Two White House aides applauded Sen. Lindsey Graham after the South Carolina Republican delivered an angry diatribe against Democrats at the Senate hearing Thursday on one of the sexual assault complaints against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics,” Graham angrily and loudly railed, accusing Democratic colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee of trying to destroy Kavanaugh’s reputation in an effort to keep him off the nation’s highest court.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) questions Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) in his questioning period quoted Brett M. Kavanaugh’s opening statement when he said he would "welcome any kind of investigation."
"I've got a suggestion for you. Right now, turn to your left in the front row to Don McGahn, counsel to President Donald Trump. Ask him to suspend this hearing and nomination process until the FBI completes its investigation of the charges made by Dr. Ford and others."
President Trump was glued to the television and heartened by the fiery testimony of his Supreme Court nominee, aides said, as Brett M. Kavanaugh defended himself against allegations of sexual assault on Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
One senior administration official involved in the confirmation process described Kavanaugh's performance as "powerful…strong…game changing" in a text message.
The president was "happier" to see Kavanaugh defending himself so vigorously, another administration official said, as Trump had counseled Kavanaugh to do earlier in the week after the nominee and his wife appeared on Fox News.
Brett M. Kavanaugh took a page from Clarence Thomas’s defense Thursday, accusing Democratic senators and “the left” of seeking to smear his good name in order to defeat his Supreme Court nomination.
Thomas, defending himself a generation ago against charges of sexual harassment leveled by Anita Hill, denounced the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing into the accusation as a “high-tech lynching for uppity blacks.” He successfully portrayed himself, not Hill, as the victim in the process.
Kavanaugh described the current committee’s hearings as a “national disgrace,” and “grotesque and coordinated character assassination.” In emotional testimony, interrupted several times as he fought back tears, he condemned the process as a “coordinated … political hit.”
Before Brett M. Kavanaugh followed his accuser Christine Blasey Ford in testifying at the Senate Judiciary Committee, the viewers inside President Trump’s White House concluded that she had proved to be a good witness and that the hearing “was a mess” for the cause of Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, according to one aide there.
"She's credible," the aide, insisting on anonymity given the controversy, said of Ford, while the sight of 11 white Republican men on the committee sitting by silently to let a female prosecutor question Ford "was a mess."
The president, who watched first on Air Force One while returning from New York and then at the White House, had defended Kavanaugh during a news conference on Wednesday but said he could change his mind after the hearing, depending on how Ford and Kavanaugh came off.
Embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh emphatically and passionately denied allegations that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford in the early 1980s.
“I have never done this — to her or anyone,” Kavanaugh said during a lengthy opening statement at which he turned both angry and tearful.
“This has destroyed my family and my good name. A good name built up through decades of very hard work and public service,” he said, calling the allegations brought by Ford and other women a “calculated and orchestrated political hit.”