In the tumultuous wake of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a key GOP swing vote, has been facing tough scrutiny for her support of the embattled judge. During an interview with CNN, the Maine Republican explained why she voted to confirm Kavanaugh — even though she thought he “stepped over the line.”
Collins’ criticism focused particularly on Kavanaugh’s hostile responses during a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in connection with sexual assault allegations that have been made against the judge. For instance, when Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar asked Kavanaugh if he ever drank so much that he could not remember what happened the night before, the judge responded, “I don’t know, have you?”
Kavanaugh later apologized.
“I did believe that … in his questioning with certain senators, responding to their questions, particularly Amy Klobuchar, that he stepped over the line,” Collins told CNN. “He has apologized for that, both directly to her and in a column that he wrote.”
Kavanaugh was sworn in Saturday evening after the Senate voted to confirm him and was was sworn in again on Monday evening by Anthony Kennedy, the retired Supreme Court Justice he is replacing on the high court.
Collins also said that she put herself “in [Kavanaugh’s shoes] during the highly contentious confirmation process.
“He is coming forth and answering an allegation that includes that he was involved in gang-raping and doping girls,” Collins explained. “I mean, that is so devastating, and I think he reacted with anger and anguish as a father of two young girls, a 10-year-old and a 13-year-old.”
Collins was specifically referring to allegations made by Julie Swetnick, who did not testify during the hearing. Swetnick has said that she saw Kavanaugh attend more than 10 house parties between 1981 and 1983, and that at these parties, Kavanaugh grabbed and fondled girls without their consent. She also alleged that Kavanaugh spiked girls’ drinks, and lined up outside a bedroom along with other boys to “gang rape” intoxicated girls.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
Swetnick claimed in a statement on Sunday that she and “multiple corroborating sources” were prepared to speak to the FBI, but Republican senators “purposely prevented any inquiry into my claims and those of other sexual assault victims in the interest of politics.” Watch Collins’ full interview on CNN, in two parts, below.
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