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Anti-Kavanaugh protests lead to arrests at the Capitol

Posted at 9:39 AM, Sep 24, 2018

Protests at the US Capitol on Monday led to some arrests as demonstrators gathered to oppose embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the high court.

Two different women -- Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez -- have now publicly come forward with allegations against Kavanaugh that have upended the Senate vetting process for the nomination and thrown into question whether he will be confirmed. Kavanaugh has denied both allegations and the White House has continued to stand by him, with President Donald Trump on Monday calling the allegations "totally political."

Republicans can confirm Kavanaugh without Democrat votes, but they can only afford to lose one GOP senator and still advance his nomination. His nomination is expected to hinge on several senators viewed as potential swing votes such as Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Protesters sought to put pressure on Collins on Monday morning, showing up at her Dirksen Senate office.

An aide from Collins' office came out into the hallway at one point to listen to the protesters.

The protesters implored the senator to take a stand sooner rather than later, saying: "Collins needs to make a decision now when it matters and stand up for us."

Another protester indicated that she was still holding out hope that Collins would be a "no" vote on Kavanaugh's nomination, saying, "We believe that Senator Collins can be a hero."


Capitol Hill police worked to make sure that people had room to move throughout the hallways, and later arrests began to take place outside of Collins' office to protesters occupying the hallway. An exact number of arrests was not immediately known.

On Monday morning, a large group of people, including Yale students, made their way through the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building, saying that they were headed to various Senate offices.

On Sunday, Kavanaugh issued a denial against Ramirez's allegation.

Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer of The New Yorker reported Sunday that Ramirez, 53, attended Yale with Kavanaugh and said she remembers Kavanaugh exposing himself to her at a dormitory party.

Kavanaugh, who has denied Ford's accusation, pushed back against the allegation.

"This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen," Kavanaugh said in a statement. "The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so. This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name -- and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building -- against these last-minute allegations."

On Thursday, Ford, the first woman to publicly level an allegation against Kavanaugh, is set to testify in an opening hearing. Ford has alleged that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh has categorically denied that allegation as well.

Protests against the contentious nomination are likely to continue ahead of the hearing.

Several organizations, including NARAL Pro-Choice America and the National Women's Law Center, posted messages on Twitter promoting a national walkout and moment of solidarity in support of Ford and Ramierz set for 1 p.m. ET on Monday afternoon. A Facebook page for the event said demonstrators will gather in the Hart atrium at 12:30 p.m. ET and then march to the Supreme Court.

Trump on Monday dismissed the allegations levied against his Supreme Court nominee, calling them "totally political."

"And for people to come out of the woodwork from 36 years ago and 30 years ago and never mentioned it and all of a sudden it happens, in my opinion it's totally political," he said. "It's totally political."