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Democrats take aim at Brett Kavanaugh’s Clinton revenge

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Brett Kavanaugh
Brett Kavanaugh.
Jim
Bourg-Pool/Getty Images


  • Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee took aim at one
    of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s most surprising comments from his
    Thursday hearing.
  • Kavanaugh said the allegations against him may have been the
    result of people seeking “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.”
  • “This ‘lock her up’ grace note in Judge Kavanaugh’s remarks
    may have raised a cheer in the White House, but it was a sad
    moment in the history of this committee,” Democratic Sen. Dick
    Durbin of Illinois said Friday.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee took aim at one of
Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s most surprising comments from his
Thursday hearing before the committee.

President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee lashed out at
Democrats in his opening remarks, saying allegations of sexual
misconduct were part of a “calculated and orchestrated political
hit fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and
the 2016 election.”

He also blamed them for “fear that has been unfairly stoked about
my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and
millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition
groups.”

Democrats, who were taken aback by much of Kavanaugh’s testimony,
highlighted the Clinton comments as particularly disturbing for
someone who not only could soon occupy a Supreme Court seat, but
from someone who already is a member of the federal judiciary.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking
member on the committee, called the remark “unbelievable” before
the panel voted on Kavanaugh’s nomination Friday. Democratic Sen.
Kamala Harris told Refinery29 that the
comment made it clear Kavanaugh is “a political operative” and
“showed … who he really is.” And Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy
of Vermont said the remark was “conspiratorial madness.”

Perhaps the strongest condemnation came from Democratic Sen. Dick
Durbin of Illinois, the second-highest ranking Senate Democrat.

“This ‘lock her up’ grace note in Judge Kavanaugh’s remarks may
have raised a cheer in the White House, but it was a sad moment
in the history of this committee,” he said ahead of the
committee’s Friday vote to advance the nomination.

CNN reported Thursday that Trump
himself viewed the remark positively.

It was not clear whether Kavanaugh meant he believed the
allegations were revenge for 2016 Democratic presidential nominee
Hillary Clinton losing the election to Trump, or for his role as
an investigator for independent counsel Ken Starr, who
investigated former President Bill Clinton.

Regardless, the comment was a rare instance of an outsize
political comment from someone either on the Supreme Court or in
the process of being confirmed to it.

In 2016, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg apologized
for comments she made about
Trump, then the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Ginsburg had said Trump was a “faker,” and that she couldn’t
“imagine what the country would be” like with Trump as president.
In in her apology, she said that judges should avoid such
political commentary.

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