Politics

Kavanaugh’s Sexual Assault Accuser Misses Another Committee Deadline

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said his group is extending the deadline yet again to 10 p.m. Friday

Image Credit: SAUL LOEB / AFP / Getty Images

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault accuser missed two deadlines on Friday to respond to an invitation to testify before a congressional hearing.

Christine Blasey Ford, a psychologist from California (shown above right), accused the nominee of sexually assaulting her at a house party when they were teenagers back in high school some 35 years ago.

The decades-old allegation sidelined the high court confirmation process right before the first vote was to be taken on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Debra Katz, Ford’s lawyer, responded to an invitation that she was willing to testify, but only if certain terms were met.

“Ms. Katz has discussed Dr. Ford’s allegations in numerous media interviews and said on TV Monday morning that Dr. Ford wants to share her account with the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement. “It’s Friday night, and nothing’s been agreed to despite our extensive efforts to make testimony possible.”

Related: Kavanaugh Accuser Fears Facing His Female Lawyer

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The Senate Judiciary Committee launched an investigation when the allegation came to light last week. Grassley canceled the committee vote to advance the nomination and set up a hearing to address the allegations for Monday. He said the investigation is going forward even though Democrats are not giving them access to the letter that sparked everything.

Ford was asked this week to submit prepared testimony and a biography and to inform the committee on whether she plans to attend the hearing before a morning deadline on Friday. Her lawyers had already informed the committee that she did not plan on testifying until the FBI had a chance to investigate — but they have since begun negotiating the terms in which she’d be willing to testify, such as Kavanaugh’s speaking first.

Ford and her lawyers missed the deadline initially set for Friday morning.

Senate Republicans reportedly made a counteroffer to hold the hearing on Wednesday instead, after her lawyers asked for it to be pushed back to Thursday, according to Politico. Grassley said they are extending the deadline yet again to 10 p.m. EST on Friday.

“I’m extending the deadline for response yet again to 10 o’clock this evening,” Grassley said.

“I’m providing a notice of a vote to occur Monday in the event that Dr. Ford’s attorneys don’t respond or Dr. Ford decides not to testify. In the event that we can come to a reasonable resolution as I’ve been seeking all week, then I will postpone the committee vote to accommodate her testimony. We cannot continue to delay.”

Senate Democrats have called for the nomination process to be stopped until a federal investigation happens. Before the sexual assault allegation, they called for delaying the process because of an array of issues, such as unfulfilled records requests and legal issues related to President Donald Trump.

Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) became aware of the alleged incident weeks prior after receiving a letter from Ford dated July 30. Feinstein decided not to reveal the claims publicly or to the committee after Ford requested that the matter remain private.

Related: Megyn Kelly Panel Descends into Chaos Over Kavanaugh Accuser: ‘She’s Not in Charge of the Senate!’

The letter was leaked to the public without a name included within a week of a scheduled committee vote on whether to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate. Ford revealed herself to be the accuser days after the information was leaked on September 12. Kavanaugh was quick to deny the allegations when they first started spreading.

Grassley repeatedly said, in response to the controversy, that the accuser deserves to be heard and her information assessed. But he is also among the Republicans questioning the timing and the way the information was revealed.

Democrats could also potentially improve their chances of stopping Kavanaugh if they’re able to delay a final vote until after the midterm elections.

Not only could they potentially get enough votes to block the nomination — but some more moderate lawmakers in red states would also have less pressure on them once the election is over.

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