Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley says Democrats engaged in a smear campaign to discredit Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and claims Senator Claire McCaskill was part of that effort.
Hawley further told reporters Monday morning that Democrats with McCaskill are trying to undo the 2016 election. He said people he talks to on the campaign trail are extremely angered the party has tarnished the Senate confirmation process and engaged in “extreme radicalism” in attacking the legitimacy of the Supreme Court and Kavanaugh.
“They can’t believe that Diane Feinstein withheld the letter from Dr. Ford for months on end in order to get a circus-like atmosphere and hearing in order to derail this nomination,” said Hawley. “It is unbelievable.”
Hawley claimed Democrats undertook a coordinated campaign to undermine Kavanaugh’s confirmation by deliberately withholding evidence from the Senate Judiciary Committee and the FBI, and with the staff of Senator Diane Feinstein of California recommending Democratic lawyers throughout the process.
California research psychologist Dr. Christine Blasey Ford wrote a private letter that was delivered to Feinstein alleging she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh while they were both in high school. Feinstein, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, denied that she or her staff leaked the letter from Ford. The Intercept, which first reported the existence of the letter publicly, confirmed that Feinstein’s staff did not leak the letter.
McCaskill has been silent during most of the confirmation process other than to join 47 other Democrats in casting a no for Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia was the only Democrat to support the nominee.
Hawley began his address to reporters Monday by noting that Democrats are doubling down on their efforts to bring down Kavanaugh, who was sworn in as a Supreme Court Associate Justice Saturday. He noted 40 Congressional Democrats had signed a letter calling for the impeachment of Kavanaugh if they take control of the House.
McCaskill’s campaign press secretary, Eric Mee responded to Missourinet by saying that the Senator doesn’t back aggressively pursuing Kavanaugh and wasn’t happy with the confirmation proceedings. “Claire does not support impeaching Justice Kavanaugh and believes the confirmation process was deeply flawed,” said Mee.
Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York, who would be in line to be the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Friday that an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct and perjury against Kavanaugh would take place if Democrats win the House in November.
When asked how McCaskill had participated in efforts to destroy the Kavanaugh confirmation, Hawley simply said she refused to speak out against it. “She would not say a word to stop the smear campaign,” Hawley said. “She would not say a word against her party, telling them to stop this sham, this disgrace, this circus. Nothing. She was happy to go right along with it.”
The former Supreme Court clerk to Chief Justice John Roberts and current Missouri Attorney General “I see that Dr. Ford can’t go back to own home as of yet,” said Hawley. “She still can’t go back because her privacy has been totally compromised. And that is exactly what the Democrats wanted.”
Hawley declined to react to a statement by President Trump Monday that the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh were a “hoax” made up by the Democrats, saying he had no knowledge of the Presidents comments.
If Hawley is determined to frame the Senate election around the Supreme Court, McCaskill is just as focused on keeping healthcare at the forefront.
Campaign press secretary Mee criticized Hawley for joining a lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act. “Hawley should be spending his time working to remove himself from the lawsuit that would take away pre-existing condition protections for 2.5 million Missourians,” Mee said.
Doing away with the health care law would cut off its requirement to cover preexisting decisions. Hawley has said he wants to preserve the coverage but hasn’t specified how it could be done if the Affordable Care Act is eliminated.
The most recent poll of Missouri voters from CNN showed that health care, at 31%, is their top issue when deciding how to vote for the U.S. Senate race. McCaskill made preexisting conditions priority early in her run for reelection, telling reporters the night of the early August primary it would be a key campaign issue.
The election takes place on November 6th. Vice President Mike Pence campaigned for Hawley Monday afternoon in Springfield.