Republican Bob Hugin has now finished watching Thursday’s U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, but will still wait until after the FBI completes their investigation before he takes a position, his campaign staff said on Saturday evening.
Hugin had originally supported President Donald Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh, but backed off following allegations leveled by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that the judicial nominee had drunkenly pinned her to a bed and groped her during a party 35 years ago.
The U.S. Senate candidate then said that he would wait until after the hearing to determine whether he would back Kavanaugh for a lifetime top court appointment.
His campaign said on Friday that Hugin watched at least some of the proceedings, though it was not clear which portion of the testimonies given by Ford and Kavanaugh he had seen. By Saturday night, the retired pharmaceutical company CEO had finished watching.
“I think he’s clearly an incredibly qualified, talented jurist,” Hugin said of the judge in a press gaggle following an unrelated event on Wednesday. “I want to watch the hearings tomorrow – I think it’s tomorrow – to make sure I get all of the information. I think everyone should listen to all the testimony, both from any accuser, fully heard, and he should have the opportunity to fully state his case. Then, I’ll make a judgement after that.”
The FBI’s probe is limited in time and scope and will last no more than a week and reportedly be limited to accusations leveled by Ford and Deborah Ramirez, who alleges Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they were both students at Yale Law School.
The White House has not cleared the bureau to investigate the allegations of a third accuser, Julie Swetnick, who claims Kavanaugh attempted to get women drunk at parties in order to facilitate sexual assaults.
Hugin on Thursday called for an FBI investigation into the accusers’ claims.
“The Committee’s handling of this entire process has been a disgrace, and as a result the lives of these two individuals and their families will never be the same,” Hugin said at the time. “Let the FBI investigate, as thoroughly and expeditiously as possible, so we can bring these allegations to a final conclusion.”
The Judiciary Committee advanced Kavanaugh’s nomination in an 11-10 vote along party lines on Friday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to delay a vote of the full Senate until after the conclusion of the FBI’s ongoing week-long probe.
Hugin’s Democratic opponent, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, says he’ll vote against Kavanaugh’s nomination.