WASHINGTON – Tensions are high but civility is low on Capitol Hill ahead of this weekend's vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, leading to increased security throughout Capitol Hill.
Swing senators like Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AL) now require police escorts to protect them from being heckled by protesters, as well as the media.
"You guys do, like, invade my comfort zone," Murkowski told reporters this week. "It's intense!"
Areas the media and public typically walk through with ease have been blocked these past few days after multiple incidents of protesters accosting lawmakers in the hallways and elevators. Demonstrators have also taken over senators' offices and sent rude and often harassing messages to staff members.
The bitter back and forth on the Hill led Sen. Rand Paul's (R-KY) wife, Kelley, to write an open letter to Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) calling on him to retract statements he made in July urging constituents to "get up in the face of some congresspeople" – words she says incite violence.
"Perhaps he didn't mean it so literally, but unfortunately, I think there are a lot of people out there who are very angry and maybe unstable and they take those kinds of words and maybe take it to next level," Mrs. Paul told CBN News.
She noted that in the past 18 months, her family has experienced violence at a "horrifying" level – starting with the shooting at her husband's congressional baseball practice and the assault that landed him in the hospital with broken ribs and lung damage. The Pauls were also one of many Senate families whose home address and personal information were recently posted online.
"Once you get to the point of releasing personal addresses of members of Congress and their personal phone numbers for the purpose of intimidating them and their families, I think we're crossing a line to a really dangerous and disturbing chapter," continued Mrs. Paul.
She says in the past three months, things have felt a lot worse and it's hard for her to watch and hear stories of senators and their spouses being harassed in public, like Ted and Heidi Cruz.
"Those people were up in their face waving their middle fingers and just jabbing their middle fingers in their face and saying horrible things to them. It's really aggressive; it's violent; it's an assault," said Mrs. Paul. "That is the opposite of making your views known."
In the midst of this chaos, groups are coming to the Capitol to pray.
"I don't think we have to pray perfectly; we just have to pray," says evangelist and author Dutch Sheets. "If we show up, God will do the rest."
And while over 300 protesters were being arrested on Thursday, supporters and friends of Judge Kavanaugh's were visiting key senators' offices to talk to them about why they believe the allegations against him are false.
Ginger Loper, a friend of the Kavanaugh family for over 20 years, tells CBN News the Kavanaughs are relying on their faith to get them through this.
"They know that God is walking side by side with them right now and He is very present throughout all of this," said Loper. "They have an unshakeable faith; they know that no matter what happens tomorrow with this vote, they're going to be fine."