WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh said in a statement this morning that he’s willing to come back before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about a Palo Alto University professor’s allegations that he sexually assaulted her.
Kavanaugh’s statement comes as Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who sits on the committee at which Republicans have a slim 11-10 majority, said this week’s planned Judiciary vote on the nomination shouldn’t go forward without hearing more about the allegations.
“If they push forward without any attempt with hearing what she’s had to say, I’m not comfortable voting yes,” Flake told Politico on Sunday. “We need to hear from her. And I don’t think I’m alone in this.”
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), not a member of the committee but of the full Senate where the GOP majority is also slim, also said a vote should be delayed to hear out the allegations. “If she does want to be heard, she should do so promptly,” he said.
“This is not something that came up during the hearings,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told CNN. “The hearings are now over, and if there is real substance to this, it demands a response.”
Christine Blasey Ford sent a letter containing the allegations to her congresswoman, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), in July. Eshoo forwarded the letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
As Ford had requested anonymity, Feinstein didn’t reveal the letter to other members of the committee. It was given to the FBI last week, her office said.
Ford, who said she originally feared revealing her identity because of the harassment she felt would follow, alleges that a drunk Kavanaugh, then 17, pinned her on a bed when she was 15 and tried to remove her clothes while covering her mouth with his hand and a friend of his — Mark Judge, who wrote an addiction memoir in 1997 in which he described getting drunk with a high school friend named “Bart O’Kavanaugh” — watched.
Ford said she thought Kavanaugh “might inadvertently kill me” as he “was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.” She said she revealed the incident to her husband and therapist at a 2012 couple’s therapy session; the Washington Post said it reviewed the therapist’s notes from that session, which said Ford claimed she was attacked by fellow high school students who later became “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.”
Ford’s attorney, Debra Katz, provided results of a polygraph examination that she said her client took regarding the allegations. Katz said Ford is willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Kavanaugh, who was seen at the White House this morning, said he would appear before lawmakers “in any way the committee deems appropriate” in order to “defend my integrity.”
“This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes—to her or to anyone,” Kavanaugh said in the statement released by the White House. “Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday.”
The 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today asking that the planned Thursday vote on the judge’s nomination be delayed as “there are serious questions about Judge Kavanaugh’s record, truthfulness, and character.”
“All senators, regardless of party, should insist the FBI perform its due diligence and fully investigate the allegations as part of its review of Judge Kavanaugh’s background. Staff-level examination of these allegations should not go forward until the FBI’s career professionals with the requisite investigative expertise have completed their review,” the senators wrote. “Once the FBI has completed its independent work, we hope that we can work together in a bipartisan manner to decide on next steps.”
A spokesman for Grassley said Sunday that “given the late addendum to the background file and revelations of Dr. Ford’s identity, Chairman Grassley is actively working to set up such follow-up calls with Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford ahead of Thursday’s scheduled vote.”