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Donnelly to vote against Kavanaugh; Braun responds

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) — Sen. Joe Donnelly has announced that he plans to oppose Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Donnelly released the following statement on Friday:

“I do not view Supreme Court vacancies through a partisan lens, which is why I have used the same thorough process to evaluate nominees regardless of who the president is at the time. That was the case regarding the nomination of Judge Garland and also when I voted for Justice Gorsuch, who was President Trump’s first nominee. It has remained my approach with Judge Kavanaugh.

As I have made clear before, sexual assault has no place in our society. When it does occur, we should listen to the survivors and work to ensure it never happens again. That should not be a partisan issue.

My job as a Senator is to gather as much information as I can to make the best-informed decision. The allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh are disturbing and credible. In the interest of getting as much information as possible, I believe the allegations should be investigated by the FBI.

Unfortunately, despite having the time and opportunity to do so, Senator McConnell has refused to allow that FBI investigation. Even the American Bar Association, which has previously rated Judge Kavanaugh as ‘well qualified’ has called for an FBI investigation, where we could learn more information and other potential witnesses could be interviewed.

I have deep reservations about Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to this lifetime position and, as I stated, we have been unable to get all the information necessary regarding this nomination, despite my best efforts. Only 113 people have ever served on the Supreme Court, and I believe that we must do our level best to protect its sanctity.

While I would gladly welcome the opportunity to work with President Trump on a new nominee for this critically important position, if Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination comes before the full Senate for a vote under these circumstances, I will oppose it.”

Republican Mike Braun, one of Donnelly’s challengers in the upcoming election, released his own statement Friday afternoon:

“This entire process has been an embarrassment to our democracy as Hoosiers watched firsthand how Senator Donnelly’s liberal colleagues used uncorroborated allegations to create a media circus designed to smear and destroy Judge Kavanaugh’s reputation.  Donnelly’s decision to oppose President Trump’s highly qualified nominee is a grave mistake, but proves he is more concerned with standing with his liberal Democrat leaders than standing for Hoosiers. I continue to strongly support Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee was expected to vote Friday afternoon on whether to recommend Kavanaugh to the full Senate.

Jazlynn Bebout

Jazlynn Bebout is the Assignment Desk Editor and Digital Editor at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @jazlynnsb

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