Republican lashes out over Kavanaugh accusations

Judge Brett Kavanaugh at his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (AFP pic)

WASHINGTON: In a fiery counter-attack, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham Thursday denounced as an “unethical sham” what he called a Democratic push to bring down Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh over sex assault allegations.

“This is not a job interview. This is hell,” Graham thundered, as Kavanaugh was grilled in a marathon Senate hearing which earlier heard testimony from his accuser, university professor Christine Blasey Ford.

Angrily jabbing his finger towards his Democratic colleagues, Graham urged his camp to close ranks behind Donald Trump’s embattled nominee – whose confirmation will hinge on a handful of Republican votes in the Senate.

“I hope you’re on the Supreme Court. That’s exactly where you should be,” he told Kavanaugh. “And I intend to vote for you and I hope everybody who is fair-minded will.”

“This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics,” Graham lashed out, accusing Democrats of deliberately withholding Blasey Ford’s assault allegations until the conservative judge’s confirmation process was nearly complete.

“Boy, you all want power. God, I hope you never get it,” he said. “I hope the American people can see through this sham.”

Turning to Kavanaugh, he added: “You’re looking for a fair process. You came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend.

Graham’s rebuttal came after Kavanaugh refused to endorse halting the review of his nomination so the FBI can investigate the allegations made by Blasey Ford and two other women.

In testimony earlier Thursday, Blasey Ford said she would welcome an FBI probe into her allegation that a 17-year-old Kavanaugh assaulted her at a house party in 1982, when she was 15.

The Republican president has fiercely defended his pick – but also said he was open to changing his mind depending on the hearing.

After being silent on the hearing most of the day, the White House sounded its approval of Graham’s counterattack – and in doing so signalled its support for the embattled nominee.

“Lindsey Graham has more decency and courage than every Democrat member of the committee combined. God bless him,” tweeted White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.