Sen. Lindsey Graham on Thursday accused Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee of an “unethical sham” for their handling of uncorroborated accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh.
Jabbing his finger at Democrats sitting across the dais, the South Carolina Republican said they had made clear from the start that they would use any tactics to derail Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and they have lived up to that dark promise.
He particularly singled out Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the panel, saying she was coaching Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford to hire an attorney a month earlier but sat on the allegations only to spring them at the last moment through press leaks, ensuring the unproved claims played out in stark public fashion.
“Boy, y’all want power. I hope you never get it,” Mr. Graham told the Democrats.
Mr. Graham was the first Republican senator to grab the microphone, late in the afternoon, as Judge Kavanaugh sat for questions. During the earlier session with Ms. Blasey Ford, Republicans deferred to a female sex-crimes prosecutor hired specifically to ask questions.
When he got his chance, Mr. Graham spared no words.
“This is the most unethical sham since I have been in politics, and if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy,” he said.
Ms. Feinstein came under fierce scrutiny for her handling of the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh.
According to the timeline presented at the hearing, she was first alerted to Ms. Blasey Ford’s allegations in a July 30 letter. She reached out to the accuser and encouraged her to lawyer up, but she did not share the allegations with the rest of the committee.
She also didn’t ask for an FBI investigation, nor did she confront Judge Kavanaugh at any of several opportunities — their private meeting, in a closed-door session senators held with the judge earlier this month, or during four days of hearings.
But just before the committee was scheduled to vote on the nomination, word of the July 30 letter leaked to the press.
Ms. Blasey Ford said she kept a close hold on the letter, leaving Republicans to accuse Ms. Feinstein of leaking it. The senator denied that and suggested it was one of Ms. Blasey Ford’s friends who must have leaked it.
Ms. Feinstein said she respected Ms. Blasey Ford’s wish to remain anonymous, which was why she didn’t advance the woman’s accusations until after Ms. Blasey Ford decided to go public.
“The constant drumbeat by Republicans that sexual battery allegations against Brett Kavanaugh were mishandled is clearly an effort to discredit the women who have come forward over the past couple weeks,” Ms. Feinstein said.
Ms. Blasey Ford said she went public only after reporters began hounding her, including showing up in the college classroom where she teaches.
Mr. Graham said the way Democrats have deployed Ms. Blasey Ford’s accusations made her as much a victim as Judge Kavanaugh.
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