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Flake: Threat to 'take out' family over stance on Kavanaugh

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake and his family should be "taken out" over his "interrupting our president" in the hearings over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a caller told the office of the Arizona Republican, Flake said Wednesday in remarks on the Senate floor.

Flake said he wants to hear from both Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused the prospective justice of attempting to sexually assault her when both were in high school, and Kavanaugh during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Other women have also in recent days alleged that Kavanugh participated in improper sexual behavior, including assault, in high school and college, but have not been invited to appear before the Senate.

"When Dr. Ford came forward, I felt strongly that her voice needed to be heard, and that is why I informed Chairman Grassley that the Judiciary Committee could not and should not proceed to vote until she had the opportunity to make her voice heard, until such time that her claims were fully aired and carefully considered, her credibility gauged," Flake said. T"his is a lifetime appointment. This is said to be a deliberative body. In the interest of due diligence and fairness, it seemed to me to be the only thing to do."

"Not everybody felt that way. One man, somewhere in the country, called my office in Arizona and left a message saying that he was tired of me 'interrupting our president' and that for the offense of allowing Dr. Ford to be heard, for this offense, me and my family would be 'taken out,'" he said.

"I mention this with reluctance, but only to say that we have lit a match, my colleagues," Flake said. "The question is, do we appreciate how close the powder keg is?"

More from Flake's statement:

Tomorrow, we have a hearing. Many members of this body, from both parties, have already made up their minds, on the record, in advance of this hearing. They will presumably hear what they want to hear and disregard the rest. One is tempted to ask, why even bother to have a hearing?

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I do not know how I will assess the credibility of these witnesses – these human beings – on the grave matters that will be testified to, because I have not yet heard a word of their testimony, and because I am not psychic. I am not gifted with clairvoyance. Given these limitations, I will have to listen to the testimony before I make up my mind about the testimony.

What I do know is that I don't believe that Dr. Ford is part of some kind of vast conspiracy from start to finish to smear Judge Kavanaugh, as has been alleged by some on the Right.

And what I do know is that I don't believe that Judge Kavanaugh is some kind of serial sexual predator, as has been alleged by some on the Left.

I must also say that separate and apart from this nomination and the facts that pertain to it, I do not believe that a claim of sexual assault is invalid because a 15-year-old girl didn't promptly report the assault to the authorities, as the president of the United States said just two days ago. How uninformed and uncaring do you have to be to say things like that, much less believe them? Do we have any idea what kind of message that sends, especially to young women? How many times do we have to marginalize and ignore women before we learn that important lesson?

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