California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Wednesday she “absolutely” supports reopening an investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh was confirmed to the high court earlier this month following a heated battle over allegations that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when they were in high school. House Democrats have said they might launch investigations into Kavanaugh should they take control of the chamber next month.
Asked at a San Francisco debate — likely her only one with Democratic challenger Kevin de Léon — whether she supported an effort to reopen an investigation into Kavanaugh, Feinstein, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, initially did not answer directly, saying the panel’s investigation powers were “limited.”
Asked again, she said, “Oh, I’d be in favor of opening up the allegations. Absolutely.”
Democrats have a slim chance of flipping the Senate, but if they succeed, Feinstein would be in line to chair the Judiciary Committee.
De León also said he would “unquestionably” support further investigation into the allegations.
He did not criticize Feinstein during the debate over her handling of Kavanaugh’s confirmation process. But he had been sharply critical during confirmation hearings last month, accusing Feinstein of not adequately questioning the nominee.
The California Senate race features two Democrats because of the state’s top-two primary system, under which the two highest vote-getters in the June primary advance to the general election, regardless of party. De León has run to Feinstein’s left, embracing policies including “Medicare for All” and making resistance to the Trump administration a centerpiece of his campaign.
“It’s time for a change,” de Léon said at the start of the debate. He nevertheless faces an uphill battle against the longtime senator, who is well-known and has a sizable financial advantage in an expensive state.
Feinstein ended the most recent fundraising quarter on Sept. 30 with nearly $4.1 million in the bank. De León had $309,000 in his campaign coffers.
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