Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) made some waves Wednesday when she said she would be “in favor” of reopening the investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh if the Democrats retake the Senate.
During a debate with Democratic challenger Kevin de León in San Francisco, Feinstein was asked about the recent Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, which became a political and cultural flashpoint after three women accused the judge of sexual assault or misconduct.
Feinstein initially hedged, telling the crowd that the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigative powers were “limited,” Roll Call reports.
When asked again, Feinstein responded: “Oh, I’d be in favor of opening up the allegations. Absolutely,” The Washington Post reported.
If Senate Democrats take the majority next year, Feinstein would become the chair of the Judiciary Committee and have the power to reopen the investigation. It is unclear how realistic that would be, and how impactful it could be.
Feinstein did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
In September, Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when the two were in high school. After Ford’s emotional testimony to the Senate panel ― and an angry denial from Kavanaugh ― the Republican-led committee and the full Senate voted to install the judge on the Supreme Court for life.
Feinstein has been criticized by Republicans for not revealing earlier that she had a July letter from Ford that detailed her allegations against Kavanaugh. Republicans argued that Feinstein kept the letter secret until the last minute, while the California senator said she kept the allegation private at Ford’s request.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) responded to Feinstein’s remarks in a Wednesday interview on Fox News’ “Hannity.”
“Apparently one kick of a mule is not enough for Senator Feinstein,” said Graham, who’s also on the Judiciary Committee.
“Here’s what I want every Democratic candidate for the Senate to be asked tomorrow: Do you agree with Dianne Feinstein?” he continued. “Are you for more humiliation, degrading treatment of this fine man? Are you for continuing this debacle?”
Kavanaugh has been accused by two other women of sexual misconduct. Deborah Ramirez says Kavanaugh exposed his penis and thrust it in her face during a party in college. A third woman, Julie Swetnick, accused Kavanaugh of being present when she was “gang raped” in high school.