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Sen. Murray: Confirming Kavanaugh will tell women to keep quiet

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., says she is frustrated and disappointed at the narrow scope of the FBI’s probe of Brett Kavanaugh, and that the decision to not interview Christine Blasey Ford or several other witnesses was an attempt to sweep the allegations “under the rug and move on.” Murray joins Judy Woodruff to explain her reservations about Kavanaugh’s character, and the message it sends women.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And we get a Democrat's take now from Senator Patty Murray of Washington state. She is the highest-ranking woman in Senate leadership.

    I spoke to her earlier this evening.

    Senator Patty Murray, thank you very much for joining us.

    Republicans are moving ahead with this vote on Judge Kavanaugh. They say this FBI report provides no corroboration for these — for any of these allegations.

    What did you see in the report?

  • Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.:

    Well, Judy, obviously, I can't talk about exactly what's in the report.

    But I can tell you that I am so frustrated and disappointed that it was a very narrow scope. If there's one thing we have learned about allegations of sexual assault, is that it often takes a long time for someone to come forward and tell someone about it, to be able to remember all the minute details of it.

    They often just remember a few things, as Dr. Ford herself very — showed us last week in a very emotional way. And to not speak to the people that she has said to talk to really says to me that this is not a thorough investigation, and it really is an attempt just to sweep this under the rug and move on.

    And that is such a disservice to this nominee, to us as a country, and to women who are victims of sexual assault.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Well, the White House and Republicans, Senator Grassley, are saying this was a thorough investigation. They're saying they followed all the leads that were related to the sexual assault allegations.

    Well, what we do know is that both Dr. Ford and Ms. Ramirez gave the FBI additional witnesses that were not contacted.

    So, to me, that says right there it's not a thorough investigation.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    They also say, Senator, that during Judge Kavanaugh's 12 years as a federal appellate judge, there were no accusations against him, that what we're really talking about here are things that happened three, four decades ago, when he was in high school and college, that it just doesn't rise to the level that Democrats are making it out to be.

  • Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.:

    Well, let me answer that in a number of ways.

    First of all, character and judgment do matter when you're putting someone on the bench on the Supreme Court for a lifetime service. And it matters because you want to know, when you come before them, you will be judged fairly.

    So their judgment, their character matters, their veracity matters, and their temperament matters. If he indeed did lie to the committee about what he had done, that speaks volumes. And that's why this is so critical.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Do you believe he did lie to the committee?

  • Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.:

    I do believe that there is great gaps in his testimony in a number of areas, both in the case before us as we're talking about Dr. Ford, but also in other areas that he gave testimony to before the committee, as when we saw in the e-mails whether or not he had — was involved in judicial nominations in the past and some of the other questions that came before us.

    So, to me, those questions were already there.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Senator, how do you answer Republican charges that Democrats were all along planning not to vote for Judge Kavanaugh anyway, that you have this comment from Senator Schumer at the outset that he was going to do everything he could to prevent him from being confirmed?

    They are saying Democrats have — basically, from the get-go, have done everything they could to prevent this nomination from being — from going through.

  • Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.:

    Well, let me speak directly to Dr. Ford.

    Dr. Ford contacted her member of Congress, because she told us very clearly she thought it was her civic duty for us to know something about a nominee that was going to go before the — or become a United States Supreme Court justice, rightfully and that — truthfully.

    And that investigation took some time. And, obviously, no one likes how it came about. But the fact is, it is in front of us now. It is a consideration. So, we have to do our best job to evaluate that.

    Can it be done better in the future? Man, I think we all hope so. But it's here now. And this is what we have. And this is what we're looking at. Do we put someone on the Supreme Court that both his veracity and his — how he has treated women in the past — I just think that it's wrong to put him on there. And that's why I will be voting no.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Do you believe he will be confirmed?

  • Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.:

    I think none of us know how the last few votes are going to come down.

    What I do know is that people are watching. I hear from so many women and men who have told me their own personal stories of sexual assault, who are saying they're watching this closely. And if the Senate sweeps this under the rug, doesn't take it seriously, and puts this man on the Supreme Court, it will send a message nationwide to women once again to be quiet, don't come forward.

    And I think that is such a wrong message for today. And I think, if that is the message we send, women are going to be out in force over the next few months to speak out.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Senator Patty Murray of Washington state, thank you very much.

  • Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.:

    Thank you.

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