New Brett Kavanaugh sexual misconduct accusation sets off calls for Supreme Court impeachment

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Brett Kavanaugh

FILE – In this Oct. 8, 2018, file photo, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh stands before a ceremonial swearing-in in the East Room of the White House in Washington. At least two Democratic presidential candidates, Kamala Harris and Kamala Harris are calling for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the face of a new, uninvestigated, allegation of sexual impropriety when he was in college. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

(CBS) — At least three Democratic presidential candidates called for Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh to be impeached after a new report about alleged sexual misconduct from his college years. President Trump, meanwhile, stood by Kavanaugh and said the Justice Department should “rescue” him.

Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Julián Castro and Pete Buttigieg said Sunday that Kavanaugh should be taken off the nation’s highest court after the latest accusation, which comes nearly a year after other misconduct allegations roiled Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. Kavanaugh has not responded to the latest report, but denied all accusations that emerged during his confirmation process.

“Last year the Kavanaugh nomination was rammed through the Senate without a thorough examination of the allegations against him,” Warren tweeted. “Confirmation is not exoneration, and these newest revelations are disturbing. Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.”

Harris and Castro both accused Kavanaugh of lying under oath during his Senate confirmation hearings.

The New York Times reported Saturday that one of Kavanaugh’s Yale classmates allegedly saw him with his pants down at a drunken dorm party, with friends pushing his penis into a female student’s hands, when Kavanaugh was a freshman. According to the report, the classmate told this story to senators and the FBI, but the FBI did not investigate it.

During Kavanaugh’s accusation process, another Yale classmate, Deborah Ramirez, said Kavanaugh pulled down his pants at another drunken dorm party and thrust his penis at her. She said she swatted it away. The Times reported it had found additional corroboration for Ramirez’s story, with seven people saying they heard about the incident long before Kavanaugh became a federal judge.

Buttigieg told CBS News late Sunday that “it’s appalling to learn that the GOP curtailed the FBI investigation” and that “[t]he American people deserve to know who was involved … and we must get answers fast as to why witnesses with key information were not interviewed.”

The first public accusation against Kavanaugh last year came from Christine Blasey-Ford, a psychology professor. She said that when she and Kavanaugh were in high school, he drunkenly held her down on a bed, groped her, tried to pull off her clothes and covered her mouth when she tried to scream. Kavanaugh said the alleged incident never happened.

Blasey-Ford and Kavanaugh testified before Congress about the accusation, and both said they were “100%” certain of their version of events. The FBI investigated the accusations against Kavanaugh, but agents did not interview him, Blasey-Ford or dozens of people who said they had corroborating evidence.

The FBI has no comment on the new report but CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues notes there were limits on what the FBI was able to do because it was an abbreviated investigation with the timetable set by Congressional leadership.

Kavanaugh was confirmed in October 2018 by the smallest Senate vote margin in nearly 140 years.

Trump defended Kavanaugh during the confirmation process. After this latest accusation, the president said that Kavanaugh should take legal action.

“Brett Kavanaugh should start suing people for libel, or the Justice Department should come to his rescue,” Mr. Trump tweeted.

The president also tweeted that Democrats and the accusers were trying to influence Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court decisions and “scare him into turning Liberal.”

An impeachment process for a Supreme Court justice would be similar to that of a president, with the House voting on impeachment and the Senate deciding on removal. So while the Democrat-controlled House could impeach Kavanaugh, he’s unlikely to be removed by the Republican-led Senate. Only one Supreme Court justice has ever been impeached – Samuel Chase, in 1805 – and none have been removed.

Blasey-Ford’s attorney Deborah Katz told CNN last year that Blasey-Ford does not want Kavanaugh impeached, even if Democrats take control of Congress.

Katz and a spokeswoman for the Supreme Court did not immediately comment to CBS News.

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