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- Republicans have floated the idea that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer orchestrated the monthlong scandal surrounding sexual misconduct allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
- Republicans have also called for an investigation into how Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s initial letter detailing the allegations was leaked.
- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has not made up his mind on whether to probe the leak of the letter.
WASHINGTON – Republicans in recent days have begun suggesting that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer orchestrated the entire scandal that played out over September during the controversial confirmation of newly minted Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, during interviews with conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt, Republicans floated the idea that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who came forward with allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh, had been handled by Schumer in an attempt to derail the nomination during its final stretch.
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton told Hewitt on Tuesday he believes “the Schumer political operation was behind this from the very beginning.”
“We learned last week that a woman named Monica McLean was Ms. Ford’s roommate, and she was one of the so-called beach friends who encouraged Ms. Ford to go to Dianne Feinstein and the partisan Democrats on the Judiciary Committee,” he said. “Well, it just turns out, it just so happens that Monica McLean worked for a Preet Bharara, the former US Attorney in Manhattan, now a virulent anti-Trump critic on television and former counsel to Chuck Schumer.”
“So I strongly suspect that Chuck Schumer’s political operation knew about Ms. Ford’s allegations as far back as July and manipulated the process all along to include taking advantage of Ms. Ford’s confidences and directing her towards left-wing lawyers,” Cotton added.
Cotton’s claim earned the dreaded “four Pinocchio’s” from the Washington Post fact-checker. The Post cited the fact that McLean never worked for Bharara, despite Cotton’s insistence.
Matt House, a spokesman for Schumer, called the theory a “fairy tale” and likened it to Cotton’s recollection of President Donald Trump referring to certain African nations as “shithole” countries.
After correcting Cotton’s claim, Hewitt continued to press Republicans on whether Schumer was ‘driving this bus’
But on Wednesday, after the Post fact checkers debunked Cotton’s claim, Hewitt continued to run with it anyway, asking about it to Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“He incorrectly stated that a friend of Dr. Ford had worked for Preet Bharara,” Hewitt said. “In fact, she had worked for the FBI at the same time that Preet Bharara was the Southern District of New York US Attorney, and we’ve corrected that. But what do you think? Was Chuck Schumer driving this bus?”
Lee responded by noting he is not sure if it was Schumer orchestrating everything, but that “there was something going on here” and “they were doing stuff.”
“They were hiring legal counsel referred by Sen. Feinstein. They were taking polygraphs on the same day as Dr. Ford’s grandmother’s funeral,” he said. “They were doing all this stuff at a time when allegedly she didn’t want to talk to anyone, and yet she wasn’t being informed by her own legal team that she had the opportunity to be interviewed in the privacy and comfort of her own home. She was never told that.”
“So apparently somebody along the way decided that this was going to be a media circus, and they wanted to launch it at exactly the right time,” Lee added. “That’s disgusting. That makes Dr. Ford a victim, at a minimum, of negligence by her lawyers, at a maximum of a deliberate campaign to misuse her. And I think that’s tragic. I think that needs to be looked into.”
A handful of Republicans, including Cotton, have called for investigations into the handling of Ford’s initial letter and how it leaked to the press after Kavanaugh’s first confirmation hearing.
On Tuesday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley told reporters he had not yet made up his mind as to whether he would probe the handling of Ford’s letter.