McConnell denounces Kavanaugh 'feeding frenzy,' doubles down on vote this week

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday blasted a "feeding frenzy" on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and doubled down on his intention to hold a final floor vote on the nomination this week.

"I think it's safe to say the national spectacle the professional left has created around Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation process has now reached some kind of fever pitch," the Kentucky Republican said in remarks on the Senate floor.

"It has been 17 days since Dr. Ford's confidential correspondence was leaked to the press. Seventeen days of a feeding frenzy on Judge Kavanaugh and his family unlike anything we have seen in recent memory," he said.

McConnell said that since Ford's original letter became public, "a literal mudslide of wild, uncorroborated accusations have poured out."

"This mudslide has been actively embraced, urged on, and capitalized upon by Democrats inside this chamber and [by] far-left special interests outside," he added.

Despite the allegations, McConnell said again that he plans to hold a final floor vote on Kavanaugh's nomination in the next few days, and argued that Kavanaugh has "sterling academic credentials" and praised his "widely-acknowledged legal brilliance."

"The Senate will vote on this nomination this week," he said.

Senate Republicans have given the FBI until Friday to complete the new investigation launched after Sen Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said last Friday that his support for holding a final vote would be conditional on the completion of a new probe.

Asked Tuesday how long he would give senators to read and digest the FBI's report on Kavanaugh before moving to a full Senate floor vote, McConnell said, "It shouldn't take long."

Once the FBI report is completed, only senators will have access to it, according to McConnell. Democrats have been demanding that the information be made available to the wider public.

McConnell's remarks came hours after President Trump mocked Ford in an extended faux dialogue at a Tuesday night campaign rally.

"I had one beer!" Trump said, characterizing Ford's testimony about what she drank at the get-together where she said she was allegedly sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh.

"How did you get home?" the president asked, taking on the role of prosecutor.

"I don't remember," he said, mocking Ford.

In an interview with NBC's "Today" Wednesday morniing, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. called Trump's remarks "appalling."

"There's no time and no place for remarks like that. To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right.... I wish he hadn't done it," added Flake, whose vote Senate Republicans would likely need to confirm Kavanaugh if all Democrats oppose the nomination.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, another undecided vote on Kavanaugh, said Wednesday that "the president's comments were just plain wrong."

McConnell himself made no reference to Trump's comments in his Wednesday remarks. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., later came to the floor afterward and said Trump owed Ford "an immediate apology."