Sex attack accuser may testify against court nominee

Minnie Murray
September 22, 2018

A combination photo of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (Republican-Iowa) speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee markup meeting on Capitol Hill, on September 13, 2018, in Washington. He said if an agreement with Ford isn't reached by 10 p.m. Friday, the committee will move forward with a vote on Kavanaugh's nomination on Monday.

With Christine Ford's lawyers explaining that she needed more time to consider Grassley's counteroffer because she spent the day speaking with the Federal Bureau of Investigation about death threats she has received, Grassley replied via Twitter.

In a letter to the committee cited by CNN on Friday night, Ford's lawyer, Debra Katz, scolded the committee for taking what she called a "cavalier" attitude toward "a sexual assault survivor who has been doing her best to cooperate with the Committee". But with the slender 51-49 GOP majority and the unpredictability of how Ford and Kavanaugh would come across to millions of American voters should she agree to testify, his approval remains in question.

Earlier, Grassley had rejected proposals by Ford's attorneys that only senators interrogate Ford and that she testify after Kavanaugh testifies, not before.

Trump and the White House had been careful not to malign Ford after her allegations surfaced, but Trump dropped the restraint in his tweets on Friday. Kavanaugh, a District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals judge, has repeatedly denied the accusation.

He tweeted, "I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents".

US President Donald Trump ditched restraint today in the scandal threatening his Supreme Court nominee to attack the credibility of the woman accusing the would-be justice of sexual assault when they were teens.

As the Twitter wars were playing out, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, assured an audience of conservative Christians on Friday that Kavanaugh's confirmation would go through. "The host of that party added his name to this letter to the Judiciary Committee attesting to Kavanaugh's character".

The aggressive stance reflected Trump's fear that time is running out to get his hand-picked judge confirmed - thereby tilting the Supreme Court firmly to the right for years to come - before November elections when Republicans risk losing control of Congress.


"Republicans are turning a blind eye to her story".

It brought blistering rejoinders from Democrats and a mix of silence and sighs of regret from his own party.

Moderate GOP Senator Susan Collins of ME, whose vote is critical to Mr Kavanaugh's confirmation in a chamber controlled by Republicans 51-49, said Friday she was "appalled" by Mr Trump's tweet, the Portland Press Herald reported.

It was also the latest provocation - from a man who's faced a litany of sexual misconduct allegations himself - of moderate female voters whose support Republicans will need to fend off Democrats in the approaching midterm elections.

The judiciary panel's top Democrat expressed fury at Grassley's negotiating position with Ford and maintained Democrats' effort to build the battle into a larger election-year question about the treatment of women. Chuck Grassley (L) and ranking member Sen.

Grassley said he would schedule a hearing for Wednesday, rather than Thursday, as Ford prefers.

He also rebuffed other Ford requests, including calling additional witnesses. Ford, a 51-year-old California psychology professor, says an inebriated Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed, muffled her cries and tried removing her clothes when both were teenagers in the 1980s.

"I was appalled by the president's tweet", she told U.S. media.

According to her attorneys, Ford and her family were forced to leave their home because she's been the target of "vicious harassment and even death threats". "Our modest request is that she be given an additional day to make her decision".

"You watched the fight, you watched the tactics, but here is what I want to tell you - in the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court", McConnell told the Value Voters Summit, drawing a standing ovation.

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