Published: Wed, September 19, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Hearing With Kavanaugh And Accuser Alleging Sexual Assault In Turmoil

Hearing With Kavanaugh And Accuser Alleging Sexual Assault In Turmoil

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee members had been scheduled to vote on Thursday on the federal judge's nomination to the Supreme Court, but that changed after allegations from Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh tried to sexually assault her while they were high school students. Kavanaugh is now a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, widely viewed as the nation's second-most-powerful court. They say the hearing should not move forward until that investigation is completed.

Once nominated, high-court nominees customarily make pro forma rounds of Senate offices and then retreat beyond public view, to be drilled by tough-minded interrogators preparing them for searing Judiciary Committee hearings and last-minute vulnerabilities.

Republicans have accused Feinstein of concealing details of Ford's accusation for several months after it was sent to her office in July.

Senators including Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas have suggested that her opportunity to speak with the Judiciary Committee does not necessarily need to take place in an open setting.

He also defended longtime pal Kavanaugh, saying: 'I never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford described'. "I don't know about the other party, but Judge Kavanaugh is very anxious to do it".

As the Judiciary Committee has recognized and done before, an FBI investigation of the incident should be the first step in addressing her allegations.

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But his criticism on the Kavanaugh issue, made in statements, interviews and even a fundraising appeal, doesn't come without risk.

The development comes as President Donald Trump showered sympathy on his embattled Supreme Court nominee and as Senate Republicans and Democrats fought determinedly over who should testify at a high-stakes hearing on the allegation just six weeks before major congressional elections.

Her attorney, Debra Katz, told CNN on Monday morning that Ford would be willing to testify before Congress and stood by her story in the face of expected push-back. And most did not respond to a request for comment.

The Justice Department said in a statement late Monday that the accusation against Kavanaugh "does not involve any potential federal crime". Republicans were eager to avoid images of Ford facing tough questioning from the all-male Republican membership of the Senate panel.

Christine Ford and Brett Kavanaugh.

Democrats have rejected the GOP process and are refusing to participate in any committee phone interviews. Democrats are demanding a thorough investigation by the FBI, because these allegations are new. Richard Blumenthal of CT, said staging the hearing without the FBI investigation would make it a "sham". Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), briefed fellow Democrats last Wednesday, but Blasey Ford's identify was not known until Sunday, when she shared her story with the Washington Post.

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Capito said through her spokesman that both Ford and Kavanaugh should be given a chance to share their accounts publicly with the Judiciary Committee.

The confirmation fight comes just weeks before the November 6 congressional elections in which Democrats are seeking to take control of Congress from Trump's party, which could be a major blow to the president's agenda. "This is what they did to Anita Hill".

Cornyn said Senate Republicans used a closed-door meeting Monday to agree to the public hearing.

Grassley offered his assurance that Ford would be treated respectfully and not badgered during the hearing. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

According to Bloomberg News, who spoke to a White House official, President Trump's team will continue forward with the nomination, refusing to pull Kavanaugh's name from the nomination, and instead they will try to attack the credibility of the alleged victim.

"It would be unjust and foolhardy to think of any Plan B until this matter is completely resolved", the source said.

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