Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she couldn't abandon "the presumption of innocence and fairness," and that's why she could ultimately support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Collins announced on Friday that she would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, and said that sexual assault allegations against the nominee were likely false, despite "compelling" testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, who says that Kavanaugh forcibly groped her when they were in high school.
The senator cast doubt on Ford's recollection of the alleged assault, noting that she couldn't remember how she got home that night and that her friends couldn't recall the party. Ford's testimony was "sincere" and "painful," said Collins, saying that she believes she was assaulted and has been traumatized, but Kavanaugh deserves "fairness" in the face of allegations.
"Fairness would dictate that the claims at least should meet a threshold of more likely than not," said Collins. "The facts ... lead me to conclude that the allegations fail to meet the 'more likely than not' standard." However, she continued, the "#MeToo movement is real. It matters." She said we "must listen to survivors" of assault. Reaching the end of her comments on the allegations against Kavanaugh, Collins suggested Ford was part of a Democratic conspiracy. "Watching [Ford], I could not help but feel that some people who wanted to engineer the defeat of this nomination cared little, if at all, for her well-being," she said.
Collins' support for Kavanaugh has all but secured his confirmation. The Senate will make a final vote on Saturday.