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Then-Senator Joe Biden holds up a copy of the FBI report on Anita Hill. Photo: Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden joined Democrats Monday in calling on the Senate Judiciary Committee to delay a confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh following recent allegations of sexual assault.

Why it matters: Biden has thrust himself into a national debate that resembles a similar event from when he presided over the confirmation of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court in 1991. Thomas, too, was accused of sexual assault — but by his former employee, Anita Hill.

"He believes the vote should be postponed to allow this to happen appropriately, because this is an appointment for life to the nation's highest court, and getting the decision right is more important than getting it done on a rushed timeline."
— A Biden spokesperson tells CNN

The backstory: Biden, then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been harshly criticized for his handling of Thomas' confirmation process.

  • The all-male Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Hill, a Oklahoma University law professor, when she testified that Thomas made unwanted sexual advances toward her while working for him at the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The committee casted doubts on her testimony, and Thomas denied the allegations.
  • Even though Biden ultimately voted against Thomas, who was confirmed to the nation’s high court, reports said he did little to defuse the intense questioning and temper in the room.

During the height of the #MeToo movement last year, Biden apologized for the way he handled the hearing:

  • He told Teen Vogue: “I believed Anita Hill. My one regret is that I wasn’t able to tone down the attacks on her by some of my Republican friends. I mean, they really went after her. As much as I tried to intervene I did not have the power to gavel them out of order.”
  • Biden also said he "owes her an apology.” His team told CNN on Monday that he and Hill have not talked.

Go deeper

47 mins ago - World

Sudan's military places civilian prime minister under house arrest

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok during a 2020 news conference in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sudan's civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was put under house arrest and several other ministers were also detained Monday in what appears to be a military coup in the country, per local reports.

Why it matters: The arrests of the civilian faction in the Sudanese government came a day after U.S. envoy Jeffrey Feltman met with the head of the military faction of the Sudanese government General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and warned him against staging a coup.

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Saudi dissident claims MBS said he could get "poison ring" to kill king

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attending the Saudi Green Initiative Forum, via video link, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Photo: Royal Court of Saudi Arabia/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A former senior Saudi intelligence official who worked with the U.S. on counterterrorism alleged to "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed in 2014 killing the kingdom's then-monarch.

Why it matters: The claim by the exiled Saad al-Jabri, whom Saudi authorities describe as "a discredited former government official," that the crown prince, known as "MBS," allegedly said he could obtain a "ring from Russia" to carry out the attack, is one of several serious but unproven allegations he made on the CBS show.