Collins Says Yes to Kavanaugh: 'I don't believe that these claims need to be proved beyond reasonable doubt'
Collins commented that the MeToo movement is real, as she and Senator Manchin said they'd vote to confirm. Saturday will be the final showdown.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced on Friday, "I don't believe that these claims need to be proved beyond reasonable doubt" and "I do not believe these charges can fairly prevent Kavanaugh from the court," referring to the testimony Christine Blasey Ford gave against Brett Kavanaugh last week.
Collins said Kavanaugh was clearly qualified to serve.
Prior to announcing her support for the Supreme Court nominee accused of sexual assault, she had called President Trump's mocking of Ford, "just plain wrong," and that she was "appalled" by the tweet questioning how bad the attack was, and why she or her loving parents didn't file charges immediately.
In her statement Friday afternoon, Collins expressed concern that people believe the Senate is condoning sexual assault.
She said, "The Me Too movement is real. It matters, it is needed and it is long overdue. I will do all that I can to ensure that daughters and granddaughters never experience [sexual assault]. Ford never sought the spotlight and said that someone leaked the letter against her wishes.
"To that leaker who I hope is listening now… what you did was unconscionable. You have taken a survivor… who trusted you to protect her, you have sacrificed her well-being to win a political crusade you think you are fighting. Your callous act has turned this into a dysfunctional circus."
She criticized special interest groups attack on Kavanaugh, and said the confirmation process had gone to the "gutter."
Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a Republican, and Joe Machin of West Virginia, a Democrat voted to advance the nomination along with Collins this morning, resulting in a vote of 51-49.
Machin, who is running for re-election in a state Trump won in 2016 by an overwhelming majority, said after Collins spoke this afternoon, that while he had reservations, he found Kavanaugh "to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him."
Flake, who after anguish over being confronted by survivors in an elevator during the Senate hearings made a deal with Senator Christopher Coons to bring about the FBI Investigation, said earlier this morning that he will vote "Yes unless something big were to change."
Before this morning's vote to advance, Mitch McConnell said to his colleagues: "We know the Senate is better than this, we know the nation deserves better than this. Let's seize the golden opportunity before us today, confirm a Supreme Court justice who will make us proud."
"Very proud of the U.S. Senate for voting "YES" to advance the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh!" Trump tweeted after the morning vote.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who opposed her party and voted against advancing the nomination and claims to continue to say "No" on Saturday, said of what she called the most difficult decision she's ever had to make, "I believe we are dealing with issues that are bigger than a nominee." She also said to reporters, "He's not the right man for the court at this time."
"This is a huge victory for the survivors who came forward, both in 'Surviving R. Kelly' and before, and all young Black women, who are systematically undervalued in our society," said Arisha Hatch of Color of Change.
R. Kelly was removed from RCA Records' website on Friday, but no official statement has been made by the record label.
Sony and R. Kelly have agreed to part ways, according to a Billboard report. The "Surviving R. Kelly" documentary and subsequent backlash from activists, music fans, and fellow music artists seems to have taken its toll, after more than 25 years of accusations of sexual and physical abuse.
"You better think of something quick. You're running out of time," said Faith Rodgers attorney, of R. Kelly.
Faith Rodgers , 21, spoke to New York police Monday and unveiled a threatening letter allegedly written by R. Kelly last October.
Rodgers is suing Kelly for nonconsensual acts he allegedly forced her into in 2017, when she was 19.
In the notarized letter to attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing Rodgers, Kelly allegedly wrote "if she persists in court action, she will be subjected to public opinion," that she should have test results "proving the origin of her STD claim." The letter also said Kelly would request "10 personal male witnesses testifying about her sex life."
"If Ms. Rodgers really cares about her own reputation, she should cease her participation and association with the organizers of this negative campaign," the letter allegedly signed by Kelly says.
Kelly's attorney told CBS News the letter is "a fake" saying "R. Kelly can't read, write or type. He didn't send any letter."
Rodgers' attorney said of Kelly's future: "You better think of something quick. You're running out of time."
"Mr. Kelly, your disgusting tactics will not prevent women who allege that they were victimized from telling their truth."
Last week, an arrest warrant was issued for his former manager, James Mason, for an incident report in May 2018 where threats were made against one of the girls' fathers. The report quoted Mason threatening to kill Timothy Savage and family: "I'm going to do harm to you and your family, when I see you I'm gonna get you, I'm going to f**king kill you," Mason was quoted as saying in the police report, obtained by CNN.
As women come forward post the "Surviving R. Kelly" documentary, Kelly maintains his innocence.
Steven Greenberg, told NBC News that neither he nor Kelly has watched the documentary and said of the accusers, "They're just haters trying to ruin his career."
Several artists have spoken out in support of the accusers, including John Legend, Keke Palmer, Lady Gaga, and even Kelly's own daughter, Joann Kelly. Celine Dion and Chance the Rapper have reportedly pulled their music collaborations with him from streaming services.
Rodgers said she could forgive Kelly, but also believes he should be in jail. Additionally, she said: " He needs help not only mental help he needs spiritual help."
Reader Question: Do you think this letter will result in charges being brought against Kelly?
Pot, meet kettle.
Fresh off the whirlwind success of Lifetime Network's controversial "Surviving R. Kelly" documentary, longtime music journalist Touré, one of the many high-profiled contributors featured in the series, has been accused of sexual harassment by his former makeup artist.
All three of his children, and his ex-wife, have not spoken to him in years.
Singer Buku Abi, real name Joann Kelly, posted on Instagram saying she was "devastated" by the recent accusations in the documentary "Surviving R. Kelly."
The 20-year-old said she hasn't seen or spoken to him in years, calling him a "terrible" father.
There were repeated requests by him and his label to work with the teenage girls. Matthew Knowles, said of the girls: "They did not leave our eyes."
Beyoncé's father, Matthew Knowles said Destiny's Child stayed away from R. Kelly because they had heard of his reputation back in the late '90s.
"The girls were 15, 16," he said. "When they went to the bathroom, Tina would go with them. They did not leave our eyes."
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While Chance acknowledged his mistake, many other artists, who have profited in some way from an R. Kelly collaboration, are keeping quiet.
"Surviving R. Kelly," the documentary series that R. Kelly's lawyers had threatened to file a federal lawsuit over, has not only outed some disgusting allegations against the singer, songwriter and record producer, and the families of young Black girls, but also gut-wrenching truths about the treatment of Black women by the music industry — and the money and fame that has been prioritized over their lives.