GOP Sen. Rounds: 'I Don't Think There's Any Reason Not To Proceed' With Kavanaugh Vote
Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on party lines to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court on Friday, after Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake asked for a vote by the full Senate to be delayed by one week in order to ask for an FBI investigation “limited in time and scope” to further look into sexual assault allegations against the nominee.
Prior to the committee’s vote, Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson spoke with Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), who is not on the Senate Judiciary Committee, about his reaction to Thursday’s testimony by Kavanaugh and accuser Christine Blasey Ford.
“I don’t think there’s any reason not to proceed,” Rounds says. “And I think [Thursday’s] discussions were very good, and I think they were enlightening. But I don’t think that they brought out additional facts that would have to have an additional delay.”
On Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony
“I watched, and as a matter of fact I went back and watched her complete statement once again last evening, and what I found was a huge amount of compassion and emotion, and my sense was that she most certainly had been traumatized. Something bad happened to her, at least once, if not more.
“And then [Kavanaugh] responded that he was absolutely 100 percent certain that it was not. But part of that — and this is where I think most of us came down and what will happen is — I think just simply the additional parts of what [Ford] had recalled and the individuals that she had recalled — who most certainly would at least we thought would have had some recollection of the events — didn’t support her memory and at least not at that time and place where she had recalled it. And I think and in fact, it actually worked, I think, against her version of what happened and when it occurred, in that the other individuals that she identified not only either could not remember or flat out said they disagreed with the way that she had assessed that occurring.”
On if Mark Judge should testify
“Well once again, I think the discussion was is if he says under penalty of felony, which means, and you have to understand, once he says this to an investigator on behalf of the committee and they make it clear, if he is not giving them the whole story, then he is subject to penalty, and the penalty is a felony. And what he said was he did not recall nor did he remember anything like that based on what he had been given on her statement. And so when that occurs in that manner — and he says he does not have it, and he says there’s nothing more, and he does not want to participate in it — you move forward.”
On if Kavanaugh could be an impartial judge after his testimony
“I think what you saw was righteous indignation, righteous anger and a true sense that he had been wronged. And I think if as a judge he had not shared what he truly thought, the next step would have been that he had, you know, that he’d been trying to hide it and that they didn’t believe him. And what you saw was an individual who righteously, righteously felt that he and his family had been wronged and that this would be something that would be attached to him for the rest of his life. And that for a period of 10 days he did not have the opportunity to respond, and he felt very strongly that the Democrats … he felt that the Democrats had intentionally done this in order to attack him and to tear down his reputation. And for me, that was clear evidence that he would call balls and strikes. He let it out. He shared it all. He was very forthright. He was very honest in his feelings. And so for me, it was exactly the opposite of what you are suggesting in that I wanted a judge who would call balls and strikes, and that’s exactly what he did with his testimony.”
On the idea that Senate Republicans are rushing the confirmation process
“In this particular case, and if you look back, once we start in the discussion phase each time we’ve gone through it, it’s taken with between 60 and 65 days to work their way through, in the ones that have actually come before and had hearings. In the case of Merrick Garland, that one was held open, but it was intentionally held open based upon a tradition in the Senate that said if it happens during an election year, it’s going to be done by the president who the people in the country are voting on. And I think that’s part of the discussion that Democrats are having is that they’re saying, ‘You know what? Merrick Garland was delayed, and so we’re going to do everything we can to delay this nomination.’ “
On the idea that the Democrats are trying to delay the confirmation process
“That’s their tactic. It’s just that they don’t have the votes to complete that tactic. But let’s call it what it is. This is not being done in order to gather additional data. This is being done to delay it. They simply don’t have the votes to delay it. And that’s their intent. It’s not to gather additional data. It is to delay. And so but let’s be honest with what it is, it is a political move, and I think in the Senate up here everybody understands that. Sometimes it’s hard to get that out when the message is it’s being parlayed out through the United States that it’s not a political move. It clearly is a political move, and that’s the reason why these things were being delayed in the first place.
“There is no misunderstanding but that in the case of professor Ford’s allegation, it was held for more than six weeks confidentially, and then it was sprung on the evening before his nomination discussion occurred. That could have been opened up for a bipartisan examination weeks beforehand. I think Sen. [Dianne] Feinstein truly felt that she was trying to keep this confidential. But what happens is part of the staff on the Democrat side — we don’t know whether it came out of the House or out of the Senate — somebody leaked that information. And that is a travesty to do to an individual who had come in in confidence and asked for confidentiality to share her story, and to have it leaked in such a fashion simply to delay this process is a terrible thing to do to her. It’s a terrible thing because what are other people going to do in the future? They won’t come forward in the future. They don’t think there’s going to be any [confidentiality]. And I think that’s one thing that the Senate is going to have to address is as if it was a member of staff or if it was a member or even if it was a House member or staff, this has got to be followed through, and we’ve got to find out who is leaking this kind of information from an individual who came in confidence. And I think you’re going to hear a lot about that in the future.”
On if he knows how Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowksi and Susan Collins will vote
“You know, I don’t. Most certainly, I think they’re trying to do what they believe is right. I think they’re also, they are very smart. They’re seeing the politics on this as well. And I think just as Sen. [Jeff] Flake is working his way through trying to make the right decision, I think Sen. Murkowski and Sen. Collins are doing exactly the same thing. And you know, we don’t come in and say, ‘Well, what did you think? And you know, what are you doing? And you know, where are you at on this?’ If they want to share, if they want to bounce something off, then we’re available to visit, but we really do respect their process and their concerns, and you try to help where you can. But you also have to respect their need to make their mind up in their own time frame.”
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