A flurry of new documents and sworn statements about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh emerged Wednesday — including from a third woman accusing him of sexual misconduct — as Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, his first accuser, prepared for a pivotal hearing Thursday on Capitol Hill.
The new allegation, atop new evidence from both Kavanaugh and Ford and a call from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to suspend his nomination, have raised questions on both sides of the aisle about what path to take forward.
Here’s what we know and what we’re watching.
More details about the hearing: Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee announced Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell would handle their questioning of both Kavanaugh and Ford during tomorrow’s hearing. Mitchell focuses largely on sex crimes as the chief of the Special Victims Division at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix. Democrats have said they intend to ask their own questions.
Senators on the committee received several rounds of new documentation, including:
- Kavanaugh calendars: Kavanaugh’s lawyers submitted five pages of his calendar from 1982. They include notes about sports games, parties, beach trips and sleepovers at the homes of his friends, including Mark Judge, who Ford alleges was a witness to the assault. The lawyers intend to use the pages as evidence Kavanaugh was not at the party where Ford says the he assaulted her.
- Ford affidavits: Ford submitted sworn affidavits by her husband and three others — a friend, her son’s softball coach, and a neighbor — saying that she told them between 2012 and 2017 about being sexually assaulted as a teenager, and that her attacker was now a federal judge. The affidavits support the argument from Ford’s lawyers that she had discussed the assault years before Kavanaugh was nominated by President Donald Trump to the Supreme Court.
Second accuser wants to testify, too: Lawyers for Deborah Ramirez, who came forward Sunday with an allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh from their time at Yale, said Ramirez would also like to testify before the committee. Republican leaders have asked that Ramirez provide the committee with evidence before moving forward. Democrats had asked to delay Thursday’s meeting until they can hear from Ramirez. But Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said late Tuesday that he saw “no reason” to do so, in part because it would be unfair to Kavanaugh and to Ford, whom he said he had promised “a safe, comfortable, and dignified opportunity to testify.”
A third woman comes forward: The Senate Judiciary Committee received allegations from a third woman, who submitted a sworn statement about her interactions with Kavanaugh during the early 1980s. In the statement, she said she saw Kavanaugh “consistently engage in excessive drinking and inappropriate contact of a sexual nature” during his time in high school. She also claimed Kavanaugh and Judge were part of a group of male high school students who tried to spike punch with drugs or alcohol “so as to cause girls to lose their inhibitions and their ability to say no.” She said she believes she was drugged in this way in 1982 when Kavanaugh and Judge were present. She added that she was “gang raped” by a group of boys, writing that she was “incapacitated without my consent and unable to fight off the boys raping me.”
Some Republicans were quick to downplay the allegations. “I have a difficult time believing any person would continue to go to — according to the affidavit — ten parties over a two-year period where women were routinely gang raped and not report it,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Graham and Trump also questioned the woman’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, who represented the adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels. Clifford sued the president over a nondisclosure agreement that prevented her from speaking about her alleged affair with Trump. “Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” the president wrote on Twitter.
Avenatti’s response: “Let’s go.”
New Kavanaugh denial: “This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone. I don’t know who this is and this never happened,” Kavanaugh said in a statement.
A call to suspend the nomination: The 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote a letter to Trump on Wednesday asking him to “immediately withdraw” Kavanaugh’s nomination or order an FBI investigation into all of the allegations against him. Kavanaugh “is asking for a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court where he will have the opportunity to rule on matters that will impact Americans for decades. The standard of character and fitness for a position on the nation’s highest court must be higher than this,” they wrote.
Will Senators vote Friday? Earlier this week, the committee scheduled a vote Friday morning, the day after Thursday’s testimony, to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate. But the move drew criticism from Democrats who said nobody knew how Thursday’s proceedings would play out.
Grassley said he was following regular order. “If we‘re ready to vote, we will vote. If we aren’t ready, we won’t,” he wrote on Twitter.