President Donald Trump said Wednesday the White House and Republican supporters of Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination would have to "make a decision" on going forward if the woman accusing him of a long-ago sexual assault delivers a compelling account to senators considering confirmation.
The woman, Christine Blasey Ford, a university professor in California, has said that Kavanaugh attacked her and tried to remove her clothing at a party when the two were high school students in Maryland. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations and Ford came forward publicly over the weekend.
Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat at the committee, said on Tuesday that the panel should respect Ford's wishes and thus delay the Monday hearing which she said is part of a "rushed" process. Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has figured out it would be a good idea to interview her in advance of Monday's hearings, but the staffers conducting the interview would be unlikely to have the ability or the will to follow up on investigative leads.
"Dr. Ford's lawyers refuse to respond to our invitations to participate", said Sen.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of ME, a key Senate vote on Kavanaugh's nomination, said it would be "puzzling" if Ford did not testify on Monday.
There's one key player we still haven't really heard from in the drama unfolding over the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh: Mark Judge.
Ford's husband Russell said that he recalled her mention of Kavanaugh by name.
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US Capitol Police said 56 protesters were arrested in Senate office buildings during demonstrations against Kavanaugh on Thursday. Numerous women, regardless of their politics, expressed personal empathy for Ford as she steps into a national firestorm.
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Democrats decried Republicans' plans to push ahead with the hearing without seeking a full FBI investigation. Earlier in the day some Republicans suggested that Ford's refusal to show up on Monday would raise questions about her credibility.
McConnell (R-Ky.) said at a news conference. Trump and other Republicans said they did not think the Federal Bureau of Investigation needed to be involved. And honestly, Whitehouse is the first Senator that I've heard who seriously admitted that this would be something that they would do - told that Democrats in general are waiting to see what will happen over the coming days.
He did not comment directly on Ms Ford's claim that a drunken Kavanaugh and one of his friends trapped her in a room and attempted to pull her clothes off at a high school party in 1982.
In another tweet Friday morning, Trump called Kavanaugh "a fine man", who he said is under assault "by radical left wing politicians who don't want to know the answers, they just want to destroy and delay".
Kavanaugh called the allegations against him "completely false", emphasizing that he is willing to clear his name in front of the United States lawmakers.
She said that since going public with her allegation in the Washington Post on Sunday, Prof Ford has been trying to work out where her family are going to sleep at night.
All that's certain at the moment is that a hearing is scheduled for Monday, and that both Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford have been invited and have expressed an openness to participating to publicly tell their side of the story. "Grassley requested it, they would do an investigation", said Leahy. "Monday is her opportunity".