Democratic presidential hopefuls call for Kavanaugh's impeachment

The calls come after a report involving new sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

     Trump talks to Kavanaugh at his nomination announcement in the East Room of the White House [File: Jim Bourg/Reuters]
    Trump talks to Kavanaugh at his nomination announcement in the East Room of the White House [File: Jim Bourg/Reuters]

    Several United States Democratic presidential candidates have lined up to call for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the face of a new, uninvestigated allegation of sexual misconduct when he was in college.

    Kavanaugh was confirmed last October after emotional hearings in the Senate over a sexual assault allegation from his high school years. The New York Times now reports that Kavanaugh faced a separate allegation from his time at Yale University and that the FBI did not investigate the claim.

    The latest claim mirrors one offered during Kavanaugh's confirmation process by Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate who claimed Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a drunken party.

    The Times said that the female student in the latest claim declined to be interviewed and that friends said she does not recall the episode. The newspaper said Sunday in an editor's note that an earlier version of its story did not include that information. None of the Democratic candidates publicly adjusted his or her position on Kavanaugh after the newspaper published the editor's note and updated the story.

    When Kavanaugh testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last year, he denied all allegations of impropriety.

    Senator Kamala Harris said after the Times report that "Brett Kavanaugh lied to the US Senate and most importantly to the American people." 

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    She tweeted, "He must be impeached." In an interview with NPR on Monday morning, Harris said there must be robust investigations into the allegations.

    A 2020 rival, Senator Elizabeth Warren, tweeted that "Confirmation is not exoneration, and these newest revelations are disturbing. Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached."

    Senator Amy Klobuchar, another 2020 hopeful, posted a picture of the woman who testified to the Senate about her allegations against Kavanaugh, Christine Blasey Ford, with the caption, "Let us never forget what courage looks like."

    Former Texas Representative Beto O'Rourke asserted in a tweet, "We know he lied under oath. He should be impeached." He accused the Republican-run Senate of forcing the FBI "to rush its investigation to save his nomination". 

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    Their comments followed similar ones from Julian Castro, a former US housing secretary, on Saturday night.

    "It's more clear than ever that Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath," he tweeted. "He should be impeached and Congress should review the failure of the Department of Justice to properly investigate the matter."

    Senator Bernie Sanders did not refer to impeachment by name in a tweet Sunday, but he said he would "support any appropriate constitutional mechanism" to hold Kavanaugh "accountable".

    Later Sunday, Senator Cory Booker tweeted: "This new allegation and additional corroborating evidence adds to a long list of reasons why Brett Kavanaugh should not be a Supreme Court justice. I stand with survivors and countless other Americans in calling for impeachment proceedings to begin."

    Democrats control the House, which holds the power of impeachment. If the House took that route, a trial would take place in the Senate, where Republicans now have a majority, making it unlikely that Kavanaugh would be removed from office.

    Trump defends Kavanaugh

    Trump, who fiercely defended Kavanaugh during his contentious confirmation process, dismissed the latest allegation as "lies". 

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    In a tweet Sunday, Trump said Kavanaugh "should start suing people for libel, or the Justice Department should come to his rescue". It was not immediately clear how the Justice Department could come to the justice's defence.

    Trump added that they were "False Accusations without recrimination", and he claimed his accusers were seeking to influence Kavanaugh's opinions on the bench.

    Trump repeated his defence of Kavanaugh again on Monday morning, saying Kavanaugh's accusers are "looking to destroy, and influence his opinions".

    Kavanaugh did not comment to the Times about the allegations. The Supreme Court press officers did not immediately return Reuters's request for comment.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies