The Senate Judiciary Committee has called Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Kavanaugh of a decades-old sexual assault, to testify about the allegation at a hearing on Monday. The decision to hold the hearing means the committee’s vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination that was initially scheduled for Thursday is being delayed.
The hearing will be public and televised.
“Obviously, if Judge Kavanaugh has lied about what happened, that would be disqualifying,” Republican Sen. Susan Collins said, according to The New York Times. “For my part, I believe that it’s very important that both Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh testify under oath about these allegations. I need to see them and listen to their answers to the questions in order to make an assessment.”
Ford alleged that 17-year-old Kavanaugh drunkenly held her down in a bedroom at a high school party, tried to take off her clothes and put his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream.
She also claimed that Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge witnessed what happened.
Kavanaugh has vehemently denied that the incident ever occurred.
“This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes — to her or to anyone,” Kavanaugh said in a statement. “Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making the accusation until she identified herself yesterday.”
Judge also said the incident never happened.
“It’s just absolutely nuts,” Judge told The Weekly Standard. “I never saw Brett act that way.”
Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, who had initially scheduled a vote on Thursday that would have moved Kavanaugh one step closer to confirmation, said Monday’s hearing could fall through if Ford does not attend, Fox News reported.
“We have reached out to her in the last 36 hours three or four times by email and we have not heard from them, and it kind of raises the question, do they want to come to the public hearing or not?” Grassley said Tuesday on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.”
Asked if the hearing would go ahead without Ford, Grassley said he wouldn’t see the point.
“What would be the purpose of the hearing if Dr. Ford doesn’t want to respond?” he said.
The timing of the Democrats’ push of Kavanaugh’s accuser has been a target of GOP criticism.
“If they believe Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser, why didn’t they surface this information earlier so that he could be questioned about it?” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “And if they didn’t believe her and chose to withhold the information, why did they decide at the 11th hour to release it?”
California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who received Ford’s letter detailing the accusations in July, attacked Grassley’s decision to limit the hearing to Ford and Kavanaugh, saying that the committee needed a full FBI investigation.
She also noted that when the Senate investigated claims of harassment by Anita Hill against Justice Clarence Thomas, 22 witnesses spoke.
“In 1991, five days after Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment became public against her wishes, the Judiciary Committee held three days of controversial hearings. Now, just one week after Christine Blasey Ford shared her story, Republicans want to repeat past mistakes, rushing the process to hold a hearing,” Feinstein said in a statement, according to NBC.
Republicans have learned nothing from Anita Hill. President Bush asked the FBI to do its job and investigate Hill’s allegations, which it did. Now, under the Trump administration, Republicans want to do even less by blocking any investigation into Dr. Blasey Ford’s allegations.
— Senator Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) September 18, 2018
However, Republicans have argued that Democrats are subverting the process by using the accusation as a last-minute gimmick to block Kavanaugh.
“Reminder that NONE of this was necessary had these accusations been given to the FBI 6 weeks ago for an apolitical investigation out of public eye,” Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch tweeted. “But because Republicans and Kavanaugh himself first heard them in the media there really was no alternative.”
Reminder that NONE of this was necessary had these accusations been given to the FBI 6 weeks ago for an apolitical investigation out of public eye
But because Republicans and Kavanaugh himself first heard them in the media there really was no alternativehttps://t.co/T9wBn61d8L
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) September 18, 2018
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