On MSNBC Tuesday, Hillary Clinton weighed in on the sexual assault accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that allegedly occurred 35 years ago when he was in high school, arguing that "we should give the benefit of the doubt to the court and the country" rather than continuing with the confirmation process as scheduled. Her comments were met with fierce backlash from critics, including the woman whose accusation of rape against Clinton's husband was notoriously not given "the benefit of the doubt" by Democrats.
Asked by host Rachel Maddow if Democrats should play the kind of "hardball" Republicans played with blocking the Merrick Garland nomination, or "just go through regular order with whoever Trump has to put up next if the Kavanaugh nomination fails," Clinton called for neither "unilateral disarmament or Defcon-10." What she really wanted to see, she made clear, was an investigation.
"I remember back in the Thomas hearing when Senator Byrd was asked what he was going to do, and he said in a situation like this we should give the benefit of the doubt to the court and the country," she said. "And that’s what the Republicans should be doing right now, from the White House down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Senate, give the benefit of the doubt to the court and the country. And that means have an investigation that will then lead to a hearing that will then lead to a vote if appropriate."
Republicans have offered Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, the chance to testify in a public or private hearing on Monday, an offer her lawyer currently says she will not accept, demanding an FBI investigation first. An investigation into Ford's accusation by the FBI, Clinton told MSNBC, is "a reasonable request."
"The White House could answer [Ford’s request] very quickly by asking the FBI to reopen its background check and to take into account the accusation that's been made and to gather the evidence about what can be known. So far, they haven't done that," she said. "And as someone who has watched this process unfold over many years, there does have to be some direction given to the FBI to pursue an investigation."
Clinton's comments have elicited some strong responses, including from Bill Clinton accuser Juanita Broaddrick, who maintains that Bill raped her and Hillary threatened her to remain quiet:
Others on the Right agreed, including Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton:
For decades, Broaddrick has accused Bill Clinton of violently raping her in 1978. In 1999, NBC aired an interview with Broaddrick leveling the accusation, an interview which the network infamously only aired after the impeachment hearing.
A report on Clinton's comments by Grabien titled "Hillary: Kavanaugh's Accuser Deserves 'The Benefit of the Doubt'" made the rounds online, prompting more blowback from critics: