Politics

Judiciary Staffer’s Tweets Fuel Fight Over Kavanaugh Accuser

‘Unfazed and determined. We will confirm Judge Kavanaugh,’ committee’s chief staffer says.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, walks to the floor for a vote after a meeting in Majority Leader McConnell's office in the Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Amid a pitched partisan battle over how the Senate handles an allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman decades ago as a teenager, liberal groups on Thursday seized on comments from a Judiciary Committee staffer to paint the process as a sham.

Mike Davis, the committee’s chief staffer for nominations, tweeted twice overnight about his key role in the committee’s review of Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation, as well as criticism of Ford’s attorneys and his desired outcome of the process.

“Unfazed and determined. We will confirm Judge Kavanaugh. #ConfirmKavanaugh #SCOTUS,” Davis tweeted at 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Davis tweeted two hours later: “I personally questioned Judge Kavanaugh under penalty of felony and 5 years of imprisonment, if he lies. I’m still waiting to hear back from the accuser’s attorneys, who can’t find time between TV appearances to get back to me.”

The comments contrasted with the tone Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley has tried to set in letters to committee Democrats as Ford’s attorneys have so far declined to have their client testify at a hearing the committee set for Monday, saying that she first wants an FBI investigation into her allegation.

The Iowa Republican told reporters Wednesday he is focused in the next few days on “doing everything we can to make Dr. Ford comfortable with coming before our committee, either in an open session or a closed session, or a public or a private interview.”

The executive director of Demand Justice, an advocacy group that has bought advertisements opposing Kavanaugh and worked to pressure Senators to oppose the nomination, was among those who criticized Davis’ tweets and said: “The mask has slipped.”

“This is one of Chuck Grassley’s lawyers who wants to interrogate Dr. Blasey Ford. Does he sound unbiased to you?” Brian Fallon, a former aide to Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., tweeted.

Davis deleted the tweets Thursday morning, and walked back his comments, tweeting: “To clear up any confusion, I was referring to Democrats’ partisan political attacks and their refusal to take part in the committee’s thorough and fair investigation. I deleted the tweet to avoid any further misinterpretation by left wing media as so often happens on Twitter.”

Adam Jentleson, director of public affairs at Democracy Forward who served as deputy chief of staff for former Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., tweeted that “Grassley and his staff are not making a good faith effort to get the facts — they’re on a mission to confirm their boy, no matter what.”

“Grassley’s process is a sham but I didn’t expect them to broadcast it so openly,” Jentleson said.

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