South Carolina’s senior U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday he is willing to listen to the woman who accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of assaulting her 36 years ago, but he needs more evidence to not confirm the judge.
During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Graham said Christine Blasey Ford has not yet brought any evidence to back up her accusation. He said he continues to back President Trump’s nominee “unless there’s something more.”
“What am I supposed to do?” Graham told host Chris Wallace, “Go ahead and ruin (Kavanaugh’s) life based on an accusation? I don’t know when it happened, I don’t know where it happened and everybody named in regard to being there says it didn’t happen. I’m just being honest.”
Ford accuses Kavanaugh and a friend of locking her in a bedroom during a 1982 party before holding her down and covering her mouth with his hand as he tried to remove her clothes. She said she was able to break away. However, two other people she identified in her letter say they do not remember such a party or incident.
Graham sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which said it has agreed to hear testimony from Ford on Thursday. However, the committee’s staff emphasized it had not accepted all of Ford’s conditions to testify — including allowing her attorney to call witnesses and that she testify after the judge.
Committee members also plan to hear from Kavanaugh again after Ford’s testimony. Democrats on the committee have called for the nomination to be delayed for an FBI investigation into Ford’s claims.
Graham said he is willing to listen to Ford, but believes she is being manipulated by those who want to thwart Kavanaugh’s nomination. “What did (she) expect us to do with an anonymous letter to begin with? What do you expect somebody to do with an accusation this vague, not verified in any way?” he said. “Bring it forward. I will listen. But I’m not going to play a game, here.”
He said the Senate should not jettison Kavanaugh’s nomination without more evidence, saying there was not enough for law enforcement to press charges or for a lawsuit. Graham initially argued the statute of limitations would have run out anyway, but Wallace noted there was no such law for sex assault in Maryland. Graham added “it would go nowhere” after Wallace corrected him.