Politics

Second Kavanaugh Accuser Should Testify Thursday, Sanders Says

Trump spokeswoman: Democrats have ‘exploited’ women ‘for political gain’

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says both of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's accusers should testify on Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A second woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misdeeds should be allowed to testify alongside Christine Blasey Ford, the first to come forward, during a high-stakes Senate hearing on Thursday, President Donald Trump’s top spokeswoman says.

Deborah Ramirez, 53, who was at Yale University at the same time as Kavanaugh in the 1980s, told the New Yorker in an article published Sunday evening that he exposed himself at a party while extremely intoxicated. Ford, 51, says the federal appellate judge pinned her to a bed in high school and covered her mouth so forcefully she worried he might kill her while groping her against her will. Kavanaugh denies all the allegations.

Asked if Ramirez should be allowed to testify, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders replied, “Certainly we would be open to that. And that process could take place on Thursday,” on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday.

“Again, the president’s been clear: Let them speak, but let’s also let Brett Kavanaugh speak,” she said. “And let’s let him tell his side of the story before we allow allegations to determine his entire future.”

Watch: Kavanaugh, Rosenstein Await Trump’s Return from UN Conference

[Road Ahead: McConnell and Kavanaugh Set the Tone for the Week]

Sanders used ample parts of the morning interview to paint Democratic senators as taking advantage of the two women, part of a White House-Republican strategy to paint the Thursday hearing as an unfair political game to prevent Kavanaugh from joining the high court and giving it a 5-4 conservative bent.

“If anything has been appalling, it’s the way that they have gone after and used these people’s stories and their lives and exploited them for political gain,” Sanders said of Democrats.

She said Ford attempted to “come forward ... in a private manner,” adding: “And could have done so had Sen. Dianne Feinstein allowed that to happen and she didn’t. And I find that to be disgusting.”

Sanders also described Democrats as hypocritical when it comes to sex and politicians.

“A lot of Democrats like to ignore Keith Ellison and Cory Booker,” she said, referring to the former Minnesota House Democrat who is accused of abuse and the Democratic senator who admitted groping a girl when he was 15. “They love to fight and champion women until they disagree with them.”

When an ABC anchor noted the president has defended a string of men — from former Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly to former White House staff secretary Rob Porter — when they have faced sexual misconduct allegations, Sanders responded: “That’s not true.”

She quickly pivoted away from Trump’s pattern of defending accused men during the #MeToo Movement, saying Trump “knows” Kavanaugh.

[Thursday Could Be Most Consequential Day of Trump’s Tumultuous Tenure]

In a preview of GOP senators’ expected tactics come Thursday, the White House spokeswoman also contended “there hasn’t been a shred of evidence to corroborate the other individuals’ stories, and there’s been a lot of other individuals come forward and talked about the Brett Kavanaugh that they know. And they’re confident that these things didn’t happen.”

Democrats want the Thursday hearing postponed so Ramirez’s allegations can be fully investigated. So far, however, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley  and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are giving every indication that the hearing will go on as planned at 10 a.m. Thursday in what is shaping up to be a huge day in the Trump presidency.

The president is also slated to meet with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that same day. On Monday, reports surfaced that Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Justice Department’s Russia election meddling probe, was heading to the White House to be fired. After he and Trump spoke on the phone, however, the president put off a final decision until later this week when they will meet face-to-face at the White House.

Late Monday night, Trump tweeted from Trump Tower in Manhattan, where he is staying during a United Nations conference, that “Democrats are working hard to destroy a wonderful man,” adding his view that Kavanaugh could, if confirmed, “be one of our greatest Supreme Court Justices ever.”

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