Kavanaugh, accuser to testify publicly next Monday
by Harvest Prude & Mickey McLean
Posted 9/17/18, 06:53 pm
UPDATE: Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, announced Monday evening that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing next Monday with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing him of sexual assault when they were teens. The committee chairman had attempted to have the panel’s staff conduct phone interviews with the two, but Democrats, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and the ranking Democrat on the committee, Dianne Feinstein of California, objected, demanding the FBI investigate the accusation. Grassley said Monday’s public hearing will “give these recent allegations a full airing” and that “anyone who comes forward” as Ford has done “deserves to be heard.”
Kavanaugh denies he assaulted the woman, and the White House said he “looks forward to a hearing where he can clear his name.”
UPDATE (6:25 p.m.): Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday that Republicans would “go by the book” in reviewing sexual assault accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with bipartisan interviews conducted by the Senate Judiciary Committee. McConnell added that he had great confidence in committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in conducting interviews with Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.
But Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Republicans on the Judiciary Committee could not be trusted to be impartial in their assessment, calling for a delay on the committee vote on the nominee so that an independent body like the FBI could investigate.
President Donald Trump admitted that “a little delay” on the committee vote may be necessary, but he added that he believed it would “work out very well.” The president said any call to have Kavanaugh withdraw was “ridiculous.”
OUR EARLIER REPORT (11:39 a.m.): WASHINGTON—The accusations of sexual misconduct that surfaced Friday against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are anonymous no longer after California professor Christine Blasey Ford came forward Sunday. In an interview with The Washington Post, Ford claimed that in the early 1980s, when she was 15, a 17-year-old Kavanaugh and his classmate Mark Judge trapped her in a bedroom at a house party. Ford said Kavanaugh, whom she believed to be intoxicated, pinned her to a bed, tried to grope her, and put his hand over her mouth when she tried to call for help. Ford said she was able to escape when Judge jumped on them and knocked them off the bed.
Kavanaugh denied the accusation Friday, and on Monday morning released another statement saying he is willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee to “defend his integrity,” adding, “This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what this accuser describes—to her or to anyone. Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday.” Judge also denied any recollection of the event.
Ford said she first spoke about the incident to a therapist in 2012, and the Post obtained the therapist’s notes, which mention four boys from a private school attacking her but do not name Kavanaugh. Ford said the discrepancy in the number of boys was an error from the therapist. Attorney Debra Katz, who works with #MeToo victims, represents Ford.
Last week, Republican members of the Judiciary Committee criticized Democrats for sitting on the letter since July. Ranking Democratic committee member Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California received the letter then but didn’t do anything, saying Ford “strongly requested confidentiality.” After reports began to circulate about it, the senator sent the letter to the FBI on Thursday.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is working with Feinstein to schedule calls with both Kavanaugh and Ford, and Grassley may suspend the committee’s scheduled vote Thursday on the nomination.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., told the Post he did not think the committee should move forward until it heard from Ford herself. Flake is a critical vote in the 11-10 Republican majority on the committee, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., could fast-track a Senate floor vote and bypass the committee vote altogether. Several Republicans crucial to the confirmation, including Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Bob Corker of Tennessee, said the vote should be postponed.
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.
Mickey is executive editor of WORLD Digital.