Published: Mon, September 24, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Kavanaugh accuser agrees to testify in Senate hearing

Kavanaugh accuser agrees to testify in Senate hearing

Friday was the latest in a string of tumultuous days for Kavanaugh, whose ascension to the Supreme Court seemed a sure bet until Ford emerged last weekend and provided details of the alleged assault.

Earlier Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said lawyers for Ford are contesting two GOP conditions of the proposed Thursday hearing - that Ford and Kavanaugh will be the only witnesses and that an independent counsel will ask the questions.

The question now is whether anyone at the White House, Kavanaugh or at the Senate Judiciary Committee was involved in the harebrained scheme to accuse a classmate of Kavanaugh's under the bonkers theory Ford got the identity of her attacker "confused".

The attorneys made it clear they take umbrage with the fact that Mark Judge, who Ford alleges was with Kavanaugh when he committed the assault, will not be subpoenaed.

That brings us to the question: Is Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination doomed?

Dr Ford, a university professor, had originally been granted a deadline on Friday, which later was extended to Saturday, to agree to testify.

He said Ford's lawyer laid out 10 conditions for her appearance on Thursday, and senators accepted six of them.

Ford and the Senate Judiciary Committee have reached agreement for a public hearing Thursday, but critical details are still unresolved.

Ford says that Kavanaugh was drunk at a house party in about 1982, and that he pulled her into a bedroom then pinned her down on a bed, tried to remove her clothes and put his hand over her mouth to stop her from screaming. Three 15-year-old girls from Idaho penned an open letter to Ford on urging her to testify about her experience, which has so far garnered over 35,000 signatures.

For their part, Democrats say Republicans are mounting an unseemly rush to get Kavanaugh into the nine-member Supreme Court while they still control the legislature. I want to hear her.

In a Saturday evening email, an attorney representing Ford's former classmate, Leland Ingham Keyser, stated that his client "does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without Dr. Ford".

If the hearing proceeds, Republicans will be forced to walk a careful line in questioning Ford's account without alienating women voters ahead of the elections.

The White House response shows a fresh willingness to attack Ford, coming after a series of critical comments from President Donald Trump the day before about her credibility. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the committee, had insisted that she appear to testify on Monday. Multiple senior members of the committee are pushing for one, while others are less interested, according to the source, making it unclear whether this will make it into the final proposal to Ford.

Earlier, Trump ended a week of constraint and sarcastically assailed Ford, tweeting that if the episode was "as bad as she says", she or "her loving parents" surely would have reported it to law enforcement.

"We have to fight for him, not anxious about the other side", he said.

Republicans have accused Democrats of sitting on the doctor's allegation during the hearings and looking to delay the vote until after the midterms in November.

Nevertheless, Democrats continued to complain Republicans were "bullying" Ford by asking her to tell her story under oath.

After Grassley set a hearing for Monday, Democrats demanded a delay to allow time for the FBI to investigate Ford's claim.

The Senate Judiciary Committee's 11 Republicans - all men - have been seeking an outside female lawyer to interrogate Ford.

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