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Dem. Senator: ‘White House is Victimizing’ Kavanaugh Accuser

Senator Mazie Hirono (D, Hawaii) on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., March 21, 2017. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Senator Mazie Hirono (D., Hawaii) accused the White House Tuesday of “victimizing” Christine Blasey Ford by asking that she testify under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers.

“The White House is victimizing this person. She has no obligation to appear at a smearing. . . . I want to say to the men of this country: Shut up and just step up and do the right thing,” Hirono told reporters during a press conference on Capitol Hill.

The White House has joined Republican lawmakers in their call to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote, previously scheduled for Thursday, so that the nominee and his accuser could testify before the Judiciary Committee on Monday. Ford’s lawyer previously said that her client was willing to testify under oath before the committee but has failed to respond to multiple invitations for her to do so. Kavanaugh has said he will testify at the earliest opportunity and spent time at the White House Monday preparing for the hearing.

Hirono, who asks every male judicial nominee whether he has engaged in sexual assault as an adult, seems to have already made a personal determination with respect to Kavanaugh’s guilt.

“It somewhat stretches credulity, let’s put it that way,” Hirono said Monday of Kavanaugh’s multiple denials on Politico‘s Off Message podcast.” “I think he didn’t want to lie about it, so one way you get through that is saying, ‘I don’t remember.’”

“Seventeen is not exactly a baby, either. These are serious allegations. She has a very credible story. I believe her. And now we have to do more than say, ‘Well, look at the timing!’ and ‘Well, it’s all politically motivated!’” she added. “This has to be taken seriously.”

While the hearing is scheduled for Monday, Democratic leadership has balked at the Republican demand that testimony be limited to Kavanaugh and Ford, and called for an FBI investigation in an advance of any hearing. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday that “trauma experts” and assorted other witnesses should be allowed to testify.

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