Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh won’t have to face the woman who accused him of sexual assault just yet.
In a letter addressed to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Christine Blasey Ford said she won’t accept the Senate Judiciary Committee’s invitation to appear on Monday until the FBI investigates Kavanaugh’s alleged attack on her 36 years ago when the two were in high school.
Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old California-based professor, wants “a full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the Committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions.”
Blasey Ford’s attorney Lisa Banks told CNN Tuesday night that her client had only gone public with her allegations on Sunday and to expect her to appear before a committee just over a week later was asking too much.
"There's no reason that we should have a public hearing on Monday. It's too important to be rushed through,” Banks said.
Blasey Ford also said in the letter that having to sit at the same table as Kavanaugh on national television “to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident” would be too much to expect. At a party in 1982, Kavanaugh allegedly climbed on top of her and attempted to take her clothes off. When she tried to scream, Blasey Ford said Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth.
A Judiciary Committee spokesperson, however, told the Washington Post the pair would not have had to sit at the same table.
Blasey Ford didn’t come forward before now because she feared a backlash against her. It’s common for women to experience harassment or threats after speaking out about sexual violence. And Blasey Ford’s fears are now being realized.
In the letter, Blasey Ford revealed that since becoming a national figure, she and her family have been harassed and received death threats, which forced them to move out of their home. A friend told the Washington Post that Ford are her husband are staying separately from their children as a security precaution.
Blasey Ford also revealed that her emails have been hacked, while personal information including her home address have been shared on Twitter with people calling for “peaceful protests” at her home.
It’s unclear if Republicans will agree to Blasey Ford’s demands for an investigation, but Sen. Chuck Grassley, who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, appeared to dismiss the calls for a new probe investigation and said the invitation for Monday still stands. Grassley, however, did postpone Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote, scheduled for Thursday.
“Dr. Ford's testimony would reflect her personal knowledge and memory of events,” Grassley said. “Nothing the FBI or any other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee, so there is no reason for any further delay.”
But others, including Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Mazie Hirono, and Kamala Harris are backing Blasey Ford’s calls for an FBI investigation.
On the other hand, some Republican lawmakers appear less sensitive to Blasey Ford’s allegations. Sen. Lindsey Graham, for example, described the allegation, which emerged late in the nomination process, as a “drive-by shooting.”
“I'll listen to the lady, but we're going to bring this to a close,” he added. “We are going to move on and vote [on the nominee for the Supreme Court] on Wednesday.”
For his part, Kavanaugh has dismissed the claim as “a completely false allegation” and the White House has stood behind its nominee. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he feels “terribly” for Kavanaugh, “This is not a man who deserves this,” Trump added.
Cover image: President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, looks over his notes 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)