Spotlight: Trump's Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh to be grilled on sexual assault accusations

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-18 13:06:33|Editor: ZD
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WASHINGTON,Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Senate will hold a public hearing Monday on the sexual assault accusations against Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Both Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford, a research psychologist at Palo Alto University in California, said they are willing to testify before Congress about the allegations.

Trump said on Friday that he supported the Senate going through a process to "hear everybody out" on the matter and recognized Kavanaugh's nomination voting could be delayed as a result. The Senate panel had been scheduled to vote for the nomination on Thursday.

"They'll go through a process and hear everybody out. I think it's important. I believe they think it's important," Trump said. "I would like to see a complete process."

"If it takes a little delay, it'll take a little delay. It shouldn't, certainly, be very much," Trump added, calling the judge "one of the finest people that I've ever known."

"Judge Kavanaugh looks forward to a hearing where he can clear his name of this false allegation. He stands ready to testify tomorrow if the Senate is ready to hear him," White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement Monday.

Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party in the 1980s when they were teenagers in high school. She came forward publicly over the weekend.

Ford told The Washington Post that a drunken, teenage Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed, groped her and covered her mouth to keep her from screaming. She shared the details in July in a letter to Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California on condition of anonymity.

"This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes to her or to anyone," the 53-year-old judge denied in a statement issued Monday.

Trump nominated Kavanaugh in July to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement in June. It was the second time in two years that Trump has made a Supreme Court pick.

Liberal advocacy groups were concerned that Trump's pick could move the already conservative-leaning court more solidly to the right and revisit landmark rulings on abortion access, same-sex marriage and other hot-button issues.

The Senate Judiciary Committee currently has 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats. Republicans hope to confirm the nomination before the Nov. 6 mid-term elections, while Democrats say the vote should be delayed so that Ford can be heard.

The U.S. Senate is now narrowly divided, 51-49, in favor of Republicans.