Having watched the testimony and read statements and affidavits related to charges of sexual assault and misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh, we are more certain than ever that reopening Judge Kavanaugh’s background investigation is of critical importance. The charges leveled by Christine Blasey Ford, in particular, are serious, credible, and warrant further inquiry so that senators can make an informed decision about whether Brett Kavanaugh should be elevated to the Supreme Court. While the charges have come late in the nomination process, we believe an FBI background investigation could be completed quickly, without causing the nomination process excessive delay. It is critical to note that the American Bar Association, whose ratings you cite highly in your deliberative process for judicial nominee confirmation, is also calling for an FBI investigation because of the association’s “respect for the law and due process.”
We also learned a great deal from today’s testimony that we think you should consider as you weigh your decision on Judge Kavanaugh:
Importantly, Dr. Ford testified that she first reached out to her congressional representative and The Washington Post’s anonymous tip line before President Trump selected Judge Kavanaugh as his nominee, hoping the information might lead to the selection of a different nominee. After Judge Kavanaugh was nominated, Dr. Ford decided against going public. Her decision was honored by Senator Feinstein, who knew of the allegation. When the information later leaked, Dr. Ford felt compelled to come forward to tell her story in her own words. This information contradicts allegations that Dr. Ford was a partisan pawn, “lying in wait” to destroy Kavanaugh in the 11th hour.
Dr. Ford testified that she told the story of her assault to her husband and two therapists years ago. This claim is corroborated by therapists’ notes, and should be further confirmed with sworn testimony by the therapists and Dr. Ford’s husband (all have agreed to testify as part of an FBI investigation). Dr. Ford names three attendees of the party, including Mark Judge, who she says witnessed the assault. Judge and another man named appear on Judge Kavanaugh’s calendar from that summer. While letters drafted and signed by lawyers for the three named individuals deny knowledge of such an event, they should not be considered a substitute for an interview under oath with an FBI investigator. We also agree with you that it is absolutely essential that Mark Judge be compelled to testify under oath.
Although both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh have asserted that their claims are correct with “100%” certainty, they cannot both be telling the truth. Dr. Ford made very clear in her letter to Senator Feinstein that she did not want her traumatic story made public. To do so would subject her and her family to unspeakable anguish, all of which (and more) has come to pass. While Dr. Ford has nothing to gain by telling her story, Judge Kavanaugh stands to gain a lifetime position on the Supreme Court if his emphatic denials are believed.
Dr. Ford answered all questions put to her in a forthright, consistent, and direct manner, and her statements were supported by a polygraph test and statements from peers. Unlike Judge Kavanaugh, Dr. Ford did not refuse to answer questions, obfuscate, attempt to gloss over or guess about gaps in her memory, or tell flattering stories about herself. We found her to be a credible and trustworthy witness, with a story that is similar to that of many women we know. By contrast, we were not persuaded by Judge Kavanaugh’s often repeated and “canned” responses that were used to deflect or skirt, rather than answer questions. Judge Kavanaugh’s account of his own drinking were implausible to the point of absurdity, and directly contradict his own writing and speeches, as well as accounts written by Mark Judge and other peers. His repeated use of the phrase “What happens in XXX stays in XXX” should also be viewed as an indicator that Judge Kavanaugh feels some entitlement to withholding unflattering or damaging information. Unlike Dr. Ford and other accusers, Judge Kavanaugh has refused to request an FBI investigation or a polygraph to support his claims.
Brett Kavanaugh demonstrated with his testimony that he does not have the temperament required of a Supreme Court justice. His prepared remarks were delivered with vitriol, spite, and open hostility, and he at times responded to serious and important questions with belligerence and contempt. On numerous occasions, Judge Kavanaugh took a strikingly partisan posture, lobbing Breitbart-style conspiracy theories about 2016 election anger and the Clintons that were entirely unbecoming of a judge on any court.
Senator Collins, we hope you came to similar conclusions about the testimony you watched Thursday, and that you will add these notes to your own. In addition to the concerns highlighted in our detailed case review, unresolved questions about whether he lied to Congress, and an incomplete review of his White House records, we believe there is more than enough reason for you to either withhold your vote until you can make an informed decision or vote against this nominee because he poses a real threat to the well-being of Mainers.