when she and her husband discussed it in therapy.
Trump took pains to not mention her by name on Thursday, and limited himself to defending Kavanaugh’s character.
‘I’m not saying anything about anybody else, but I want to tell you that Brett Kavanaugh is one of the finest human beings you will ever have the privilege of knowing or meeting,’ the president said to cheers.
‘A great intellect, a great gentleman, an impeccable reputation. Went to Yale, top student. Went to Yale Law School, top student.’
‘So we gotta let it play out,’ he concluded. ‘But I want to tell you, he is a fine, fine person … and he’s got tremendous support.’
Trump was in Nevada to rally a crowd in support of Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who is running for a third term.
On Wednesday during a donor conference call, Heller dismissed the nomination controversy.
‘We got a little hiccup here with the Kavanaugh nomination,’ he said. ‘We’ll get through this and we’ll get off to the races.’
Washington is divided over whether or not Ford’s memory can be trusted.
Christine Blasey (now Ford) and Brett Kavanaugh are pictured in their high school yearbooks
Trump was in Las Vegas to rally in support of Republican Sen. Dean Heller (right), who called Ford’s accusation a ‘hiccup’ during a conference call for donors on Wednesday
Her attorneys offered late Thursday to make her available to testify in a hearing next week, but with strings attached.
They told Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, that Ford would only agree to be questioned by senators – not committee lawyers.
They also demanded that she must testify after Kavanaugh, something that would run counter to the standards of both Capitol Hill hearings and criminal courtroom procedure.
Ed Whelan, a former clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and a Kavanaugh defender, suggested Thursday on Twitter that a teen from Kavanaugh’s high school who looks like him may have been Ford’s assailant.
Hours earlier police arrested protesters outside Grassley’s Senate office.
The demonstrators shouted that they believed Ford and tied her case to that of Anita Hill, a law professor whose sexual harassment accusations against Justice Clarence Thomas nearly derailed his 1991 Supreme Court confirmation.
The newest attorney on Ford’s team is Ricki Seidman, who was Joe Biden’s communication director. Seidman had previously worked for Sen. Ted Kennedy during the Thomas hearings, and helped convince Hill to testify.