“We are now in a place where it’s not about whether or not Judge Kavanaugh is qualified,” Ms. Murkowski said in an extended interview on Monday night in the Capitol. “It is about whether or not a woman who has been a victim at some point in her life is to be believed.”
With a 51-to-49 majority, Senate Republicans can afford to lose only one vote, assuming they get no Democrats. If Ms. Murkowski votes no, she could swing Senator Susan Collins of Maine, the other abortion-rights Republican in the Senate. But Republican leaders went ahead to schedule a committee vote for Friday, just a day after the hearing, a move that drew rebukes from Democrats who said the majority was not taking the allegations seriously. “I’m confident we’re going to win,” Mr. McConnell said.
Senate Judiciary Committee staff members interviewed Judge Kavanaugh by telephone on Tuesday about Deborah Ramirez, the second accuser, who went public this week with her account of college-age sexual misconduct. Ms. Ramirez said in an interview with The New Yorker that Judge Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a drinking party while they were students at Yale. She was initially reluctant to characterize the judge’s role, but said that after six days of assessing memories, she was confident that he was the one who took down his pants.
Judge Kavanaugh denied her allegation to committee staff members, just as he previously has Dr. Blasey’s account, according to people familiar with the interview. Republican staff members led the interview and Democratic aides listened in without asking questions. For now, the committee has not called Ms. Ramirez to testify.