GOP Scrambles to Save Kavanaugh Nomination

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., returns to his office after speaking on the Senate floor about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., returns to his office after speaking on the Senate floor about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Republicans thundered into an all-out campaign to save Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination Monday as a second woman accused him of a long-ago sexual assault.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused Democrats of a “smear campaign,” Kavanaugh himself complained of “smears, pure and simple” and President Donald Trump dismissed allegations against his nominee as “totally political.”

McConnell said the Senate would vote soon on confirmation of the 53-year old appellate court judge. Kavanaugh wrote to leaders of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, “I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from the process. … The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out.” Minutes later, McConnell angrily declared on the Senate floor that Democrats have thrown “all the mud they could manufacture” at Kavanaugh. He said a hearing on Kavanaugh’s first accuser’s claims would occur as scheduled Thursday and the full Senate would vote on his nomination shortly thereafter, though he did not set a date.

Hours earlier, Trump led the defense of his embattled nominee against the latest allegation of sexual misconduct, calling the accusations against him “totally political.” The combative tone by Kavanaugh and his GOP supporters came a day after a second  allegation emerged. That accusation, in a report by The New Yorker magazine, pushed the White House and Senate Republicans onto the defensive and fueled calls from Democrats for further investigation.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, called for the “immediate postponement” of any further action on Kavanaugh’s nomination.