Government & Politics

Hawley says there’s no evidence to support claims of sexual assault against Kavanaugh

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said Monday that he “has no reason to doubt” the sincerity of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony last week detailing allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

However, Hawley said he doesn’t believe there is any evidence to support her claims.

“I don’t doubt her sincerity for a moment,” Hawley, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri, told reporters in a conference call Monday morning. “But it’s a matter of evidence. And it just isn’t there.”

Kavanaugh’s testimony last week was “very powerful, very heart felt and a very difficult thing to do,” Hawley said, later adding that “This is a man who has been falsely accused… This has ruined his reputation.”

The FBI is investigating accusations that Kavanaugh tried to rape Ford during a high school gathering in the early 1980s, and that he exposed himself to a Yale classmate named Deborah Ramirez during a dorm party when both were attending Yale.

Kavanaugh has forcefully denied both allegations.

Democrats argued over the weekend against too many limits on the scope of the FBI probe. They contend Kavanaugh may have lied under oath about his past while testifying last week to the Senate Judiciary committee, and that the FBI should be allowed to look into the issue.

Republicans responded by accusing Democrats of moving the goal posts in an effort to continue delaying Kavanaugh’s nomination until after the midterm elections.

Hawley, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in one of the most closely watched Senate races this year, said he would be “surprised if (the FBI investigation) changes anyone’s mind.”

“I don’t think the point of this investigation was to gather facts,” he said Monday. “I think the point was to delay and stall further.”

On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, called for an investigation into how the allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh became public.

Graham alleged that after withholding information about the allegations for months, someone within Sen. Diane Feinstein’s office leaked details to the media in an effort to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Feinstein has said she did not reveal the allegations to her Senate colleagues because of Ford’s request for confidentiality. And she denies leaking any information about the accusations.

Hawley joined Graham in calling for an investigation on Monday, saying Democrats have turned the confirmation process “into a partisan circus” and in the process have “smeared the name of a good man.”

“I’m calling for a special counsel to investigate the conduct of Sen. Diane Feinstein, her staff and all other relevant parties for violating the confidentiality of Dr. Ford and obstructing the work of the Senate Judiciary committee,” Hawley said.

He said he hopes McCaskill will join in the call for an independent investigation.

McCaskill responded Monday.

“This is what a partisan does, and what causes the problem in the first place,” she said. in a statement released to The Star. “We need to be respecting one another, talking to one another, and calmly completing our work — not pointing fingers.”