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Senator dodges Kavanaugh impeachment question

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) sidestepped when CNN's Dana Bash asked whether Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh should be impeached if Democrats take control of Congress.

Posted: Oct 7, 2018 12:00 PM
Updated: Oct 7, 2018 12:18 PM

Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono called Republican Sen. Susan Collins' comments on Christine Blasey Ford "insulting" to Ford and other victims of sexual assault.

"She said that Dr. Ford thinks that she was assaulted, which is even more insulting than saying that she gave a very credible account ..." Hirono said. "What is that? Is [Ford] mistaken?"

Ford alleged that newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanugh sexually assaulted her while the two were at a party in high school, and other accusers soon came forward. Kavanaugh has denied all the allegations.

The Hawaii Democrat criticized Collins for her views in light of the Maine Republican's meetings with sexual assault survivors.

"She herself said she spoke to so many survivors from her state and elsewhere," Hirono said. "They kept all these painful, traumatic accounts to themselves. This is what happens with sexual assault survivors, that they do not come forward."

Collins told Bash earlier Sunday morning, "I do not believe that Brett Kavanaugh was [Ford's] assailant. I do believe she was assaulted."

"Is it more likely than not that Brett Kavanaugh assaulted Christine Ford?," Collins later added. "There was no corroborating evidence he did so."

Hirono pushed back on Collins' stance, arguing that there was corroboration on Ford's side but no corroboration of Kavanaugh's innocence.

"There was no corroboration on Brett Kavanaugh's bold assertion that he didn't do it," Hirono said. "On [Ford's] side, there was corroboration. She talked about this assault to her husband, to others, before Brett Kavanaugh was ever nominated to the Supreme Court. She took a lie detector test and corroboration was there."

Hirono also said Sunday that her party should focus on the upcoming elections "like a laser beam" despite calls from some progressives to impeach Kavanaugh if Democrats take control of the House of Representatives.

When Bash asked whether Kavanaugh should be impeached if Democrats take control, Hirono replied, "I'm much more focused on the here and now, which is that we have an election coming up."

"I've said to the women who are justifiably angry but determined ... they should be just focused like a laser beam on the elections," Hirono added. "Because they have connected the dots. They know that the senators who are making these confirmation decisions are the people who are elected by their voters, and so as voters they have a role to play."

Hirono also sidestepped Bash's question on whether Michael Avenatti, who represents porn star Stormy Daniels, hurt the Democrats' arguments against Kavanaugh's confirmation by representing a third woman to make allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh.

That accuser, Julie Swetnick, alleged that at house parties in the early 1980s, she observed Kavanuagh "fondling and grabbing girls without their consent" and, along with others, spiking drinks to force girls to lose their inhibitions. Swetnick also alleged that at some parties, boys lined up by a bedroom to "gang-rape" incapacitated girls and claimed those in the lineup included Kavanaugh and Judge. But she did not say Kavanaugh or Judge assaulted the girls in the bedroom, nor did she provide the names of corroborating witnesses. Both Kavanaugh and Judge have denied Swetnick's allegations.

"There were enough other aspects and allegations and reports that we wanted the FBI to investigate," Hirono replied to Bash. "And they did not. Why? Because the White House very much limited the scope of this so-called FBI investigation, which was a sham.

Hirono has been a vocal opponent of Kavanaugh's confirmation, calling the FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against the judge "a sham" on the Senate floor on Thursday and arguing Tuesday on CNN's "New Day" that "the portrayal of himself as practically a choir boy is very much contradicted by his roommate, for example, in college, as well as people who knew him in high school."

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