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The Latest: Police escort senators as protests escalate

October 3, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and sexual misconduct allegations against him (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

Some senators are using police escorts on Capitol Hill as protesters seek to confront them over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opened the Senate on Wednesday saying senators would not be intimidated from doing their jobs. He says the vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation will be this week.

But GOP senators are expressing unease over protesters confronting them at their Senate offices, and at restaurants and airports. Republicans discussed security matters behind closed doors earlier this week at a private lunch.

Kavanaugh denies the allegations of sexual misconduct, including Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that he assaulted her in high school.

Last week women confronted Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona in an elevator. The exchange weighed on him, he said, as he forced Republicans to delay voting for further investigation.

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1:25 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy is brushing off remarks from President Donald Trump that raised questions about the Democrat’s drinking habits. Trump slammed Leahy at a rally Tuesday night in a bid to turn the tables on Democrats who have gone after Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s beer drinking.

Trump told a crowd in Mississippi they should do an online search for “Patrick Leahy slash drink.”

Leahy, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday that he “must be doing something right” to draw fire from Trump. “By now just about everyone who stands up to this president has been targeted for his bogus attacks and smears,” Leahy said.

He said Trump’s “shameful mocking of a sexual assault victim is by far the biggest outrage.”

Trump mocked Kavanaugh’s chief accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.

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12:45 p.m.

A third Republican senator wavering on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is criticizing President Donald Trump’s mocking of a woman who accuses Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in the 1980s.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski says Trump’s remarks about accuser Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford were “wholly inappropriate” and “unacceptable.”

The president on Tuesday mimicked Ford’s responses to questions at a Senate hearing last week when she described her allegations about Kavanaugh, who denies assaulting anyone.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins says Trump’s comments were “just plain wrong.” Arizona’s Jeff Flake tells NBC’s “Today” show Trump’s remarks were “kind of appalling.”

GOP leaders say an FBI report on Kavanaugh will be completed soon. They plan a Senate vote on him this week.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is defending Trump.

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12:30 p.m.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley is calling for an end to “personal attacks & destruction” targeting Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford, the California college professor who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers.

The Iowa Republican senator also calls for an end to personal attacks on Kavanaugh.

Grassley’s tweet comes after President Donald Trump mocked Ford at a political rally in Mississippi on Tuesday evening.

Grassley tweets he has a “long history” of respecting people with courage to step forward. He says his committee gave Ford “serious consideration” as soon as he learned about her.

Grassley says people can decide who to believe but he pleads with them to “stop personal attacks” of Ford, Kavanaugh and their families.

Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s accusation.

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11 a.m.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is defending President Donald Trump after he mocked a woman who has accused his Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault.

Conway told reporters at the White House Wednesday that Christine Blasey Ford has “been treated like a Fabergé egg by all of us, beginning with me and the president.” She said Trump was “pointing out factual inconsistencies.”

The president, at a rally in Mississippi Tuesday night, mimicked Ford’s responses to questions at a Senate hearing last week when she described her allegations about nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

Conway argued that “those who pretend they are searching for truth are already voting against him.” She also said Democratic senators running for re-election in states Trump carried in 2016 should know that their voters “want him to be confirmed.”

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10:55 a.m.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says President Donald Trump has reached a “new low” with his “outright mockery” of Brett Kavanaugh’s chief accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.

The Democratic leader said Wednesday in a floor speech that Trump should apologize for mocking Ford at a rally Tuesday night in Mississippi. The president made fun of Ford’s inability to remember some details about the night she says she was assaulted by Kavanaugh.

Schumer said even those who doubt Ford’s allegations can refrain from the “nasty, vicious attacks.” He said Trump is “degrading” the way people are treating one another and doing “permanent damage” to the country with his comments.

Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh groped her in a bedroom at a high school party and tried to undress her. Kavanaugh denied the accusation.

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10:50 a.m.

Democratic Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand says President Donald Trump’s comments about Brett Kavanaugh’s chief accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, are “disgraceful.”

The New York senator told reporters Wednesday that Trump’s remarks at a Mississippi campaign rally show “he has no empathy for survivors of sexual violence.”

Trump mocked Ford’s inability to remember specific aspects of the incident in which she alleges Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 35 years ago. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

Gillibrand, a potential presidential candidate in 2020, said she has turned over to the FBI information Wednesday from a constituent who wanted to testify about Kavanaugh’s behavior.

The FBI is conducting a background investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. Republicans plan to move to a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination once the report is received.

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10:40 a.m.

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon is asking a federal judge to step in and order the release of more than 100,000 documents related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The motion is part of a long-shot lawsuit Merkley recently filed in federal court. He is requesting that records from Kavanaugh’s time in the George W. Bush White House be produced by the Trump administration before the Senate votes on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

The Trump administration cited executive privilege in withholding about 100,000 pages of documents from Kavanaugh’s work as legal counsel. The administration said internal White House deliberations need to remain secret.

But Merkley says the Senate cannot fulfill its constitutional duty to provide advice and consent on the Supreme Court nominee without seeing Kavanaugh’s full record.

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10:35 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the “far left” is trying to “bully” Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with a “mudslide” of sexual misconduct allegations.

McConnell in a floor speech Wednesday says the Senate will vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination this week. He says senators will not be intimidated by the protesters opposed to Kavanaugh who have been confronting them in the hallways of the Capitol, at airports and at their homes.

McConnell says “there’s no chance in the world they’re going to scare us out of doing our duty.”

The FBI is nearing completion of its expanded investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanagh. Once the Senate receives the FBI’s report, Republicans are expected to move toward a vote.

A handful of senators are undecided on Kavanaugh. Their votes will likely decide whether he is confirmed.

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10:05 a.m.

The FBI has finished an interview with Chris Garrett, a high school friend of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Garrett’s lawyer, William Sullivan, says Garrett has voluntarily cooperated with the FBI’s reopened background check of Kavanaugh and has finished his interview.

He declined to comment further.

Garrett is at least the fifth person known to have been interviewed by the FBI since last Friday, when the White House directed the FBI to look into allegations of sexual misconduct dating back to Kavanaugh’s high school and college years.

Other people questioned include people who were said to have been present at a high school party where California professor Christine Blasey Ford says she was assaulted as a teenager in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.

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9:50 a.m.

A second Republican senator wavering on Brett Kavanaugh is criticizing President Donald Trump’s mocking of a woman who’s accused the Supreme Court nominee of sexually attacking her in the 1980s.

Susan Collins of Maine tells reporters that Trump’s remarks about Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford were “just plain wrong.”

The president, at a rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night, mimicked Ford’s responses to questions at a Senate hearing last week when she described her allegations about Kavanaugh.

Another undecided GOP senator also has criticized Trump. Arizona’s Jeff Flake tells NBC’s “Today” show that Trump’s remarks were “kind of appalling.”

GOP leaders say an FBI report on Kavanaugh will be completed soon. They plan a Senate vote on him later this week. It is unclear whether he will be confirmed.

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7:20 a.m.

Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake says President Donald Trump’s mocking of Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, was “not right” and “kind of appalling.”

But Flake isn’t saying whether he’ll vote to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Ford alleges Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school. He denies the accusation.

Trump mocked Ford at a rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night, listing what he described as holes in her account as his audience laughed.

Flake told NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday that mocking “something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right.” Flake added, “I wish he hadn’t done it. It’s kind of appalling.”

Flake, who is retiring from the Senate, said last week he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, but then called for an expanded FBI investigation of the accusations, delaying the confirmation timetable. Flake said Wednesday he’d be concerned if the FBI only followed up on a few leads.

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12:16 a.m.

The FBI investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is being questioned by lawyers for two of his accusers.

Attorneys for the woman who says she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh at a party when they were teenagers, Christine Blasey Ford, are asking the FBI why its agents haven’t contacted her.

A lawyer for the woman who says Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a college party, Deborah Ramirez, says he’s seen no indication that the FBI has reached out to any of the 20 people who Ramirez says may be able to corroborate her account.

In Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is certain that the FBI’s report will be finished and the Senate will vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination this week.

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For more coverage of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, visit https://apnews.com/tag/Kavanaughnomination

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