Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who threw a wrench into the confirmation process of Judge Brett Kavanaugh by leveling 36-year-old sexual misconduct allegations against him, has not responded to multiple requests to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee and tell her story under oath.
“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,” an aide to the chairman of the committee, Sen. Charles Grassley, said in a statement Tuesday.
Grassley told conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt that the lack of response “kind of raises the question, do they want to come to the public hearing or not?”
Both Kavanaugh and Ford, his accuser, were invited to testify on the allegations, delaying the committee’s vote which was previously scheduled for Sept. 20.
Kavanaugh, who has flatly denied all the allegations, quickly accepted the invitation on Monday to appear before the committee again, saying in a statement: “I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity.”
“Even before we requested him to testify, he said he was willing to testify,” Grassley told Hewitt. “As of Sunday night, I had that message. So we still haven’t heard from Dr. Ford. So do they want to have the hearing or not? We’re delaying the vote, strictly to get all the facts out on the table.”
Ford, a liberal professor at Palo Alto University, went public with her sexual assault claims Sunday in an interview with the Washington Post and has indicated that she would be willing to testify.
“As I said earlier, anyone who comes forward as Dr. Ford has done deserves to be heard,” Grassley said in a statement. “My staff has reached out to Dr. Ford to hear her account, and they held a follow-up call with Judge Kavanaugh this afternoon. Unfortunately, committee Democrats have refused to join us in this effort. However, to provide ample transparency, we will hold a public hearing Monday to give these recent allegations a full airing.”
Hewitt asked Grassley what the committee plans to do if Ford decides not to appear before the committee.
Grassley answered that it would sort of defeat the purpose of having a hearing. “First of all, we’ve got to look at why we’re having the hearing. We’re having the hearing because [of] the accusations, accusations that legitimately ought to be looked into about a candidate for the Supreme Court. And it… raised questions: what would be the purpose of the hearing if Dr. Ford doesn’t want to respond?” he said.
Hewitt asked how many rounds of questions each member of the Judiciary Committee Assume would get should both Ford and Kavanaugh agree to come.
Grassley answered that the details haven’t all been worked out yet, but it’s being handled in a fair, evenhanded and bipartisan manner.
After the potential hearing on Monday, the committee would probably hold a vote the next day, he said. If she decides not to testify, there will be no need to hold a hearing.
President Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow agreed with Grassley, saying on Fox News earlier today that if the accuser is not willing to testify, no hearing will be needed.