Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said she “absolutely” favors reopening an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh if her party takes control of the chamber next year.
Feinstein, who is in line to become chairwoman of the committee if Democrats prevail, was asked about the prospect during a debate Wednesday in San Francisco as she seeks reelection to her Senate seat.
“Oh, I’d be in favor of opening up the allegations. Absolutely,” Feinstein said.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation proceedings were roiled by allegations of decades-old misconduct from three women, including Christine Blasey Ford, who testified to the Judiciary Committee that a drunken Kavanaugh assaulted her while both were in high school. Kavanaugh vigorously denied all allegations.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation was delayed for a week to allow for a limited FBI investigation into Ford’s allegations and those of another accuser. Republicans said interviews conducted by the FBI unearthed nothing to corroborate the claims, while Democrats said the probe was too narrow in scope to be enlightening.
Republicans quickly pushed back on Feinstein’s suggestion that more scrutiny is needed.
“Apparently one kick of a mule is not enough for Senator Feinstein,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said during an appearance Wednesday night on Fox News’s “Hannity” show.
“Here’s what I want every Democratic candidate for the Senate to be asked tomorrow: Do you agree with Dianne Feinstein?” Graham said. “Are you for more humiliation, degrading treatment of this fine man? Are you for continuing this debacle?”
Feinstein was criticized by many of her Republican colleagues for not sharing a letter she received from Ford in July that outlined her allegations. Feinstein said she honored a request from Ford to remain anonymous until her name leaked out.
Feinstein faces another Democrat, Kevin de León, the president pro tem of the California state Senate, in next month’s election. Under the rules of California’s “jungle” primary, the top two finishers advance to the general election regardless of party.