NBC News host Megyn Kelly (above right) led the charge as a panel on her Thursday show discussed whether Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser should testify before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary next week — and promptly descended into chaos.
“So [Christine Blasey Ford has] got a choice to make, because if she doesn’t notify [Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck] Grassley’s office by 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning that she’s coming, then she’s not allowed to come. That’s just procedure in the Senate,” declared Kelly on “Megyn Kelly Today.”
“And this has become a partisan fight, like all the Supreme Court confirmation hearings do,” Kelly added. “You know, back in the day, it used to be if the nominee was qualified, they’d get on board the court whether they were Left or Right. Now, you get savaged no matter who you are.”
Ford, Kavanaugh’s accuser, threw the final days of his Senate confirmation process into uncertainty when she publicly accused 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.
Kavanaugh denied Ford’s accusations “categorically and unequivocally.” He claimed that he has “never done anything like what the accuser describes — to her or to anyone.”
Although President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 24, Ford has now refused to testify before the committee — despite her lawyers’ previous insistence that Ford was ready to cooperate and willing to testify — unless the FBI conducts an investigation.
But Ford opened the door to changing her mind on Thursday when she said she “would be prepared to testify next week” as long as the senators offer “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety,” The New York Times reported, citing an email her lawyers sent to the committee.
The NBC panel’s conversation began to become testy after Kelly slammed Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), in particular, for failing to air Ford’s accusations — even anonymously — until the 11th hour of Kavanaugh’s confirmation proceedings. New York Times reporter Meghan Twohey and NBC News correspondent Stephanie Gosk were also on the panel on Kelly’s show.
“I think Dianne Feinstein bears a lot of the blame here because this woman found a way to come forward. And Dianne Feinstein buried it,” Kelly said. “Why didn’t Dianne Feinstein say at least anonymously to Brett Kavanaugh when she met with him one on one … ‘I’ve received a serious allegation, I need to raise it with you?'”
“She didn’t have to name [Ford],” Kelly continued.
“The Democrats leaked it. They outed her. They’re the ones who had her name.”
Kelly insisted Ford “will get a process” whether the FBI investigates or not.
“She would have to submit to testimony before the senators. This is not about a criminal investigation. It’s about the Senate’s duty to advise and consent,” Kelly said. “They’re in charge of what would help them make that recommendation.”
That’s when NBC and MSNBC legal political analyst Dan Goldman (pictured above left) chimed in.
“Let’s take a step back and think about what that means,” Goldman said. “The real pickle that Dr. Ford is in right now is that the Senate is not an investigatory body. The Republicans have now set up a situation where it will only be a ‘he said/she said’ because they will not have any other witnesses who are relevant to this. If there is an independent investigative body they can interview both two people —”
Kelly interrupted, saying, “They’re not solving crimes, Dan. They’re not solving crimes.”
The panelists began talking over each other until Kelly reclaimed the conversation.
“They’re trying to figure out what — what do we need at this point to figure out our advice and consent duty? And they have said this is what we need — they need her to testify first and foremost, and then him to be subjected to cross-examination,” Kelly said.
Goldman interjected, asking Kelly, “What does that mean?”
“So the reason she’s reluctant to go forward is that this is political circus. She is going to be taken through the wringer, and it’s going to be a he said/she said —” Goldman said before Kelly interrupted him again.
Kelly insisted, “You’re never going to get rid of the political nature of this in a Supreme Court confirmation hearing, ever.”
“You think she’s happy to give testimony before the Senate even if the FBI investigates this?” Kelly continued.
The panelists once again began talking over each other until Goldman said, “She said she would.”
“Right, but my point is, do you think she’s going to be able to avoid the partisan show … You think the FBI’s going to come out and say she’s telling the truth?” Kelly asked.
The panelists responded at once: “No, no.”
“Do you think she’s going to be able to avoid the partisan show … You think the FBI’s going to come out and say she’s telling the truth?”
“They’re going to have interviews of all the other people, they’re going to investigate and figure out whether there are other people who have relevant information,” Goldman insisted.
Kelly replied, “That’s fine with me. But the point is that she, at this point, is refusing to testify at all unless she gets to dictate the process.”
“You have to understand, Christine Blasey Ford, who I want to testify — I’ve said publicly she should, and actually I think she would find it an empowering exercise, and I think she’ll regret it to the day she dies if she doesn’t do it,” Kelly insisted. “But she’s not in charge of the U.S. Senate.”
Watch the rest of the panel below: