‘I am glad that Chairman Grassley is following standard practice and regular order. As he’s stated, he plans to pursue this matter by the book, with bipartisan interviews of both Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford. I have great confidence in Chairman Grassley and his ability to proceed through this process.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the president’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh:
“It has been 70 days since the president nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court. For more than two months, the Senate has pored over Judge Kavanaugh’s professional record. We’ve reviewed the 300-plus opinions he has authored while serving on the D.C. Circuit. More pages of documents than have ever been produced for a Supreme Court nomination; more than for the past five nominations combined. And testimony from prominent legal scholars and top litigators who have praised the nominee’s intellect and his exemplary performance on the federal bench.
“We have also considered a wealth of evidence that pertains to Judge Kavanaugh’s character and his personal integrity. We have heard testimony or received open letters from hundreds of men and women who know Judge Brett Kavanaugh – who have worked alongside him, or clerked for him as a judge, or who’ve known him and his family personally over the years.
“This is what the Senate has considered for the past 70 days. In the Senate and around the country, almost everyone who went into this process with an open mind – who was prepared to give Judge Kavanaugh a fair hearing – has come away impressed. But now, an accusation of 36-year-old misconduct, dating back to high school, has been brought forward, at the last minute, in an irregular manner.
“It is an accusation which Judge Kavanaugh has completely and unequivocally denied. Quote: ‘This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes—to her or to anyone.’ It is an accusation which the ranking member on the committee of jurisdiction has known about for at least six weeks, yet chose to keep secret until the 11th hour.
“Neither she nor any of her Democratic colleagues chose to raise this allegation during the committee staff’s bipartisan background calls with the nominee. They did not raise it, even with the name redacted, in the 65 meetings Judge Kavanaugh held with Senators before his confirmation hearings, including his private meeting with the Ranking Member. They did not raise it, even with the name redacted, in four days of exhaustive public hearings while Judge Kavanaugh testified under oath — even though they chose to raise myriad other matters at the hearing, including through sometimes bizarre innuendo.
“They did not raise it in the closed session, the proper forum where such an allegation could been addressed with discretion and sensitivity. They did not raise it in the thousand-plus follow-up questions that Senators sent to Judge Kavanaugh in writing. But now – at the 11th hour, with committee votes on the schedule, after Democrats have spent weeks and weeks searching for any possible reason that the nomination should be delayed.
“Now they choose to introduce this allegation. Not through the standard, bipartisan process. Not by advising the Judiciary Committee colleagues and committee staff through proper channels. But by leaking it to the press. Because the chain of custody of this letter runs through the Democrat side of the Judiciary Committee.
“I can’t explain the situation any better than the senior Senator from Maine put it yesterday evening. As she said: ‘If they believed [Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser], why didn’t they surface this information earlier so that he could be questioned about it? And if they didn’t believe her and chose to withhold the information, why did they decide at the 11th hour to release it? It is really not fair to either of them the way it is was handled.’
“Well, as the senior senator from Texas said earlier today, ‘That Democrats have so egregiously mishandled this up until now is no excuse for us to do the same.’ I am glad that Chairman Grassley is following standard practice and regular order. As he’s stated, he plans to pursue this matter by the book, with bipartisan interviews of both Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford. I have great confidence in Chairman Grassley and his ability to proceed through this process.”