Although neither the conservative federal judge nor the White House has given any indication that Kavanaugh intends to drop out, the path to his confirmation now looks much more challenging, and it is one that contains great peril for the Republican Party.
.. Katz described the alleged attack as an “attempted rape,” adding, “If it were not for the severe intoxication of Brett Kavanaugh, she would have been raped.”
.. A bit later on Monday morning, Kavanaugh issued a statement in which he repeated the denials he had made last week. “This is a completely false allegation,” he said. “I have never done anything like what the accuser describes—to her or to anyone . . . I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself.”
.. It was clear from the comments made by Christie and other Republicans that Ford’s decision to go public had irrevocably altered the political calculus.
.. Charles Grassley, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had scheduled a vote on the nomination for Thursday.
.. On Monday afternoon, he was“working on a way to hear [Ford] out in an appropriate, precedented & respectful manner.” He didn’t mention any public hearings, though, and he seemed to be referring to the possibility of phone calls between the committee and Ford. Grassley is no longer fully in control of events, however.
.. Arizona’s Jeff Flake, said the vote should be pushed back to give more time to investigate the allegations. Because the Republicans only have a majority of one on the committee, they can’t vote to approve Kavanaugh if Flake is not on board.
.. Even if Grassley could somehow secure a “yes” vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, it is far from certain that the full Senate would replicate it.
.. Now they are facing the prospect of sworn public testimony from a highly educated professional woman who has reportedly taken a lie-detector test, and who, according to the Washington Post, has notes from a therapist that show she discussed the alleged attack in 2012 and 2013, calling it a “rape attempt.”.. Unless Ford’s allegations are discredited, it seems virtually unthinkable that the two moderate Republican women who hold the balance of power in the chamber—Susan Collins, of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska—would vote to approve Kavanaugh... Even the White House appears to have given up any hope of silencing Ford or dismissing her claims entirely. “This woman should not be insulted and she should not be ignored,” Kellyanne Conway, a counsellor to Trump, told Fox News... He also said that Kavanaugh was “somebody very special” who “never even had a little blemish on his record.”.. The real question is: Will the White House and Republican leaders actually allow a potentially sensational set of hearings, with all the political risks that would entail, just weeks before the midterm electionsin which they are already struggling mightily to attract women’s votes in key suburban districts? Or will they decide to cut their losses and withdraw the Kavanaugh nomination?