Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders does not want the Senate Judiciary Committee to move forward with any votes in the confirmation process for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
That's after a second woman went public with an allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh, who has denied both allegations.
Sanders was in Burlington Monday to address University of Vermont students at a rally for action on climate change. Sanders spoke to VPR after his remarks and answered questions on several topics.
Listen to Sen. Sanders full interview with VPR’s Henry Epp above.
On Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Judge Brett Kavanaugh:
Sanders did not directly answer when asked whether he thinks the Trump administration should withdraw Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. But he called on Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, a Republican senator from Iowa, to give the allegations a thorough discussion and analysis in the committee.
"I think the two individuals, if they're gonna come before the committee, have got to be treated with a great deal of respect," Sanders said. "Kavanaugh has a right, obviously, to respond to that criticism. But the most important point right now is not to rush this through for political purposes."
Sanders said Grassley should postpone any vote on Kavanaugh, and he wants the FBI to investigate the allegations. Sanders has publicly opposed Kavanaugh's nomination for weeks, even before these allegations were made public.
On Climate Change:
In his remarks to students Monday, Sanders lauded the moves Vermont has made to use more renewable energy.
But in the last few years, Vermont's greenhouse gas emissions have been rising. Asked what the state should do next given that fact, Sanders said more investment is needed in transitioning to renewable power and in energy efficiency.
“There are many homes, businesses, buildings in the state of Vermont that are old, that are wasting an enormous amount of energy, and it makes no sense at all," Sanders said. "When you invest in energy efficiency, what you can end up doing over a period of time of actually saving homeowners and landlords and building owners money because you're cutting back on the amount of fuel that you use, and obviously you're also protecting the environment in combating climate change.”
On The Midterm Elections:
Midterm elections are just weeks away, and Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, has been campaigning for progressive candidates around the country. He’s also running for re-election to his U.S. Senate seat.
Republicans currently hold majorities in both the House and Senate. Asked whether he’s optimistic Democrats will take majorities in Congress, Sanders said he’s not someone who speculates.
“All I can say is that I will do everything that I can to drive voter turnout up, to get working people and young people involved in the political process," Sanders said. "We are at a pivotal moment in American history and we have got to end one-party rule in Washington.”
In a statement Monday, Sanders endorsed Vermont Democratic gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist.