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Monday, October 1, 2018

Leahy Says Kavanaugh's 'Answers Were Not Truthful'

Posted By on Mon, Oct 1, 2018 at 12:31 PM

Sen. Patrick Leahy - TAYLOR DOBBS
  • Taylor Dobbs
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said Brett Kavanaugh’s “answers were not truthful” and that the U.S. Supreme Court nominee was “not believable” in giving sworn testimony last week related to allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a young woman while both were in high school in the 1980s.

“I hope for the sake of the country he’s not the next justice on the Supreme Court,” Leahy said in his Burlington office Monday morning. “I think it would diminish the court.”

Leahy said he’s “never seen anything like this” in Washington, D.C., referring to the past week of testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University, accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when she was 15 and he was 17. In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, she described the incident in detail.

Leahy said his past experience as a prosecutor in Chittenden County gave him confidence in Ford’s story.

“I would have considered her a very believable witness,” Leahy said.

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Walters: Leahy Elicits Striking Answer From Kavanaugh Accuser Christine Blasey Ford

Posted By on Thu, Sep 27, 2018 at 2:08 PM

Christine Blasey Ford testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee - AP PHOTO/ANDREW HARNIK
  • AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
  • Christine Blasey Ford testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee
Updated at 5:42 p.m.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) made the most of his brief opportunity to question Christine Blasey Ford about her accusation that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in 1982 while a male friend did nothing to intervene.

"What is the strongest memory you have of the incident?" Leahy asked. "Something you cannot forget?"

"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two," Ford replied, her voice breaking. "I was underneath one of them while the two laughed. Two friends having a really good time with one another."

The exchange came during a Thursday hearing of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, examining one of multiple sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee chair, restricted each member to five minutes of questioning for each of the two witnesses: Ford and Kavanaugh. Leahy used his five minutes to question Ford about her memory of the incident in an effort to bolster her credibility.

Later in the day, Leahy had a thoroughly antagonistic exchange with Kavanaugh.

Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when she was 15 years old and Kavanaugh was 17. She has said that Mark Judge, a friend of Kavanaugh's, was in the room during the assault. At the beginning of the hearing, Ford retold the story, her voice frequently breaking as she did so.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Leahy Calls on Trump to Withdraw Kavanaugh Nomination

Posted By on Wed, Sep 26, 2018 at 5:24 PM

Sen. Patrick Leahy - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy
After a third woman accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct Wednesday, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called on President Donald Trump to "immediately withdraw the nomination" or direct the Federal Bureau of Investigation to probe the matter. Leahy also demanded that a planned hearing and vote this week on Kavanaugh's nomination be scrapped.

In a letter Leahy and all nine other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent Trump early Wednesday afternoon, the senators said that the president should reconsider his choice for the court. "Judge Kavanaugh has staunchly declared his respect for women and issued blanket denials of any possible misconduct, but those declarations are in serious doubt," they wrote.

The Judiciary Committee Democrats sent a second letter later Wednesday to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who chairs the panel. They called on Grassley to cancel a Thursday hearing in which Kavanaugh and another alleged victim, Christine Blasey Ford, are scheduled to testify, as well as a Friday committee vote on the nomination.

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Leahy: Firing Rosenstein 'Would Scream of Cover-Up'

Posted By on Mon, Sep 24, 2018 at 10:13 PM

Sen. Patrick Leahy - RON SACHS / CNP VIA AP
  • Ron Sachs / CNP via AP
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy
As the fate of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein hung in the balance Monday, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said that firing the official overseeing the Special Counsel investigation into President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign would be "a bad mistake."

"It would be very, very damaging — both to the president and to the Republican Party because it would scream of cover-up," said Leahy, the senior-most member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Leahy made the remarks near the end of a day of furious speculation over whether Rosenstein would offer his resignation or Trump would fire him. His status has been uncertain since Friday, when the New York Times reported that Rosenstein had suggested in the spring of 2017 that he wear a wire to record the president and seek Trump's removal from office by invoking the 25th Amendment. The White House said Monday afternoon that Rosenstein remained at the Department of Justice, but that he was scheduled to meet with the president on Thursday.

According to Leahy, firing Rosenstein could effectively end Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election because Rosenstein would be replaced as acting attorney general overseeing the inquiry by Solicitor General Noel Francisco, whom Leahy referred to as "a Trump acolyte."

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GOP County Chair Deletes Tweet That Said Kavanaugh Accuser 'Was Having a Sexual Fantasy'

Posted By on Mon, Sep 24, 2018 at 1:42 PM

The tweet - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • The tweet
Orleans County Republican Party chair Chet Greenwood denied writing a tweet posted to his account that suggested one of the women accusing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault was instead recalling a “sexual fantasy.”

Greenwood said he doesn’t know how the tweet appeared on his account but confirmed that he deleted it.

“I don’t think I did that,” Greenwood said Monday. “I don’t know how that got there. And I saw that and I deleted it. I don’t know. I can’t say how it got there. I deleted it.”

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Vermont Delegation Calls for Delay in Kavanaugh Vote

Posted By on Mon, Sep 17, 2018 at 12:53 PM

Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders
Updated at 5:48 p.m.

After a California professor alleged Sunday that Judge Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her when they both were teenagers, Vermont's congressional delegation urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to halt its consideration of his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

All three members — Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) — said the committee's planned Thursday vote on the nomination should be postponed until authorities could fully investigate the claims. In an interview with Seven Days on Monday afternoon, Leahy said that Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, should both testify before the committee, on which Leahy serves.

“She’s willing to testify under oath,” the senator said. “Let her!”

Details of the allegations have trickled out since the committee's ranking member, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), briefed fellow Democrats last Wednesday, but Blasey Ford’s identity was not known until Sunday, when she shared her story with the Washington Post. She said that at a party in suburban Maryland in the early 1980s, a drunken Kavanaugh had pinned her to a bed, groped her and attempted to remove her clothes.

“I find her allegations worth looking into professionally,” Leahy said in the interview. “I mean, she’s shown some very incredible courage even coming in here and we’re dealing with a nominee whose veracity is already an issue.”

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Leahy at Kavanaugh Hearing: 'What Are We Hiding?'

Posted By on Tue, Sep 4, 2018 at 6:17 PM

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) listen as Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) speaks during the confirmation hearing of Brett Kavanaugh. - BILL CLARK/CQ ROLL CALL
  • Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) listen as Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) speaks during the confirmation hearing of Brett Kavanaugh.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) joined an unprecedented protest of a U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Tuesday, calling the Senate Judiciary Committee's vetting of nominee Brett Kavanaugh "a sham."

"This is the most incomplete, most partisan and least transparent vetting for any Supreme Court nominee I have ever seen," said Leahy, a former chair of the committee who has taken part in 19 confirmation hearings. "And I’ve seen more than anyone else in the Senate."

Even before the current chair, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), could introduce Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge, Democratic members interrupted the proceedings to demand their postponement. One by one, they talked over Grassley — criticizing him for failing to request some of Kavanaugh's records and for allowing others to be kept confidential.

As protesters shouted from the gallery, Leahy interjected to ask, "What are we trying to hide? What are we hiding? What's being hidden?"

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Friday, August 31, 2018

Vice President Mike Pence Comes to Vermont, Gets the Finger

Posted By on Fri, Aug 31, 2018 at 4:31 PM

Air Force Two at the Burlington International Airport - TAYLOR DOBBS
  • Taylor Dobbs
  • Air Force Two at the Burlington International Airport
As Vice President Mike Pence landed at Burlington International Airport on Friday, a half-dozen spectators watched from the Pizza Putt parking lot across the street from the Vermont Air National Guard hangar.

A Jericho woman snapped selfies of Air Force Two under the careful watch of snipers and plainclothes United States Secret Service officers standing conspicuously inside the airport’s perimeter fence. The amateur photographer sheepishly described herself as a Pence supporter, though she declined an interview.

There was no media scrum or large crowd of waving supporters to greet Pence, who landed shortly after 1:30 p.m. Within a few minutes, his motorcade of about 15 SUVs, including Vermont State Police vehicles, slipped through the airport fence and drove away.

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Bernie Sanders' GOP Opponent Drops Out of Senate Race — and Four Others

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2018 at 5:07 PM

  • Courtesy: H. Brooke Paige
  • H. Brooke Paige
Updated at 5:37 p.m.

The Republican nominee for six statewide offices in Vermont dropped out of five of them Friday, according to the Secretary of State's Office.

In last week's GOP primary, Washington resident and perennial candidate H. Brooke Paige won the nominations for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer and state auditor. But on Friday, he formally withdrew from all but the secretary of state's race, according to elections director Will Senning.

Paige said he’d chosen to continue challenging Democratic Secretary of State Jim Condos because he was frustrated with the state’s electoral system. “They’re the people in charge of this chaos,” Paige said.

The candidate's decision scrambles Vermont's general election ballot and could lead to new opponents for top statewide officeholders, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.). According to state law, the Vermont Republican Party now has seven days to replace Paige in the contests.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Leahy: It Appears Trump Has Broken the Law

Posted By on Wed, Aug 22, 2018 at 4:56 PM

Sen. Patrick Leahy - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy
A day after President Donald Trump's former lawyer implicated his estranged boss in federal court, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said for the first time that it appeared likely that the president had broken the law.

Vermont's senior senator made the assertion in a brief interview with Seven Days Wednesday afternoon, immediately after addressing the president's mounting legal problems on the floor of the U.S. Senate. "The clouds of criminal conduct surrounding those close to the president are darkening," he said in those remarks.

Leahy was referring to two major developments that came a day earlier: former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's conviction on eight counts of tax and bank fraud, and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen's guilty pleas on eight counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations. During Cohen's appearance Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, he said he'd made illegal payments to two women "in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office," referring to Trump.

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