“Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace (pictured above left) admitted Friday on “America’s Newsroom” that he is “kind of stunned at the idea” that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser “is trying to dictate to Congress” the terms under which she’ll testify about her sexual assault allegations.
“I’m kind of stunned at the idea that a witness is trying to dictate to Congress the terms under which she’ll testify,” Wallace told “America’s Newsroom” co-anchor Sandra Smith.
“Usually, Congress sets the terms under which a witness testifies.”
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“But this is another indication, Sandra, of how delicate a time we’re in in the MeToo movement and that Republicans, even though they’re in the majority in [the Senate Judiciary Committee] don’t want to look [like] they are railroading Christine Blasey Ford,” Wallace warned.
Ford (above right) propelled the final days of Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation process into chaos by publicly accusing him this past Sunday of sexually assaulting her some 36 years ago at a party in Maryland, when they were both teens in high school.
Although Ford outlined her allegations in a letter she sent to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in July while wishing to remain anonymous, they weren’t aired until just days before Kavanaugh’s since-canceled confirmation vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Kavanaugh denied Ford’s accusations “categorically and unequivocally,” claiming that he has “never done anything like what the accuser describes — to her or to anyone.”
GOP committee members called upon Kavanaugh and Ford to testify Monday.
Although Kavanaugh agreed, Ford has flip-flopped. After initially insisting she was willing to cooperate and testify, Ford declined through her lawyers to testify unless the FBI conducted an investigation.
Things changed once more when her attorneys opened the door on Thursday to her testifying before the committee on several conditions. Those include that she and Kavanaugh would never be in the room at the same time, that Kavanaugh testify first, and that no outside counsel — only committee members — be allowed to question her.
Those conditions are continuing to be reviewed and finalized right now.
“I think some of the [conditions] are easy for [Republicans] to give on — have the hearing on Thursday rather than Monday. What difference does it make? Kavanaugh not being in the room — he never would have been in the room,” Wallace said. “Things that I think are more questionable and maybe impossible to accept are the idea that Kavanaugh would testify first.”
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Wallace noted that Kavanaugh “doesn’t even know what [Ford] is going to say.”
“So how can he testify and answer questions when he doesn’t know what she is going to say about date, time, place, other people who were at the party?” he wondered.
“In any kind of trial, the prosecution goes first. They make the allegations and the accuser then answers them.”
If Ford insists upon Kavanaugh testifying first, “that will be a nonstarter,” Wallace said.
“In the end, [Ford] has leverage because of the MeToo movement. The committee has leverage because if she doesn’t testify, he’s going to get confirmed,” he said.
“She’s going to have to come [and] make a credible case and own her argument. And if she doesn’t do that, then he’ll sail through and she clearly doesn’t want that to happen.”
Wallace predicted that Ford ultimately will agree to testify.
“It will probably be a compromise in terms of what she wants and what the committee wants,” he said.
But the optics of the whole hearing and its conditions will be tricky for both Republicans and Democrats to maneuver, Wallace said.
Republicans, in particular, “do not want it to appear that they are railroading, in any way bullying a woman who claims that she was the victim of sexual abuse,” he noted.
“On the other hand, they’ve got a lot of pressure on them, the Republicans and the GOP, because the president campaigned on the idea of conservative justices. He nominated Brett Kavanaugh, who would be a very conservative justice, and they’re under pressure to follow through and to put this guy on the bench,” Wallace continued.
“So there’s a lot of pressure on them both to give her a fair hearing, but on the other hand, in the end to end up with Brett Kavanaugh as the next Supreme Court justice,” he said.