GOP pushing forward for Kavanaugh, accuser wants 'fairness'

Minnie Murray
September 25, 2018

Christine Ford, the California professor accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday that she "would be prepared to testify next week" - apparently dropping her bid for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to first launch a new inquiry.

Ford "accepts the committee's request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh's sexual misconduct next week", said a message from her lawyers to the Senate Judiciary Committee, US media reported.

Banks added that Ford has been "thrust into the spotlight" and isn't able to go home because she's receiving threats to her and her family's safety.

Ms Ford has said she wants the FBI to investigate her claim that Mr Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party in the 1980s.

"The committee's stated plan to move forward with a hearing that has only two witnesses is not a fair or good-faith investigation; there are multiple witnesses whose names have appeared publicly and should be included in any proceeding, " the lawyer, Lisa Banks, said in a statement. Those demands have been backed by Democrats but dismissed by top Republicans.

Senior Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas told CNN: "If she doesn't want to participate and tell her story, there's no reason for us to delay". The Senate must confirm Supreme Court nominees.

But Grassley rejected Ford's request that the FBI investigate her charges before any hearing and made clear he would not postpone the hearing past Monday. And that is bad news for Kavanaugh's chances at confirmation. That echoed Democrats' effort to broaden the nomination fight into a referendum on whether women who allege abuse are taken seriously by men - a theme that could echo in this November's elections for control of Congress. Rather than making any attempt to handle this charge made by Dr. Ford, and afford her the right to be heard, Feinstein chose to sit on the letter until after Judge Kavanaugh's hearings.

President Donald Trump's Republican Party has a challenge to maintain control of Congress in November's mid-term elections | AFP
President Donald Trump's Republican Party has a challenge to maintain control of Congress in November's mid-term elections | AFP

The incident allegedly happened at a gathering of teenagers at a house, when Mr Kavanaugh and a friend allegedly "corralled" her into a bedroom. "I did not do this back in high school or at any time", Kavanaugh said in a statement.

The Senate is narrowly controlled by Republicans, who have embraced the idea of a quick vote on Kavanaugh's nomination if Ford does not to testify. "But I think also the evidence points very clearly to the fact that it was not Brett Kavanaugh".

"Judge Kavanaugh has not asked to have the FBI investigate these claims".

Last week, after accuser Christine Blasey Ford said she would be willing to testify, Conway expressed her support, telling Fox News that "this woman should not be insulted and she should not be ignored".

It is possible Ford will be open to testifying sometime next week about the allegation, though the conditions under which she would do so have not yet been determined.

Responding on Twitter to Democratic criticism, the Judiciary Committee defended Grassley's approach and described how its staff members had contacted four people alleged to have been present at the house where the alleged incident occurred.

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