Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) on Thursday said that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is not behaving like an "innocent person" because he has not asked the FBI to investigate a sexual assault charge made against him as a high-schooler.
Gillibrand and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D., Hawaii) appeared at a press conference along with fellow alumni of Holton-Arms, the elite prep school that Christine Blasey Ford attended. Ford has alleged that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party in the 1980s, and Kavanaugh has denied the charge. The alumni had signed a letter in support of Ford.
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The first woman who spoke graduated in 2005; Ford has said she believes the assault occurred in 1982.
After some of the alumni spoke, Gillibrand took the microphone and delivered a fiery speech in which she said she believes Ford because "she's telling the truth."
"You know it by her story," she said, pointing to therapist notes from when Ford first spoke of the alleged attack in 2012. "She is concerned that he does not have the character, the integrity, the honesty to be a Supreme Court justice. I believe her, because she's telling the truth."
Mirroring statements made by CNN's Alisyn Camerota and MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, Gillibrand pointed to Ford wanting an FBI investigation of her allegations before she testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee as proof she is being truthful.
"Someone who is lying does not ask the FBI to investigate their claims," she said. "Who is not asking the FBI to investigate these claims? The White House. Judge Kavanaugh has not asked to have the FBI review these claims. Is that the reaction of an innocent person? It is not."
Kavanaugh has offered to testify about the charge and repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has invited Ford and Kavanaugh to testify on Monday, and committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) said Ford could be interviewed privately if she prefers. Gillibrand told CNN on Wednesday that Ford should not participate in the "sham hearing."
While Democrats want the FBI to reopen their background check of Kavanaugh—the alleged incident is not a federal crime—Grassley has said the FBI has closed the matter. The White House has also made no indication that it will direct the FBI to investigate Ford's charge.
Gillibrand has made sexual assault and women's rights two of her key issues as a lawmaker. She said, before Kavanaugh's nomination, that the upcoming Supreme Court battle would be about whether the U.S. is going to "criminalize women."