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Sens. Johnson, Baldwin want to hear from Kavanaugh, accuser

September 17, 2018

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s U.S. senators agreed Monday that both Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the woman accusing him of a decades-old sexual assault should testify before a Senate committee.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin made the call for them to testify as both Kavanaugh and the woman, Christine Blasey Ford, indicated they were willing to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee .

Johnson has publicly supported President Donald Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh while Baldwin has opposed him .

Baldwin, in a message Monday on Twitter, called Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh “deeply disturbing, serious and credible.”

Baldwin said there should be no vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination until the matter is fully investigated and both he and Ford testify before the Senate committee.

Baldwin’s Republican opponent, state Sen. Leah Vukmir, supported Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Her campaign did not immediately return a message seeking comment Monday.

Johnson, in an interview on WTMJ radio, said given that Ford is willing to come forward publicly “we should listen to her.”

Johnson is not a member of the Judiciary Committee but said it is “appropriate” that the panel listen to both the accuser as well as Kavanaugh.

“I’m not really sure where this goes from here,” Johnson said.

The Senate committee was scheduled to vote Thursday on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, but Democrats have asked for a delay.

Democrats and some Republican senators have expressed concern over Ford’s private-turned-public accusation that a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when both were teenagers at high schools in suburban Maryland.

Kavanaugh released a new statement calling the allegation “completely false.”

Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican who supported Kavanaugh, believes the allegations are “serious” and the Senate should hear from both him and the accuser, said Walker’s spokeswoman Amy Hasenberg.

Wisconsin Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel and about two dozen attorneys general from around the county signed onto a letter in July urging the U.S. Senate to confirm Kavanaugh, calling him an “outstanding jurist.”

Ford’s allegations put Schimel in something of a bind; Schimel has worked for years to portray himself as a champion and advocate for sexual assault victims, urging prosecutors and police to take their allegations seriously.

He issued a statement Monday through his campaign playing it down the middle on Kavanaugh, saying his “default setting” is to believe victims and give them the benefit of the doubt as investigations proceed. He said Ford, Kavanaugh and the American people “deserve to get to the truth as soon as possible.”

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Associated Press writer Todd Richmond contributed to this report.

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