Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley responded on Tuesday night to the letter from Christine Ford announcing that she would not testify to his committee before the FBI investigated her allegation against Brett Kavanaugh.
Republicans had also displayed no willingness to delay a Judiciary panel vote that Grassley had planned for this Thursday to advance the nomination, setting the stage for full Senate confirmation of Kavanaugh by month's end, in time for the new Supreme Court session.
"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", it says.
A day earlier, Republicans abruptly agreed to hold a public Judiciary Committee hearing at which Kavanaugh and Ford have been invited to testify.
Anita Hill says the Senate Judiciary Committee could be holding a "sham" hearing next week without an FBI investigation of a woman's sexual-assault accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Democratic committee members say their request to the FBI is not for a criminal investigation, but "appropriate follow-up" to the FBI's background investigation. He said senators hearing Ford's accusations, if she testifies, "will open it up and they will do a very good job" considering Ford's allegations and Kavanaugh's denial. How and why Ford went from wanting to preserve her anonymity to being willing to publicly talk about the incident isn't a process that should be chalked up simply to politics. She added, "One of the things I know is what happens to women in this situation and how hard it is, and I hope people will let her be".
Trump's vote of confidence in Kavanaugh reinforces what is rapidly becoming the latest battlefront in the deeply polarised country ahead of November midterm congressional elections.
On today's Judiciary Committee, all 11 Republicans are men while four of the 10 Democrats are women.
Ford's husband, Russell, put that idea nicely in an interview with The Washington Post, which initially broke the news of the accuser's identity.
Ford has alleged that Kavanaugh pinned her down on the bed in an upstairs room while they were both attending a party in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
"The allegation is completely opposite than the Brett I knew then", said his longtime friend, Suzanne Matan.
Just hours earlier, top Republicans had shown no interest in a theatrical spectacle that would thrust Kavanaugh and Ford before television cameras with each offering public- and no doubt conflicting and emotional - versions of what did or didn't happen at a high school party in the early 1980s.
"Not only do women like Dr. Ford, who bravely comes forward, need to be heard, but they need to be believed". The delay makes it increasingly hard for Kavanaugh to win approval by October 1, when the new session of the Supreme Court begins. "The responsibility falls to us", Hatch wrote, reiterating Grassley's offer to let Ford testify before the Judiciary Committee. Hill questions whether the Senate hearing "is going to be anything more than just a sham proceeding".
U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer, who is running against Heitkamp in North Dakota, said in a statement that he found it "hard not to be skeptical considering the timing and history of the allegations", according to the Grand Forks Herald.
The confluence of those events set for Monday underscores how the high-profile political fight over Kavanaugh's nomination will also color the public perception of the Supreme Court, and could prompt the justices to steer clear of more controversial cases in the coming term that starts in October. The Supreme Court nominee denies committing the assault that Ford described.
Republican leaders are preparing a controversial push to install Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court after a frenetic night of legal and political maneuvering in Washington that could reverberate for years to come.
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