Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, refused to take part in a Senate Judiciary Committee Republican’s proposal for the White House to abandon Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination after his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, delivered emotional testimony at his confirmation hearing in September 2018, a new book claims.
According to “Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court,” the unnamed Republican senator wanted Collins to join him in presenting that deal to the White House in exchange for a pledge to approve President Trump’s replacement nominee.
Collins, who had spent weeks building a rapport with Kavanaugh, insisted on hearing what would become, according to the book, an effectively persuasive response from Kavanaugh.
“I think that speaks to who she is,” co-author Mollie Hemingway told Fox News during an interview.
Hemingway, an editor at The Federalist and Fox News contributor, worked with co-author and Judicial Crisis Network’s chief counsel, Carrie Severino, to interview more than 100 sources on the details surrounding Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
‘JUSTICE ON TRIAL’ EXCERPT: MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, CARRIE SEVERINO REVEAL HOW KAVANAUGH CONFIRMATION WAS SAVED
Their book delves into behind-the-scenes accounts of how President Trump’s administration and the U.S. Senate dealt with partisan rancor that ensued after former Chief Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement in 2018.
That included details about Collins’ decision making as a key swing vote. “She very much does believe in the rule of law, and she very much does believe in the presumption of innocence until guilt is proven,” Hemingway said while describing Collins’ decision to wait for Kavanaugh’s response.
“Even her response there was telling,” Severino added. “It’s not, ‘No, I think Brett’s a good guy.’ It was … ‘you need to hear both sides of the story,'” Severino said.
Collins famously detailed her reasoning for approving Kavanaugh’s confirmation during a highly-televised speech — lamenting the process he endured and emphasizing her respect for due process. “Certain fundamental legal principles—about due process, the presumption of innocence, and fairness—do bear on my thinking, and I cannot abandon them,” she said at the time.
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Collins — who often faced difficult swing votes with her colleague, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska — had to go the Kavanaugh vote alone. In their book, Hemingway and Severino describe the moment when Murkowski revealed to Collins she wouldn’t support the judge’s confirmation.
Collins’ “face fell” when she learned Murkowski wouldn’t be voting with her. The Maine senator initially thought she heard Murkowski say she could vote “yes.” That prompted a “big smile” from Collins before Murkowski touched her colleague’s hand and clarified, “You don’t understand, I’m not going to vote yes.”