Showdown between Kavanaugh, accuser scheduled for next week

Frederick Owens
September 19, 2018

In a major twist to his confirmation saga, attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers in the 1980s, said their client was not prepared to testify in a public hearing offered by Republicans unless the FBI first investigates her allegations. Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday.

Underscoring the raw political divisions prompted by the Kavanaugh fight, Feinstein said she'd only learned of the hearing on Twitter. Monday's planned hearing seems to be following a similar pattern.

Through her attorney, Blasey Ford has said she is willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee but first wants the FBI to investigate the matter to help ensure all the facts have been vetted.

During his hearings, allegations from a former colleague, law school professor Anita Hill, surfaced accusing him of repeated sexual harassment when they worked together.

Democrats would argue that other witnesses could provide context, verify or refute parts of the stories that either person tells.

Earlier on Tuesday, Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the committee's Republicans, said the panel would vote on the nomination next week whether or not Ford testified.

He said the committee offered her "the opportunity to share her story" in a public or a private hearing, or staff interviews, "whichever makes her most comfortable".

President Trump did not refer to Kavanaugh's accuser by name, just calling her "the woman". The delay makes it increasingly hard for Kavanaugh to win approval by October 1, when the new session of the Supreme Court begins. "We were looking for a way to get it investigated by an outside investigator and what we found is we had to go through (the rules committee) and we were discussing the pros and cons of doing that, so it hasn't been easy".

The Times' source added that Ford has also received supportive messages after giving her account of the alleged incident: "Ninety percent of people think she's a hero and are extremely supportive of her, and 10 percent want her to die immediately", the person told the newspaper.

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Grassley sees no reason to delay a hearing further. "But I can only say this, he is such an outstanding man". "I don't remember any of that stuff going on with girls".

Democratic senators had urged Grassley to invite Judge to testify.

Senate Majority Whip Sen. Republicans said late Tuesday they were considering hiring outside attorneys, presumably including women, to question the witnesses.

"You're raising legitimate questions that are still on our mind", Grassley said, "and so these details are still being worked out".

Last week, the US President's candidate said he "categorically and unequivocally" denies the allegations. Republicans have charged Democrats with attempting to stymie the confirmation until after the November midterm elections, and with weaponizing Ford's allegation to achieve that political end. Patty Murray, D-Wash., assistant Senate minority leader, speaking about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Then again, this new allegation has already cast a massive shadow over Kavanaugh's nomination.

"They've given it a lot of time, they will continue to give it a lot of time, and really, it's up to the Senate", he said.

President Trump took questions on his embattled Supreme Court nominee Wednesday, as he left the White House en route to North Carolina and SC to survey Hurricane Florence damage.

Politico reported on Tuesday that Bush said he and his wife, Laura, "have known and respected Brett Kavanaugh for decades". The committee announced on Monday it would hold a public hearing next week for Kavanaugh and Ford.

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