An extraordinary showdown between Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who accuses him of a sexual assault when they were teens, will play out in public next Monday.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley announced late Monday that the pair would testify before the committee on Sept. 24 beginning at 10 a.m. The Republican lawmaker bowed to mounting pressure from within his own party to postpone a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, originally set for Thursday.
“As I said earlier, anyone who comes forward as Dr. Ford has done deserves to be heard. My staff has reached out to Dr. Ford to hear her account, and they held a follow-up call with Judge Kavanaugh this afternoon,” Grassley said in a statement. “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.”
Democrats want the hearings, but they’re pushing for an FBI investigation first, asserting the committee will be "shooting in the dark” without some sort of preliminary findings to go on.
The hearing has drawn comparisons with the testimony of Anita Hill back in 1991 during Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearing. Hill, also a college professor, accused Thomas, who was her supervisor at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, of sexual harassment.
Kavanaugh spent up to nine hours inside the White House on Monday, according to CNN, where he spoke with senators and huddled with White House counsel Don McGahn.
President Donald Trump voiced his support for his nominee on Monday despite the allegations, claiming Kavanaugh has “never even had a little blemish on his record” and described as “ridiculous” the suggestion that Kavanaugh might withdraw his candidacy.
According to Axios, Republicans involved in organizing the necessary votes to get Kavanaugh’s nomination over the line, are most worried about Sen. Jeff Flake, while they remain concerned about Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Flake said on Sunday when the story broke that he was “not comfortable” giving Kavanagh a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court without first hearing from his accuser. All 10 Republicans on the 20-person committee are men.
Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old professor at Palo Alto University, became a national figure overnight after she came forward to accuse Kavanaugh of an attack that took place when they were both in high school in the early '80s.
The biostatistician and research psychologist claims Kavanaugh and another boy forced her into a bedroom at a party in Montgomery County, Maryland. Kavanaugh allegedly climbed on top of her and attempted to take her clothes off. When she tried to scream, Blasey Ford says Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” she told the Post.
The judge and the White House have denied the allegations.
Cover: President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, answers a question about guns from Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., during a third round of questioning on the third day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington, to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)