During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” the Senate Judiciary Committee member said he needed more evidence to believe Blasey’s allegation that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and groped her during a high school party in the 1980s.
“What do you expect me to do? What am I supposed to do? Go ahead and ruin this guy’s life? I don’t know when it happened, I don’t where it happened, and everybody being named in regard to being there said it didn’t happen,” Graham said when asked if he’s keeping an open mind about Kavanaugh’s nomination.
“Unless there’s something more, no, I’m not going to ruin Judge Kavanaugh’s life over this,” the South Carolina Republican added. “But she should come forward, she should have her say, she will be respectfully treated.”
After days of negotiations and uncertainty, the Senate Judiciary Committee and Blasey’s attorneys on Saturday reached a tentative agreement for the California psychology professor to publicly testify at a hearing on Thursday. The committee’s staff is expected to continue negotiating details of the hearing with Blasey’s legal team on Sunday. Republicans, however, have so far resisted her demands to allow the questioning of additional alleged witnesses at the hearing.
Four people Blasey initially cited to have attended the party in question have issued statements saying they don’t have any recollection of the alleged incident. On Saturday, a lawyer for a longtime friend of Blasey’s named Leland Keyser said she “does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present.”
Before she went public with her allegation, however, Blasey told The Washington Post she did not think Keyser would remember the party because nothing remarkable had happened there, as far as Keyser was aware.
“It’s no surprise, if another person was … in the house that night and had no occurrence like the one that was stated by Dr. Ford, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t even remember that party scene 36 years ago,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
Mark Judge, a friend of Kavanaugh’s who Blasey said was also in the room when the alleged incident took place, also said he had “no memory” of it.
Democrats said that dismissive statements like the one from Graham on Sunday illustrated the need for an FBI investigation into the alleged incident.
“That’s the way the Senate Republicans have set this up: Do you believe her or do you believe him? That is exactly why we’ve been pressing for an FBI investigation,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The Washington senator noted that the Senate Judiciary Committee allowed additional witnesses and an FBI investigation during the 1991 hearing focusing on Anita Hill’s accusations of sexual harassment by then-nominee Clarence Thomas, who now sits on the Supreme Court.
“The Senate Republicans have predetermined the outcome ... that this will be a he said, she says, by taking that away,” Murray added.
Last week, Graham suggested proceeding to a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination “as soon as possible” because a longer process would be “not about finding the truth, but delaying the process till after the midterm elections.”
As of now, Republicans are still planning on holding a committee vote to send the nomination to the full Senate later this month.
This story has been updated with comments from Sen. Dick Durbin.