GOP Draws Line In The Sand For Blasey Ford: Monday Hearing Or Bust

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Senate Republicans Tuesday night and Wednesday morning showed they were unwilling to negotiate the terms of the public hearing next Monday to which they invited Christine Blasey Ford, the professor who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

With the risk that further delay could imperil the Kavanaugh nomination, GOP senators fought to make Monday the drop-dead deadline for addressing the Blasey Ford accusation, insisting that it’s time to move on with or without her testimony.

Tuesday night, Blasey Ford’s attorneys sent the Senate Judiciary Committee a letter asking for a FBI investigation into her allegations before she testified in front of the committee. GOP senators responded by suggesting that Blasey Ford’s one option was to appear next Monday at the hearing, where Kavanaugh would also testify, and that she was turning down their “good faith” offer to hear her out.

“We’ve offered Dr. Ford the opportunity to share her story with the committee, as her attorney said yesterday she was willing to do. We offered her a public or a private hearing as well as staff-led interviews, whichever makes her most comfortable. The invitation for Monday still stands,” Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said in a statement Tuesday night. “Dr. Ford’s testimony would reflect her personal knowledge and memory of events. Nothing the FBI or any other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee, so there is no reason for any further delay.”

President Trump, who could order an FBI background check investigation into the allegations, instead put the onus on Blasey Ford to testify.

“If she shows up, that would be wonderful. If she doesn’t show up, that would be unfortunate,” Trump told reporters Wednesday morning.

Even Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) — who, after Blasey Ford went public on Sunday, called for a pause in the confirmation process for her allegations to be heard —  urged her Tuesday night to simply “accept the invitation for Monday” for either a public or private hearing.

While noting on CNN that Blasey Ford also has the option of testifying privately next Monday, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) emphasized that she, through her lawyer, had asked for a public hearing earlier this week.

“Last night, I understand she changed her mind. But I think there’s a reasonable possibility she’ll change her mind, yet again,” Kennedy said, stressing that he’s prepared to attend the hearing Monday. “Now, if she doesn’t want to come, that’s her call. If she’s uncomfortable doing it in a public hearing, I think it would be a mistake. I think the American people need to hear from both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh and be able to judge for themselves.”

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