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Why Democrats waited in coming forward with Kavanaugh accusations

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Brett Kavanaugh
Brett
Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the
third day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on September
6.

Alex Wong/Getty
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  • Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein got a letter from
    professor Christine Blasey Ford accusing Supreme Court nominee
    Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault in July, but did not mention it
    until the final stages of Kavanaugh’s confirmation in September.
  • Feinstein considered starting an internal investigation
    and other ways to prove Ford’s allegations without identifying
    her over the course of the intervening months.
  • Republicans, including President Trump, have accused
    Feinstein of keeping the allegations secret until the last
    minute to torpedo Kavanaugh’s nomination.
  • Other Democrats are also upset that the allegations
    were kept quiet, but Feinstein felt she had no choice,
    according to the Associated Press. 

The Democratic senator who has known about the sexual assault
allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh since
July said that she held off on making the allegations public
because the accuser had asked her to keep them confidential.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein
received a letter
from Professor Christine Blasey Ford
on July 30, which outlined her assertion
that, 

at a high school party in the 1980s,
Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, groped her, and put his hands over
her mouth.

But she did not make the details public as Kavanaugh’s
hearings progressed, and leaks of the allegations caught even
other Democrats off guard.

Ford was motivated to write the letter to Feinstein
after first meeting with Rep. Anna Eshoo, who told Feinstein
about the allegations,
the Associated Press reported
, based on a dozen
interviews with senators, aides and others. Feinstein asked that
Ford write her allegations in the letter.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has released the letter
which can be read in full
here

Feinstein then felt that she faced a dilemma, AP reported.
Telling other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary
Committee
could risk outing Ford, who had asked that her
identity be protected. But withholding the allegations would
prevent Kavanaugh from having to answer to significant
allegations.

Feinstein’s team considered hiring their own investigator to look
at the allegations, but Senate rules mean that both parties on a
committee have to consult with each other, AP reported.

Ford had decided in August that she would not go public. She
later
told the Washington Post
that she did not believe her story
would affect Kavanaugh’s confirmation and telling the story
would be personally painful.

But, even though Feinstein said she kept quiet, details of the
allegation began to leak. Judiciary Committee
Democrats said that Feinstein should send Ford’s letter, with her
name redacted, to the FBI. They were upset that Feinstein had not
shared the information.

President Donald Trump has accused Feinstein and the
Democrats of “very purposefully” waiting to release the
allegations in order to jeopardize Kavanaugh’s
nomination.

“Senator Feinstein and the Democrats held the letter for
months, only to release it with a bang after the hearings were
OVER – done very purposefully to Obstruct & Resist &
Delay. Let her testify, or not, and TAKE THE VOTE!,” the
president tweeted on Friday.

Kevin de Leon, a Democrat in the California state Senate,
said that Feinstein should have confronted Kavanaugh with it at
his hearing, AP reported. She could have made the allegation
without naming Ford, he said.

But Feinstein would claim she did not have a choice,
according to AP.

Ford, who now has gone public with the accusations that seem
likely to impact Kavanaugh’s confirmation, is expected
to testify
before the Senate Judiciary Committee on
Thursday.

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