Media figures on MSNBC and CNN have criticized Democrats for their handling of a sexual assault accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Professor Christine Blasey Ford alleges Kavanaugh drunkenly pinned her to a bed, groped her and tried to silence her screaming before she got away at a house party in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh has emphatically denied the allegations.
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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) was made aware of the charge in a letter from Ford in July but did not alert fellow committee members to its contents until last week. The letter eventually leaked to the press, and Ford—who had told Feinstein she wished to remain anonymous—came forward to reveal herself as Kavanaugh's accuser.
After Democrats said she should testify at a hearing on Monday, Ford said she didn't want to until there was an FBI investigation of her claims. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) even said Ford shouldn't testify because it would be a "sham hearing."
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman called the handling of the matter by Democrats "unfortunate."
"I do think that for Mrs. Ford—I think it is unfortunate for her the way this was handled by Democrats in terms of the delay, the not moving forward, the letter emerging when it did," Haberman said on CNN. "I think that if you are somebody who has gone through what Mrs. Ford has said she has gone through and this is the way it plays out, it is going to add to the suspicion that people have about the allegations."
"Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough called out "cynical" Democrats for calling for a hearing and then claiming Ford was being ambushed by Republicans who agreed she should be heard out.
"I’m going to say it is very cynical of Democrats, for Democratic staffers most likely from the Judiciary Committee," Scarborough said. "Again, if you listen to our interview with Chris Coons yesterday, to release this against her will just like Democratic staffers released Anita Hill’s information against Anita Hill’s will, and then demand that she has her time in front of the committee and then have her say again for personal reasons that, my gosh, every American has to understand. ‘I’m not ready to go testify on Monday. I want something else out there before I go do that.'"
"But then for Democrats, and I saw this, respected Democrats saying, ‘oh, these Republicans have set this poor woman up to … walk through a gauntlet on Monday’. No, actually Republicans—everybody was screaming at the Republican Party 24 hours ago that they needed to give her a hearing," he added.
Fellow host Mika Brzezinski said Republicans had no choice but to demand a vote on Kavanaugh if Ford didn't testify on Monday, as scheduled.
"So everyone said ‘Let her speak. Let her testify. Give her a moment to have her voice. Let’s hear her story,'" she said. "I think she even said she would testify. So I guess some could argue, and some Republicans could argue, this is moving the goal post. And it is moving the goal post in an impossible direction."
"Every legal analyst we have had on the show … there is no way finding out what happened in high school," she added. "There are statutes of limitations for a reason. So we need to hear from her, and that is why everybody is open to hearing from the woman. But if she doesn’t want to speak, if she doesn’t want to testify, you have to wonder what the Republicans really are supposed do except demand a vote."
CNN commentator David Gergen said Republicans were right to be angry with Democrats about not keeping the information on Kavanaugh a secret until the last minute,
"I think it is clear now, Anderson, that the Republicans have a point. This should have been brought up earlier in some fashion so that it could be done as part of the regular process and we wouldn’t have this very strange, odd episode right now," he said.