Senate GOP to Prof Ford: Take It Or Leave It

Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) hold a news conference about Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill August 2, 2018 in Washington, DC. Republicans on the committee claim that Senate Democrats are attempting to slow or stall Kavanaugh's confirmation with demands to see emails and other records relating to KavanaughÕs time as staff secretary to former President George W. Bush.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America

I want to flag your attention to something that may have been lost in this afternoon’s rush of events and statements. Yesterday Chairman Grassley, head of the committee that oversees the confirmation process, announced that a quickie hearing would be held Monday with only two witnesses: Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. He also seemed to imply that both would be there, even though he’d only spoken to Kavanaugh and had yet to make contact with Ford.

Democrats want other witnesses at the hearing and they want some preliminary fact-finding before the hearing. Both of these claims have a strong logic behind them. There is an alleged witness and accomplice, Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge. If the effort is to find out what happened, doing some basic investigation makes sense. It is also fair to note that Democrats have a strong political interest in slowing the process down.

But I want to note what appears to be clearly a unified strategy among Republican Senators to put the onus on Professor Ford personally and blame her if the hearing doesn’t happen. They’ve unilaterally announced a process and are now arguing that Ford is at fault if she doesn’t agree. Look at the specific wording.

Read these quotes, which clearly come from a pre-arranged agreement.

Mitch McConnell said Ford will have “the opportunity to be heard.”

Sen. Grassley’s spokesperson: “Our staff reached out to Dr. Ford’s lawyer with multiple emails yesterday to schedule a similar call and inform her of the upcoming hearing, where she will have the opportunity to share her story with the Committee. Her lawyer has not yet responded.”

Sens Collins and Cornyn are referring to Ford’s non-response so far.

Sen. Collins: “That’s very puzzling to me…I really hope that she doesn’t pass up that opportunity.”

Sen. Cornyn: “That’s pretty telling, she hasn’t responded to the committee’s normal processes and we don’t know if she’s coming or not but this is her chance. This is her one chance. We hope she does.”

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