The woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct during a 1980s high school party has accepted an invitation from the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify before the panel, according to a communication made public by the committee.
Debra Katz, the lawyer representing Christine Blasey Ford, said in an email to the committee that Ford “accepts the Committee’s request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct next week.”
After days of invitations and negotiations, the committee had set a deadline of 2:30 p.m. for a response. Barring that, Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley had said the committee would move forward with Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Grassley had earlier given Ford a deadline of 5 p.m. Friday, but then pushed it back until Saturday.
With all the extensions we give Dr Ford to decide if she still wants to testify to the Senate I feel like I’m playing 2nd trombone in the judiciary orchestra and Schumer is the conductor
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) September 22, 2018
Katz, however, insisted that her client was being treated unfairly by having deadlines imposed.
“The imposition of aggressive and artificial deadlines regarding the date and conditions of any hearing has created tremendous and unwarranted anxiety and stress on Dr. Ford,” Katz wrote. “Your cavalier treatment of a sexual assault survivor who has been doing her best to cooperate with the Committee is completely inappropriate.”
The testimony is not a sure thing, however,
Katz said “many aspects of the proposal you provided … are fundamentally inconsistent with the Committee’s promise of a fair, impartial investigation into her allegations,” Fox News reported.
The email also said that “we are disappointed with the leaks and the bullying that have tainted the process, we are hopeful that we can reach agreement on details,” The Washington Post reported.
There was no official White House comment, but an unnamed source identified by The Post, Fox News and The Hill as a “senior White House official” offered essentially the same comment to all three sources.
“This is an ask to continue ‘negotiations’ without committing to anything,” the official said. “It’s a clever way to push off the vote Monday without committing to appear Wednesday.”
Fox News reported that Katz wanted a Thursday hearing. The committee had sought a hearing on Wednesday.
The inconclusive nature of the acceptance was commented upon by Utah Republican Orrin Hatch, who tweeted that “this is exactly where we were on Monday morning— without agreeing to a date, time, and terms.”
Worth noting that this is exactly where we were on Monday morning— without agreeing to a date, time, and terms we are no closer to hearing from Dr Ford then we were when her lawyers said Dr. Ford was willing to testify during their media tour
6 days agohttps://t.co/KUEKdeRegR
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) September 22, 2018
ABC reported that another sticking point in the discussions is that Ford’s lawyer does not want an outside counsel questioning Ford. Senate Republicans had been considering whether an outside counsel should be hired to question her.
Ford has claimed that Kavanaugh, while drunk, acted inappropriately during a party in the early 1980s, when both were in high school. She has claimed she was briefly kept in a bedroom against her will, and that Kavanaugh tried to take off her clothes and climb on top of her.
Kavanaugh has denied the incident ever happened.
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