Updated 5:11 p.m. | Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not heard anything that should slow confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and is pledging to push ahead.
“Judge Kavanaugh will be confirmed,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. He was echoing comments he made Friday, before revelations of additional accusations of sexual assault were leveled at Kavanaugh on Sunday.
The Kentucky Republican started with a fiery opening speech blasting the handling of allegations against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee as a “smear campaign” Monday — just a prelude to Thursday’s main event, the hearing where the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from both Kavanaugh and one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford.
“Senate Democrats and their allies are trying to destroy a man’s personal and professional life on the basis of decades-old allegations that are unsubstantiated and uncorroborated,” McConnell said.
Watch: McConnell Says Senate Will Vote on Kavanaugh 'in the Near Future'
Still, McConnell said that Ford, the first woman to come forward with accusations against Kavanaugh dating to their time in high school in suburban Washington, would be testifying at the Judiciary Committee as scheduled on Thursday.
But it was increasingly hard to see how the Ford testimony could affect the resolve of McConnell to ensure that Kavanaugh gets his up-or-down vote on the Senate floor, after accusing Democrats of “aiding and abetting” what he’s described as a takedown of the current federal appellate judge.
“Democrats have signaled for months they’d put on whatever performance the far left special interests demanded and throw all the mud, all the mud they could manufacture,” McConnell said. “Even by the far left’s standards, this evil, evil smear campaign has hit a new low.”
Watch: Double Drama — Kavanaugh, Rosenstein Await Trump's Return from UN Conference
It is quite unusual for a pending nominee for a position requiring Senate confirmation to agree to a TV interview, but that is what Kavanaugh did Monday, joined by his wife.
“I'm not going to let false accusations drive us out of this process, and we're looking for a fair process where I can be heard and defend ... my integrity, my lifelong record of promoting dignity and equality for women,” he told the Fox News Channel. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Watch: Anti-Kavanaugh Protesters Swarm Susan Collins’ Office, Arrests Made