“They both laughed as Kavanaugh tried to disrobe me in their highly inebriated state,” she wrote in the letter, made public Monday by CNN. “With Kavanaugh’s hand over my mouth I feared he may inadvertently kill me.”
Her lawyer, Debra Katz, said in an interview that Dr. Blasey was ready to go before the committee. “We hope that this hearing is fair and not another weaponized attack on a woman who has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against a powerful man,” Ms. Katz said.
Public hearings could be charged, especially in a political year marked by rising female political activism and a surge of female candidates. No Republican women serve on the Judiciary Committee, and senior Republican men appeared ready to defend the nominee.
“I believe him,” Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, who serves on the Judiciary Committee, told reporters after a private phone call with Mr. Kavanaugh on Monday afternoon. Mr. Hatch said he saw “lots of reasons” not to believe Dr. Blasey’s accusation.
“He is a person of immense integrity,” the senator said. “I have known him for a long time. He has always been straightforward, honest, truthful and a very, very decent man.”
Ms. Feinstein came in for particular criticism from Republicans who took shots at her for withholding the information about Dr. Blasey until last week. “If they believe Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser, why didn’t they surface this information earlier so that he could be questioned about it?” Mr. McConnell asked. “And if they didn’t believe her and chose to withhold the information, why did they decide at the 11th hour to release it?”
Ms. Katz said Ms. Feinstein withheld the letter because she was respecting Dr. Blasey’s wishes to remain private. Ultimately, after rumors of the letter circulated on Capitol Hill, and she was confronted by Democratic colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, Ms. Feinstein referred the letter to the F.B.I. Asked why she had waited so long, the senator hesitated.
“I don’t know; I’ll have to look back and see,” Ms. Feinstein told reporters, before ducking into the Senate chamber. When she emerged, she said, “The answer is that she asked that it be confidential.”