The impassioned fight over whether to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has led to heightened security at the Capitol, the AP reports, with some senators using police escorts to shield them from protesters eager to confront them. Capitol police have arrested dozens of people in recent days for unlawfully demonstrating in Senate office buildings. Police have stepped up their presence in Capitol hallways, in some cases blocking news reporters and the public from approaching lawmakers. Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who is a key undecided vote on Kavanaugh, was escorted out of a hearing Wednesday by three police officers. She ignored questions from reporters. Police later threatened to clear a public hallway outside her office in the Dirksen Senate Office Building and physically blocked reporters from approaching Collins as she left the office to return to the Capitol for a vote.
A spokeswoman for Collins declined to comment on her security detail. The stepped-up police presence comes as senators—especially Republicans—have expressed unease over protesters who have confronted them at their Senate offices, restaurants, airports, and even their homes. Personal information about some lawmakers also has been released online. Capitol police said late Wednesday they had charged a former Senate staffer with posting private, identifying information about one or more senators on the internet. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a floor speech Wednesday that senators will not be intimidated out of doing their jobs. "There is no chance in the world they're going to scare us out of doing our duty," McConnell said. He said the Senate will be voting this week on Kavanaugh's nomination.
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