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Graham on Kavanaugh Hearings: If I Become Chairman Next Year, ‘I’m Going to Remember This’

• September 28, 2018 1:13 pm

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said if he becomes the next Senate Judiciary Committee chairman he will remember how the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh played out.

"If I am chairman next year, if we keep the majority and Senator Grassley (R., Iowa) moves over–and I hope he doesn't because I think he's done a great job–I'm going to remember this," Graham said.

Graham gave an angry speech on Thursday aimed at Senate Democrats on the committee for their handling of Kavanaugh's confirmation process. He called their behavior during the confirmation process "the most unethical sham since I've been in politics."

Kavanaugh has faced a series of sexual misconduct allegations that, according to the accusers, occurred decades ago. Ford told the Post that Kavanaugh, then a junior in high school, attacked her when they were at a party in Maryland in the early 1980s. A second allegation came from a woman named Deborah Ramirez who accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself at a dorm party during his freshmen year at Yale. Another allegation was brought forth from a woman named Julie Swetnick, who is represented by anti-Trump lawyer Michael Avenatti. Swetnick claimed Kavanaugh committed a series of "gang rapes" when he was in high school, but she offered no additional evidence or witnesses to support her allegations.

Kavanaugh has vehemently denied all accusations and there have been no corroborating witnesses to the assaults.

"So if this is the new standard … God help us all," Graham said. "If the new standard for the committee is that there's no presumption of anything, that you have to prove why somebody would accuse you, not just say ‘I didn't do it and here's why I didn't do it,' but you have to prove the motives of your accuser. God help us all."

Graham said the uncorroborated accusations from Avenatti's client epitomize what could be the norm if the committee is more committed to political wins than truth.

"The Avenatti moment tells you what's going to happen if we keep this farce going," he said. "Plenty of time, plenty of opportunities to get to the truth. This has never been about the truth. This has been about delay and destruction. And if we reward this, it is the end of good people wanting to be judges, it is the end of any concept of the rule of law– it's the beginning of a process that will tear this country apart."

Graham said what has happened to Kavanaugh–the politicization of misconduct allegations–should not be allowed to happen again during the confirmation of Supreme Court justices.

"There's the process before Kavanaugh and the process after Kavanaugh. If you want to vet the nominee, you can. If you want to delay things for the next election, you will not,"  Graham said. "If you try to destroy somebody, you will not get away with it."