Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has come under heavy fire from both sides over her handling of the allegation against Brett Kavanaugh, which she submitted to the FBI less than a week before the confirmation vote and two months after having received the allegation. But she says the real blame for outing the accuser, who initially said she wanted to remain anonymous, falls at the feet of the media.
"President Trump, Dr. Blasey Ford did not want her story of sexual assault to be public," Feinstein said in a tweet Wednesday. "She requested confidentiality and I honored that. It wasn’t until the media outed her that she decided to come forward. You may not respect women and the wishes of victims, but I do."
The response to Feinstein's statement online has been overwhelmingly negative. Among those who pushed back on Feinstein's attempt to blame the press was Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (h/t Allahpundit).
"[Sen. Feinstein] says 'the media outed' Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser," Cotton wrote Wednesday. "But only Democrats & their aides had access to the letter. So what she really means is Democrats leaked the letter. Either [Sen. Feinstein] approved the leak or she can’t control her own committee. Neither good."
Along with the attempt to shift the blame, others pointed out the convenient timing of Feinstein's decision to turn the letter from Blasey Ford over to the FBI and Feinstein's cryptic public statement on its contents, which only heightened media scrutiny. Ultimately, Blasey Ford, who took the steps to undergo a polygraph test months ago and personally contacted the Washington Post over the summer, agreed to reveal her name.
Kavanaugh has categorically denied Blasey Ford's allegation and is planning to testify under oath in front of the committee. After vacillating, Blasey Ford's attorney now says she may be willing to testify under certain conditions, but not on the day specified by the committee. Two of the men she named as potential witnesses to the alleged sexual assault have also denied the allegation, both sending letters to the committee, a form of testifying to federal officials.