The longest-serving current U.S. Senator said Monday that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh was not truthful in his testimony last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Democrat Patrick Leahy made the comment before traveling from New England to Washington, where he planned to ask Republican colleagues to vote against the nominee.
"Talk with everybody," Leahy said, describing his hopes for a broad FBI investigation into sexual assault and misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh.
Monday, Leahy and other Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats named at least two dozen potential witnesses who should be interviewed as part of the investigation.
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Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegations against him.
"My family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false additional accusations," the federal judge said last week.
Leahy called for another week or two for a full Senate vote on Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, adding that he worries confirming Kavanaugh would diminish the Supreme Court in the eyes of many Americans.
Leahy said regarding the sexual assault allegation made by professor Christine Blasey Ford that she struck him as completely believable, whereas to Leahy, Kavanaugh was not.
Leahy also said he thinks Kavanaugh was not truthful with the Judiciary Committee in responses to questions about controversial Bush-era judiciary nominations, and about the theft of information from Democratic computers.
Leahy said he believes some Republican colleagues are now having second thoughts.
"I'm sensing a concern by many that they ought to try somebody else," Leahy said Monday about President Donald Trump's nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Former Vermont Gov. Madeleine Kunin testified before the Judiciary Committee in 1991, against then-nominee Clarence Thomas, about concerns over his stance on reproductive rights issues.
After watching the latest round of confirmation hearings, the Democrat said Kavanaugh behaved unlike how a Supreme Court justice should.
"His temperament struck me, also, as very out of bounds — out of control," Kunin told necn. "I can understand some distress on his part, but he's now a sitting judge. This was not judicial. You're supposed to be calm, you're supposed to be thoughtful, you're supposed to listen. And he did none of that."
Many Republicans, too, are welcoming the FBI probe into Kavanaugh, which was requested by Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, and formally ordered by President Trump, who said, "It'll be a good thing."
According to a spokesperson, Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, has said he hopes the investigation is thorough and will help inform the Senate vote with facts. Gov. Scott has said the high standards of integrity and morality for both court and country demand a thoughtful and complete process.
The confirmation hearings' discussion of alleged sexual violence reopened wounds for many survivors, advocates have said. They came together over the past week in cities nationwide, including Burlington, to lean on each other.
One such speak-out happened last Thursday night in downtown Burlington, when necn affiliate NBC 5 News spoke to Cathleen Barkley, the executive director of H.O.P.E. Works — a non-profit organization that advocates for survivors of sexual violence.
"It's really hard to be a survivor right now, in the United States, and seeing the dialogue around sexual violence," Barkley said at the event last week. "And so we thought it was really important to have a supportive community come together and show support for survivors."