Kavanaugh Accuser's Lawyer Says Republicans Are Acting Unfairly
(Bloomberg) -- A lawyer for the woman who accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault said Senate Republicans are acting unfairly by forging ahead with a hearing on Monday without looking at other potential witnesses.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley is sticking with his plan to hold the hearing and gave accuser Christine Blasey Ford until Friday morning to submit written testimony. He has refused to expand the witness list beyond Kavanaugh and Ford, or to ask for an FBI investigation of the woman’s claims.
"The committee’s stated plan to move forward with a hearing that has only two witnesses is not a fair or good faith investigation," Ford attorney Lisa Banks said in a statement. "There are multiple witnesses whose names have appeared publicly and should be included in any proceeding. The rush to a hearing is unnecessary and contrary to the committee discovering the truth."
The continued disputes over terms of a high-stakes hearing suggest that Republicans are preparing to muscle the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s second high court pick through the chamber in coming days. Neither Grassley nor Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated any interest in getting testimony from Ford at any point after Monday.
Grassley, an Iowa Republican, sent a letter to committee Democrats on Wednesday again rejecting their calls to delay the hearing or seek an FBI investigation.
“There has been delay and obstruction of this process at every turn and with every argument available,” he wrote. “Therefore, I will view any additional complaints about the process very skeptically.”
Grassley also asked the Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein of California, to give him an unredacted copy of the July 30 letter in which Ford, a California college professor, originally made the allegation.
It wasn’t immediately clear what information Grassley is seeking. The version that was made public redacts the identity of the other person Ford says was in the room during the attack, who has since been publicly identified. Also redacted was some information about Ford.
Late Tuesday, Banks and lawyer Debra Katz said Ford wants the FBI to investigate her claims before she appears at a Senate hearing. The new statement didn’t mention the FBI.
Grassley wrote to Ford’s lawyers Wednesday that it’s up to the Senate to investigate, not the FBI, and that the invitation for Ford to testify Monday still stands. He didn’t say whether the hearing will be held Monday with only Kavanaugh if Ford decides not to testify, or whether the panel would vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination without hearing her testimony.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump said he wants to hear from Ford.
"If she doesn’t show up, that would be unfortunate," the president told reporters. "If she shows up and makes a credible showing, that’ll be very interesting, and we’ll have to make a decision."
Trump reiterated his defense of Kavanaugh, who strongly denies the allegation, saying, "He is such an outstanding man, very hard for me to imagine that anything happened."
Republicans want the Senate to confirm Kavanaugh before the Supreme Court begins its new term Oct. 1. Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said they see no reason to wait beyond Monday for Ford’s testimony, and that they want the Senate to vote next week.
Moderate Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Jeff Flake of Arizona urged Ford to reconsider and agree to testify under the committee’s terms.
"I now implore Dr. Ford to accept the invitation for Monday, in a public or private setting," Flake wrote on Twitter Tuesday night.