GOP says time is running out for accuser to testify - USA

Hugh Fox
September 21, 2018

Kavanaugh has issued a short statement "categorically and unequivocally" denying the allegation.

A handful of pivotal senators have yet to disclose how they will ultimately vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation, including Republican Senators Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. As Senator Hatch noted in 1991 when the FBI conducted an investigation into Anita Hill's allegations: "When they heard about this the first time, they immediately ordered the FBI investigation, which was the very right thing to do".

Ford is willing to tell her story to the Judiciary Committee, whose senators will vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation - but only if agreement can be reached on "terms that are fair and which ensure her safety", the attorney said in an email earlier Thursday.

With Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination dangling in the balance, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said his panel still planned a Monday morning hearing that Mr Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford were invited to attend.

It also says: "Her preference continues to be" however "a full investigation prior to her testimony". The FBI has said it is not investigating the matter, a decision backed by Republicans.

Collins, who is not a member of the Judiciary Committee, contradicted Grassley, saying "if we need additional help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation we could ask for it-the committee could ask for it".

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Grassley's office didn't immediately respond on Thursday to queries on whether he'll agree to a delay, hold the hearing on Monday without Ford, or cancel it. The committee also set a Monday hearing that requests Ford and Kavanaugh to testify publicly.

"Both of them need to testify under oath next Monday before the Judiciary Committee", Collins said. "The rush to a hearing is unnecessary".

Christine Blasey Ford came out publicly as the woman who made the allegations in a September 16 story in The Washington Post. Feinstein chose not to make the letter public because Ford wanted her identity kept confidential, and Feinstein has said that was her priority.

Mr Trump told reporters, "I can only say this: He is such an outstanding man". "If she shows up that would be wonderful". "Fairness and respect dictate that she should have time to deal with this". Republicans are unlikely to agree to calling witnesses aside from Ford and Kavanaugh.

Katz's email says that Ford "has been receiving death threats", and that "she and her family have been forced out of their home" after her identity was revealed over the weekend.

"It's tricky, perilous business", said Democratic strategist Jim Manley, a former Senate aide who handled Senate Judiciary confirmations.

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Many wore buttons stating "I believe Dr Christine Blasey Ford".

The Democrats, all of whom served as prosecutors or state attorneys general, noted that President George H.W. Bush asked the FBI to investigate after Hill raised allegations against Thomas.

NBC News, citing a person involved in the confirmation process, reported that Kavanaugh was preparing for the hearing at the White House on Tuesday with coaching from senior officials including press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House counsel Don McGahn.

The accusation has jarred the 53-year-old conservative jurist's prospects for winning confirmation, which until Ford's emergence last week had seemed all but certain. The GOP controls the Senate 51-49, meaning two defections in the party would defeat Kavanaugh if all Democrats vote no.

He added that stories like Ford's "were rampant at that high school - I was not referring to her story specifically".

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