President Donald Trump on Sunday once again came to the defense of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“Brett Kavanaugh should start suing people for liable, or the Justice Department should come to his rescue,” the president wrote on Twitter, misspelling the word “libel.” Approximately an hour after the original tweet, he sent out a new one with the correct spelling.
The president was presumably responding to a New York Times article headlined “Brett Kavanaugh Fit In With the Privileged Kids. She Did Not,” which focused on Deborah Ramirez, one of the women who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. The report revived the debate over whether he should have been confirmed to the Supreme Court last year.
The article was built around an investigation into an episode from Ramirez’s first year at Yale University: “She and some classmates had been drinking heavily when, she says, a freshman named Brett Kavanaugh pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her, prompting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it.” The report said the FBI had neglected to interview witnesses who may have been able to support Ramirez’s account, some of whom spoke to The Times.
Trump, who nominated Kavanaugh in July 2018 and fought hard for his confirmation by the Senate, tweeted on Sunday: “The lies being told about him are unbelievable. False Accusations without recrimination. When does it stop? They are trying to influence his opinions. Can’t let that happen!”
In the afternoon, he returned to the subject: “Can’t let Brett Kavanaugh give Radical Left Democrat (Liberal Plus) Opinions based on threats of Impeaching him over made up stories (sound familiar?), false allegations, and lies. This is the game they play. Fake and Corrupt News is working overtime! #ProtectKavanaugh”
Ramirez had gone public with her allegations about Kavanaugh’s behavior at college during his confirmation hearings, following in the footsteps of Christine Blasey Ford, who recounted a sexual assault from her high school days. Kavanaugh was confirmed in a 50-48 vote.
The Times article sparked new debate among senators who had served on the Senate Judiciary Committee last year.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) attacked newspaper for its report and questioned its motives. “They apparently spent 10 months with undercover reporters trying to track down every person that went to school with Justice Kavanaugh 30 years ago,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “You know, it’s an amazing level of reporting trying to just really dig up any dirt they can on the guy.”
Cruz said he considered the matter settled.
“I bet you the next Democratic debate, they’ll all be saying impeach Kavanaugh, impeach Trump,” Cruz added. “There’s nobody they don’t want to impeach. And at some point, they just have to let the anger go and recognize that the democratic process actually moves on.”
A pair of Democratic presidential candidates who served with Cruz disagreed sharply.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” said the Times report confirmed her belief that Kavanaugh should not have been confirmed, particularly given the way allegations against him were handled.
“My concern here is that the process was a sham,” she said.
Sen. Kamala Harris of California, a fellow 2020 candidate, also spoke against Kavanaugh on Sunday.
“I sat through those hearings. Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people,” she wrote on Twitter. “He was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice. He must be impeached.”
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also called on the House Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment inquiry into Kavanaugh.
“In normal times, I would call on the Department of Justice’s Inspector General to fully investigate the FBI’s failures in this matter,” she said in a statement. “But these are not normal times. The House Judiciary Committee should immediately begin an impeachment inquiry to determine whether Justice Kavanaugh lied to Congress and why the FBI wasn’t permitted to investigate.”
Bianca Quilantan and Marianne LeVine contributed to this report.
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