Kavanaugh accuser says she will testify
Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford accept Senate Judiciary Committee’s offer to air her sexual assault allegation.
Lawyers WASHINGTON — for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, said Saturday that she has accepted the Senate Judiciary Committee’s request to testify about her allegation next week.
In an email sent to the committee at 2:17 p.m. Saturday, attorneys Debra Katz and Lisa Banks asked staff for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, to set up a phone conversation later Saturday to work out specifics.
“Dr. Ford accepts the Committee’s request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct next week,” the lawyers wrote to the committee. “Although many aspects of the proposal you provided via email, on (Friday) are fundamentally inconsistent with the Committee’s promise of a fair, impartial investigation into her allegations, and we are disappointed with the leaks and the bullying that have tainted the process, we are hopeful that we can reach agreement on details.”
The email doesn’t specifically say whether Ford has agreed to appear on Wednesday, but that was the most recent offer that Grassley had made to her attorneys. Aides to Grassley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
If a final agreement on the details of the hearing is reached, that would set the stage for a dramatic, searing confrontation next week. Kavanaugh has categorically denied Ford’s allegation and says he wants to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the matter, and the committee and Ford’s lawyers had been embroiled in contentious negotiations over the conditions of her testimony until Saturday afternoon.
Republicans said they would accommodate several of Ford’s requests, including ensuring that she had adequate security at the Capitol and that Kavanaugh would not be in the room when she speaks. But the GOP also declined her other asks, including that Kavanaugh testify first and that the committee subpoena Mark Judge, a Kavanaugh friend who Ford says was present during the alleged incident and call other potential witnesses to the hearing.
The Republican-led committee had also offered a Wednesday hearing, rather than Thursday as Ford had asked for, and they wanted to reserve the option of having female staff attorneys on the committee do the questioning, even while Ford said she would rather be questioned by senators.
As the back-and-forth continued late Friday and into Saturday, Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee began to grow weary of the extended talks. Grassley lamented in a tweet late Friday night that with all the deadline extensions, he felt like he was playing “2nd trombone in the judiciary orchestra” and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., was the conductor.
Republican senators had just about reached the limits of their patience by Saturday, according to one, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly describe the mood. Senate GOP leaders have argued that they have been very accommodating to Ford’s requests, while Democrats say Republicans have bullied Ford with unreasonable deadlines.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence joined the chorus of renewed Republican support for Kavanaugh on Saturday, telling a crowd of around 2,000 conservative activists at the Values Voters Summit that Kavanaugh “is a man of integrity, with impeccable credentials and a proven judicial philosophy” and that he would soon be confirmed.
Pence then took aim at the conduct of Democratic senators during the confirmation process, describing it as “a disgrace and a disservice to the Senate and the American people.”
And a temporary communications adviser to Grassley during the Supreme Court confirmation fight has abruptly resigned after an accusation of sexual harassment — an allegation he denies.
Garrett Ventry submitted his resignation Friday night, he said in a brief phone interview Saturday morning. He said he denies the allegation but stepped down “in order to not be a distraction” as Senate Republicans continue to work to get Kavanaugh confirmed.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has strenuously denied allegations by Christine Blasey Ford that he sexually assaulted her at a drunken party while both were teenagers in high school.
Christine Blasey Ford