Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski were among 300 activists arrested after they stormed the atrium of a senate office building on Monday before staging a sit-down protest.
The demonstrators broke into the Hart Building, one of the Senate’s satellite offices, while calling upon senators to vote down the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.
Comedian Schumer and model Ratajkowski, who recently starred together in film I Feel Pretty, posed for the cameras as they were taken away by Capitol Hill police.
Meanwhile marchers organized by Women’s March and Planned Parenthood also gathered outside the Supreme Court to denounced Judge Kavanaugh.
Just four undeclared senators stand between Kavanaugh and a lifetime post on the Supreme Court, with a procedural vote due at 10.30am on Friday and a final vote potentially scheduled for Saturday.
Those senators are Republicans Jeff Flake (Arizona), Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and red state Democrat Joe Manchin (West Virginia).
Democrat Heidi Heitkamp had also indicated she might vote ‘yes’ on Kavanaugh on Thursday, before confirming that she would vote ‘no’.
As hundreds were taken away in quick cuffs and security was stepped up, Ratajkowski and Schumer – whose cousin is Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer – were among those taken into custody.
‘Today I was arrested protesting the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a man who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault,’ Ratajkskowki wrote on Instagram after her arrest.
The model continued: ‘Men who hurt women can no longer be placed in positions of power.’
She goes on to say that Kavanaugh being confirmed as a justice on the Supreme court is a message to women in the US that they do not matter.
Ratajkowski, 27, concluded: ‘I demand a government that acknowledges, respects and supports women as much as it does men.’
Schumer also took to Instagram after her arrest sharing snaps from the day and captioning them ‘This today, then #ERA’.
Amber Heard was another celebrity exercising her right to free speech as she was also in the nation’s capital.
She also took to social media to share a snap with the message: ‘Proud to be here with so many incredibly brave survivors and proud people who care about this nation in such an important time.’
She later added a photo of her holding the American flag and wrote: ‘Thank you to those brave enough to consider how we look at survivors when they come forward and to be strong enough to do so despite partisan politics #believesurvivors.’
As protesters gathered around a huge sculpture inside the Hart building, they cheered in unison: ‘Hey hey, ho ho, Kavanaugh has got to go!’
The Women’s March, Planned Parenthood, the Center for Popular Democracy Action, organized a demonstration outside the high court that drew Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, both potential presidential candidates.
They joined ‘to keep anti-woman, attempted rapists off the nation’s highest court,’ according to a Women’s March statement.
Capitol Police said in a statement: ‘At approximately 3:30 p.m., 293 individuals were arrested for unlawfully demonstrating in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. All were charged with D.C. Code §22-1307, Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding.
‘In addition, at approximately 5:20 p.m., United States Capitol Police officers responded to the fourth floor of the Dirksen Senate Office Building for reports of unlawful demonstration activities. Nine individuals were arrested and were charged with D.C. Code §22-1307, Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding.’
‘The individuals arrested are being processed on site and released. At this time, we are unable to confirm the names of those arrested due to the large number being processed,’ according to the statement.
The smaller group of arrests occurred outside the Senate office of Maine Republican Susan Collins. She is among a handful of final holdouts. Collins viewed the new FBI materials Thursday but made scarce comments to reporters.
The protesters were hoping to sway the vote in the closely-divided Senate, taking a cue from a dramatic moment last week when Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) jumped aboard a plan to allow for a one-week FBI background check of Kavanaugh after getting hounded in an elevator by two women who said they had been sexually assaulted.
Meanwhile a smaller group of protesters from Women for Kavanaugh gathered outside Flake’s office, chanting ‘confirm Brett’.
Sexual assault victims also related their stories on the steps of the Supreme Court and inside the senate office, with one even making her way into the main senate building where she spoke with Dianne Feinstein, who helped to question Kavanaugh.
After hearing how she was a multiple rape survivor, Feinstein shook her hand, then put her own hand on the woman’s cheek. The woman started crying, and simply said, ‘Thank you, thank you.’
The all-out push came amid a flurry of developments inside the Capitol.
The Senate was set to move to cut off debate on the Kavanaugh nomination on Friday, which would set up a weekend vote on the controversial nomination.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the Senate would come into session at 9:30 am, which would set up a likely 10:30 am vote.
That would set up a procedure for a final confirmation vote following a final 30 hours of debate.
But Montana Sen. Steve Daines could throw a wrench into the plans of Republican leaders.
Daines says he will attend his daughter’s wedding on Saturday in his home state, walking his daughter down the aisle when leaders might otherwise try to hold the vote. Daines has supported Kavanaugh and is a certain ‘yes.’
That means McConnell would need to assemble all 50 Republicans to move ahead, unless he can pick up a Democratic vote.
Without an assurance that they have the requisite 50 votes, they may have to further delay it. Vice President Mike Pence could break the tie if Republicans, who hold a 51-49 majority, reach 50 votes.
Daines tweeted late last month after his contentious hearing about sexual assault allegations: ‘Just got off the phone with Judge Kavanaugh. Very proud to share that the great people of Montana are standing behind him and I look forward to casting my vote to confirm him. #KavanaughConfirmation’.
President Donald Trump weighed in at a rally in Minnesota Thursday evening.
‘The judge is doing very well, don’t you think?’ Trump said.
North Dakota Democrat Sen Heidi Heitkamp announced Thursday she was a no vote. West Virginia Joe Manchin is considered the final Democratic holdout, and would not tip his hand Thursday.
In a secure basement room, individuals senators and staff reviewed the FBI documents summarizing interviews with nine people they interviewed for the additional probe.
Senate Republicans and Democrats engaged in angry clashes Thursday over the quickly completed investigation.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Thursday afternoon that the FBI report ‘did not corroborate any of the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh.’
He complained about the Democrats stalling for time, saying that ‘there’s no way anything we did would satisfy the Democrats. They’ve always got a reason why the goalposts have got to be moved farther down the field.’
‘They’re dug in,’ he claimed.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley scolded the press, saying that when reporters came to his office to interview protesters, they only sought to speak to activists who opposed Kavanaugh.
‘That’s a bias that none of you should be proud of!’ the normally calm Iowan boomed.
Grassley said Thursday that the Kavanaugh confirmation process had gone quickly downhill when Minority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged early on that ‘we’re going to do everything we can to stop this nomination.’
‘They just about destroyed a good person,’ he complained.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn insisted that at the conclusion of the FBI’s probe, ‘there has been no one to corroborate the allegations make by Dr. Ford or Ms. Ramirez,’ the second Kavanaugh accuser.
And Orrin Hatch, a committee Republican from Utah, blasted Democrats for putting Kavanaugh ‘through this type of a mess just because they are unhappy that Donald Trump had the right to appoint him.’
Senate Democrats said their fears had been realized after the FBI delivered documents to the chamber. They demanded everything be made public.
They fumed it was ‘limited’ and ‘incomplete’ and accused the White House of constraining agents from questioning both Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, whose own attorneys called it a ‘stain on the FBI.’
‘Republicans have already declared there wasn’t a ‘hint’ of misconduct’ documented by the FBI, said California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the committee’s ranking Democrat..
‘But based on our briefing and review of the documents, despite the obvious restrictions that were placed on the investigation, that is not true.’
After accessing the FBI report Thursday morning, several Democrats questioned the investigation’s thoroughness.
‘I read the FBI report. This whole thing is a sham. This stunted, strangled investigation was designed to provide cover, not to provide the truth,’ Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley told NBC News.
Democrats have repeatedly questioned why more witnesses weren’t interviewed by FBI agents, who were reported to have only spoke to nine people in their five-day review of allegations against Kavanaugh.
Democratic Sen. Ed Markey charged that the White House and Senate Republicans orchestrated a halfhearted FBI probe to protect Kavanaugh.
‘It’s obviously a cover-up,’ Markey told CNN. ‘The Trump White House, working with the Republican leadership in the Senate, have deliberately circumscribed this investigation.’
But Republicans shot back there was no witness list on their part and the FBI could interview whoever it pleased.
‘We did not come up with a list of people who the FBI should interview. The FBI was requested to conduct an investigation into any and all credible, current accusations of sexual misconduct by Judge Kavanaugh and the FBI made the decision as to who to interview,’ said GOP Sen. Mike Lee.
The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary, Dianne Feinstein, voiced her own concern, as she went back to complaining about document production issues that dominated Kavanaugh’s initial confirmation hearing weeks ago.
‘It looks to be a product of an incomplete investigation that was limited, perhaps by the White House, I don’t know,’ Feinstein complained. ‘But the White House certainly blocked access to millions of documents from Judge Kavanaugh’s record, I know that,’ she said.
‘What I can say is that the most notable part of this report is what’s not in it. As we noted by the White House, the FBI did not interview Brett Kavanaugh, nor did the FBI interview Dr. Blasey Ford,’ Feinstein continued.