A woman is accusing Kavanaugh of assaulting her when they were high schoolers in the early 1980s, and she relayed the claim in a letter to Democratic Sen.
In a statement released to United States media, Kavanaugh rejected the woman's claim, made in a letter to the Democrats vetting his nomination, that he tried to force himself on her during a party. In particular, he has always treated women with decency and respect.
This has all the indicators of an 11th hour character assassination and a desperate attempt to delay and defeat the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh, who has a sterling reputation in his community, his profession, his church and among hundreds of friends, colleagues and co-workers.More news: Meghan Markle birthday well-wishers receive thank you cards from duchess
"I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court", Feinstein said in her surprise statement.
A spokeswoman for Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., declined to confirm reports that the congresswoman had forwarded a letter containing the allegations to Feinstein. Not until the eve of his confirmation has Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who received the note in July and referred it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday. Judge Kavanaugh submitted a questionnaire of over 17,000 pages, participated in two full days of public Senate hearings as well as a private session to discuss his background, and then he answered an additional 1,200 follow-up questions.
Kavanaugh's nomination has divided the Senate, and the new information complicates the process, especially as key Republican senators, including Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, are under enormous pressure from outside groups seeking to sway their votes on grounds that a Justice Kavanaugh might vote to undercut the Roe v. Wade ruling.More news: Matthew Perry has been hospitalized for 3 months
Shortly after Feinstein's statement was released, White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec criticized the timing.
Before details of the allegation surfaced on Friday, Senate Republicans pointed out that an extensive background check was already completed by the White House and reviewed by the committee.
"Even in the #MeToo era, it remains incredibly hard to report harassment, abuse or assault by people in power", she said. Thomas denied the allegations and he was confirmed to the bench.More news: Oil prices rise on lower US crude inventories, looming Iran sanctions
She continued: "The Senate Judiciary Committee should put in place a process that enables anyone with a complaint of this nature to be heard". "Given the seriousness of these allegations, the government needs to find a fair and neutral way for complaints to be investigated".