- Associated Press - Monday, October 1, 2018

BURLINGTON, Vt. — U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy said Monday that if Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is seated it would diminish the confidence Americans should have in the court.

Leahy said questions that arose during the confirmation process about what the Vermont Democrat feels were misleading statements Kavanaugh made to the Judiciary Committee and an alleged sexual assault in high school during the early 1980s demonstrate what happens when “you try to rush through a judicial nominee.”

“I hope for the sake of the country he is not the next justice on the Supreme Court,” Leahy said Monday at his Burlington office before flying back to Washington. “I think it would diminish the court. I have voted for both Republican and Democratic nominees over the years for the US Supreme court, but this man would diminish considerably the confidence Americans should have in the court.”

The comments came as the FBI is investigating assault allegations against Kavanaugh made by Christine Blasey Ford, now a California college professor, about an incident that took place when they were high school students in the early 1980s. Other allegations of misconduct and heavy drinking have been made about Kavanaugh’s time at Yale.

Leahy also alleges that Kavanaugh misled the Senate during earlier confirmation hearings for the seat he now holds on the U.S. Court of Appeals by denying any knowledge of how Republican staffers gained unauthorized access to the private computer files of six Democratic senators, including Leahy.

On Monday, Leahy and other Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee said the FBI must investigate all three allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh.

Leahy said that if the FBI investigation exonerates Kavanaugh “I think that would change the dynamics entirely,” but he does not expect that to happen.

“His past record of evasions in hearings, his problems with drinking, there are better people, they could have a Republican, they could have a conservative on the Supreme Court, but have somebody the country can respect,” Leahy said.

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