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McConnell slams anti-Kavanaugh protests, 'intimidation tactics'

The Hill logo The Hill 10/3/2018 Jordain Carney
Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn are posing for a picture © Provided by The Hill

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday slammed protestors who are increasingly confronting GOP senators over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, warning it won't prevent the Senate from voting.

"If facts and evidence couldn't get the job done, then intimidation tactics and bullying would have to do. ... The far left tried to bully and intimidate members of this body, Republican United States senators," McConnell said from the Senate floor.

McConnell noted in an apparent reference to GOP Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) that one senator and their family "were effectively run out of a restaurant in recent days by these people."

"Another reported having protestors physically block his car door. And some have seen organized far-left protestors camp out at their homes," McConnell continued.

Cruz and his wife, Heidi, were confronted by anti-Kavanaugh protestors at a D.C. restaurant. They later returned to finish their meal. Protestors on Capitol Hill have also tailed senators coming in and out of unrelated committee hearings in public Senate office buildings this week.

McConnell himself and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) were both confronted by women who identified themselves as survivors of sexual assault associated with an advocacy group opposed to Kavanaugh's nomination at Reagan National Airport near Washington, D.C. on Monday.

"I'm not suggesting we're the victims here ... but I want to make it clear to these people who are chasing my members around the hall here or harassing them at the airports or going to their homes we're not going to be intimidated by these people," McConnell said.

McConnell's comments come as the Senate is preparing to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination this week. The vote has been delayed to give the FBI time to investigate sexual misconduct allegations against the nominee, which Kavanaugh has denied. The exact timing of the vote is unclear because McConnell has not yet filed cloture on the nomination, which would set in motion an initial vote on ending debate.

Kavanaugh remains short of the simple majority needed to be confirmed.

Republicans hold a 51-seat majority and can only lose one GOP senator before they need help to confirm Kavanaugh.

GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) remain undecided.

Most Democrats are expected to oppose Kavanaugh. Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) remain undecided.

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