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Anger Flaring, Sen. Hatch Threatens to Quit

October 12, 1991|Associated Press

WASHINGTON Following is an exchange between Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) and Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) at the opening of Friday's committee hearing:

Biden: Prof. Hill, as recently as late last night, continues to ask us to maintain the confidentiality of her statement to the committee. So Judge Thomas, at this stage of the hearings without having heard Prof. Hill's testimony and without using her statement, our questioning to you may not be complete. . . .

Hatch: Mr. Chairman? I just want to say something for the record here. This is the nomination process of a man to become Supreme Court justice of the United States and he has been badly maligned . . . and I am not going to sit here and tolerate her attorneys telling you, or me, or anybody else that now that she's made these statements in writing with what is, if the judge is telling the truth and I believe he is, scurrilous allegations, that that statement can't be used. . . . I intend to use that statement because it is fair to use it.

Biden: . . . You're entitled to use the statement under the rules.

Hatch: Well, then the statement is going to be admissible to everybody. Everybody in this country is going to see it. . . .

And what I'm trying to say is that, to be frank, Mr. Chairman, there are inconsistencies in the statement of Anita Hill to the FBI compared to her other statements. . . . She's entitled to explain these discrepancies. But Judge Thomas is entitled to point out these inconsistencies for their bearing on the credibility of the accuser in this instance.

Biden: Senator, we are not at liberty to publicly discuss what's in the FBI report. Her statement is a different story.

Hatch: This report has been leaked to the press. . . . I think it's time to be fair to the nominee. . . . He's the one who's being accused . . . and he has a right to face the accuser. And if he doesn't, then I'm going to resign from this committee today.

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