Lawyer: Ford can testify next week if terms fair

Brett Kavanaugh during the confirmation hearings.  Reuters

Brett Kavanaugh during the confirmation hearings. Reuters

Christine Blasey Ford's offer to testify before the Senate next week - if she and Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans can agree to terms - sets up a potential showdown that could imperil what had been the nearly certain confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California, had been given until Friday morning to decide whether to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled on Monday. Panel chairman Chuck Grassley and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have said Monday would be her chance to testify.

Ford wants Kavanaugh to testify first and then she will tell her story to the committee, a committee staffer said.

Gillibrand, who has supported legislation on sexual assault and harassment in the military and in Congress, said she would not recommend that Ford testify without an FBI investigation.

Lisa Banks, a Ford attorney, wrote that Grassley's plan to call just two witnesses, Kavanaugh and Ford, "is not a fair or good faith investigation" and said "multiple witnesses" she did not name should be included. "Since the moment I first heard this allegation, I have categorically and unequivocally denied it".

Most of the rest are objectionable to varying degrees, mainly to the committee's own prerogatives, except the unlimited opening statement request and the equal-time demand (which is already the rule, as NBC notes).

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Democratic senators, pointing to the highly charged Anita Hill hearings in October 1991, have defended Ford's request to have the Federal Bureau of Investigation do its own probe before she testifies. The White House. Judge Kavanaugh has not asked to have the FBI investigate these claims. "He remains committed to providing a fair forum for both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh".

A person familiar with the committee's phone call with Ford said she had told lawmakers she could testify by next Thursday.

Republicans have resisted all Democratic efforts to slow and perhaps block Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Earlier on Thursday, committee Republicans chose to hire an outside counsel to lead their questioning of Ford, rather than the committee members themselves, according to a Republican Senate official familiar with the decision. The Senate judiciary committee hearings that featured her testimony made headlines for days.

A handful of pivotal senators have yet to disclose how they will ultimately vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation, including Republican Sens. The fact that Senator Feinstein apparently had this letter more than six weeks ago, never raised the issue in her interview with Judge Brett Kavanaugh, never brought the issue to the attention of other members of the judiciary committee, it's a great disservice to the process, and to the American people, and, of course, to Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his family.

On Thursday, most Republicans had stuck to the timeline of holding a hearing on Monday, as well as Grassley's decision to limit the hearing to two witnesses: Kavanaugh and Ford. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said. Kavanaugh, now a judge on the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has repeatedly denied her allegation.

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