Republican U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock accused Senate Democrats Friday of abusing the confirmation process by withholding sex-assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until the last minute.
In a statement provided Friday to The Associated Press, Comstock said both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, have been ill-served by the process, first when Democrats sat on the allegation and then again when her accusations were leaked without her consent.
"This partisan abuse of the process has been a travesty for all involved," Comstock said, creating "an overall toxic partisan environment."
The statement does not explicitly endorse Kavanaugh, nor does it contradict her statement in July, when Kavanaugh was nominated, that he's an "excellent choice."
Comstock's Democratic challenger, Jennifer Wexton, has criticized Comstock for refusing to take a stand on the nomination. Wexton issued a statement Friday supporting Kavanaugh's accuser.
Wexton told the AP that the Kavanaugh nomination was all people wanted to talk about at a town hall she held Friday.
"It's becoming a huge issue for a lot of women and a lot of people who are disgusted by this process and the partisan nature of it, and the willingness of the members to stand up and be a check on the Trump administration,'' she said.
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The race in Virginia's 10th District is closely watched nationally as one of Democrats' best opportunities to gain a seat. The district, stretching through the northern Virginia suburbs out to Winchester, voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 and is replete with the upscale, educated independents and moderate Republicans who remain most wary of President Donald Trump.
Comstock and Kavanaugh have known each other for 20 years, stretching back to their time investigating President Bill Clinton for Congress and Independent Counsel Ken Starr, respectively.
When Kavanaugh was nominated in July, Comstock called Kavanaugh "a man of great character, integrity, and professionalism who reveres the Constitution and the rule of law."
In her statement Friday, Comstock noted that she called for both Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford to be given an opportunity to testify under oath.
"They have now done so and the Senate Judiciary Committee is completing the process with the additional FBI investigation," Comstock said.
Comstock, in her statement, said she has been willing to criticize Republicans such as former Texas congressman Blake Farenthold when they have been accused of sexual harassment. But she called Wexton "hypocritically silent as to the many Democrats who have a history of predatory or abusive behavior such as Bill Clinton, John Conyers, Al Franken, Democrat Party Chair Keith Ellison, or former Rep. Jim Moran, with whom Wexton campaigned.''
Wexton, in an interview this week with The Washington Post, accused Comstock of employing a double standard on the issue by failing to hold Kavanaugh to the same standard as others.