White House ‘open’ to testimony from second Kavanaugh accuser

Emily Birnbaum

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday said that the White House is “open” to testimony from a second woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

ABC’s George Stephanopolous on “Good Morning America” asked Sanders if the White House would be willing to hear from the Kavanaugh’s second accuser, Deborah Ramirez.

“Certainly we would be open to that and that process could take place on Thursday,” Sanders said. “The president’s been clear – let them speak but let’s also let Brett Kavanaugh speak and let’s let him tell his side of the story.”

Sanders added the testimony could take place as early as Thursday, the day Kavanaugh is set to testify alongside Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman who went public with allegations of sexual assault against him.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a critical swing vote, said Monday that she believes Ramirez should speak with Senate staff under oath.

“I believe that the committee investigators should reach out to Deborah Ramirez to question her under oath about what she is alleging happened,” Collins told reporters.

Collins added she does not believe Ramirez should testify on Thursday because “there hasn’t even been an interview of her yet.

“I think that needs to take place first,” Collins said.

The remarks from the White House press secretary come in stark contrast to comments from other Republicans, who have rallied around Kavanaugh since the Ramirez interview with The New Yorker.

The White House on Monday noted argued there was no other corroboration for Ramirez’s story, and Kavanaugh himself said he was the victim of a smear and “character assassination.”

In a pointed floor speech, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also called the accusation a smear, and vowed that a vote for Kavanaugh would go forward.

Ramirez is claiming Kavanaugh exposed himself without her consent and thrust his penis in her face during a gathering at Yale University in the 1980s, when the two were students there.

Ramirez has not said whether she would be willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Republicans on the panel have signaled a desire to move forward and would not agree to hear from other possible witnesses to the charges from Ford.

Ford went public with her accusation a week prior, alleging that Kavanaugh pinned her down and groped her over her clothes during a party in 1982 when the two were students at neighboring D.C.-area high schools. Kavanaugh has denied those charges, stating in a Fox interview on Monday night that he had never sexually assaulted anyone.

Sanders during the interview said President Trump believes both women should be heard, but also said that Kavanaugh had been treated unfairly.

“Last I heard in this country, you’re still innocent until proven guilty, except if you’re a conservative Republican,” she said.

“It is absolutely shameful what the Democrats have done and the way that they’ve turned this into a complete political process,” Sanders said. “Multiple lives have been ruined. Both families have been dragged through the mud when they didn’t have to.”

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