The big news of the day on Monday was that Christine Blasey Ford — who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually molesting her — was invited to testify in an open hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee next Monday.
The committee’s chairman, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, had earlier vowed to hold a vote on Kavanaugh on Thursday as scheduled, but that deadline was pushed back to allow Ford to tell her story. But it’s unclear if the California-based college professor will appear, Fox News reports.
“Fox News is told that the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday night reached out to Ford’s lawyers to invite her to next Monday’s open hearing to discuss her allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but she has not responded yet,” Fox wrote.
During television appearances on Monday, Ford’s attorney, Debra Katz, indicated her client was “willing to take whatever it takes to get her story forth,” and would testify before the committee under oath. But Katz has not confirmed that Ford will show up for Monday’s open hearing, which would be aired live on television.
Speculation about whether Ford will ultimately accept the invitation follows reports she was reluctant to go public with her accusation after tipping off congressional Democrats. Grassley, announcing the Monday hearing, said it would “give these recent allegations a full airing.”
Grassley said on the “Hugh Hewitt Show” that that have not heard back from Ford or her lawyers.
“We have reached out to her in the last 36 hours three of four times by email, and we’ve not heard from them, so it kind of raises the question do they want to, do they want to come to the public hearing or not? And the reason we’re having the public hearing is obviously, well, number one is accusations like this deserve consideration and looking into, and that’s what the purpose of the hearing is.
“And we wouldn’t be having this hearing if it wasn’t for the fact that Dr. Ford told the Washington Post and other people publicly that she wanted to testify. And we also have Judge Kavanaugh. Even before we requested him to testify, he said he was willing to testify. As of Sunday night, I had that message. So we still haven’t heard from Dr. Ford. So do they want to have the hearing or not? We’re delaying the vote, strictly, to get all the facts out on the table,” Grassley said.
Meanwhile, a White House spokesman, Raj Shah, said that President Trump’s nominee for the high court is willing to appear again before the committee.
“Judge Kavanaugh looks forward to a hearing where he can clear his name of this false allegation. He stands ready to testify tomorrow if the Senate is ready to hear him,” Shah said.
For his part, Trump sounded supportive of a delayed vote so the matter can be evaluated. “At the same time, we want to go through a process, we want to make sure everything is perfect, everything is just right,” Trump said Monday. “I wish the Democrats could have done this a lot sooner because they had this information for many months and they shouldn’t have waited until literally the last days, they should have done it a lot sooner.”
“But with all of that being said, we want to go through the process,” Trump added. “One thing I will say is that, as I understand it, Judge Kavanaugh spent quite a bit of time with Senator [Diane] Feinstein and it wasn’t even brought up at that meeting, and she had this information. So you would have thought, certainly, that she would have brought it up at the meeting, not wait until everything’s finished and then have to start a process all over again … “
“If it takes a little delay it’ll take a little delay,” Trump said. “It shouldn’t certainly be very much.”
Ford claims that Kavanaugh trapped her in a bedroom during a high school party in the 1980s, pinned her on a bed and tried to undress her. Kavanaugh, 53, denies the accusation, saying in a statement Monday that he wanted to “refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity.”
“This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes — to her or to anyone,” Kavanaugh said. “Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making the accusation until she identified herself yesterday.”
Katz, Ford’s lawyer, said Monday it is not her client’s duty to corroborate her claims. “That’s not her job to do that. If this is going to be investigated, it should be done by investigators,” Katz said on CNN.
Said Grassley: We’re talking about, you understand we’re talking about 35 years ago. I’d hate to ask, have somebody ask me what I did 35 years ago. And I think I look at it this way. Accusers deserve to be heard. And after they’re heard, we also have a responsibility to hear Judge Kavanaugh. And I want to hear from Dr. Ford. And she deserves to be heard, because these are serious accusations. And I would surely hope she’d come Monday, I mean, after all, read all the detail she put in the Washington Post. She surely prepared. She hired a lawyer, I understand, back in August. Why, why would you hire an lawyer back in August? Anyway.”