As Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley indicated that he would push through a vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a number of Democrats walked out in protest after condemning Grassley for violating the panel's rules.
Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Corey Booker (D-N.J.) left the room en masse as Grassley read a statement about Wednesday's proceedings and the Republicans' position that Ford's allegations and those of Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick do not cause sufficient concern to delay a vote on Kavanaugh, call for an FBI investigation to objectively examine the allegations, subpoena eyewitness Mark Judge, or call for the nomination to be withdrawn.
Whitehouse, Blumenthal, Hirono, Harris just walked out as Grassley spoke. Grassley yelled at photographers for not knowing the rules and moving while he was speaking. pic.twitter.com/wwcogIeK4E
— Eliza Collins (@elizacollins1) September 28, 2018
Moments ago I walked out of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Kavanaugh. This hearing is a sham and Dr. Ford and the American people deserve better.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 28, 2018
Happening Now: Senators @KamalaHarris @SenWhitehouse @SenBlumenthal @maziehirono walk out of sham Senate Judiciary Committee mark up after Committee declines to issue subpoena for testimony from Mark Judge. #KavanaughHearings pic.twitter.com/XWJIgIp0DP
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) September 28, 2018
"Democrats are not being heard," Harris told reporters after refusing to take part in the vote. "They are pushing through this process and frankly the statements yesterday were about bullying fellow senators. And from top to bottom this has been about bullies. Listen to the people! All we have asked for is that there be an FBI investigation. Dr. Ford came in and she poured out her heart. She cooperated with the process, she gave the process dignity and respect. The least we could do is give her a process that has credibility."
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA): "Frankly, the statements yesterday were about bullying fellow Senators and from top to bottom, this has been about bullies." https://t.co/Tw1hPa0UC7 pic.twitter.com/RhIvCyUn9i
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) September 28, 2018
Grassley said he found Ford's testimony "credible" and believed "she's sincere in her version of the facts"—but his decision confirmed that to the GOP, Kavanaugh's desire to sit on the nation's highest court outweighs the allegations.
Any senator who votes to confirm Judge Kavanaugh after Dr. Ford’s testimony is telling our country exactly this: the experiences of women don’t matter. Their trauma doesn’t matter. Their stories and their voices don’t matter.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) September 28, 2018
It's not a matter of believing her and it never has been. Honestly, I think most Republican Senators probably believe Christine Blasey Ford. They just don't care. It's the same reason they want to ban abortion: women's pain, trauma, and lived experiences DO NOT MATTER to them.
— Lauren Rankin (@laurenarankin) September 28, 2018
Just before the committee commenced its meeting, a rape survivor confronted Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who revealed this morning that he would vote in favor of Kavanaugh.
A rape victim confronts Jeff Flake in the Senate elevator. "Don't look away from me," she says through tears. "Look at me and tell me that it doesn't matter what happens to me."
— Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui) September 28, 2018
The committee vote to advance Kavanaugh's nomination to the Senate floor is set to take place at 1:30pm.