Senator Chuck Grassley intends to convene a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Monday about the sexual abuse allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but the woman making the accusation may not testify.
Grassley issued a written statement last night after getting a letter from Christine Blasey Ford’s attorneys.
Ford is asking that the FBI interview witnesses and complete an investigation of the alleged incident before she’d testify before senators. In a written statement last night, Grassley said there is “no reason for further delay.” Grassley said Ford’s testimony will reflect her own “memory of events” so the invitation to testify Monday “still stands.”
Grassley’s statement is below.
WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley issued the following statement tonight after lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford sent a letter to the Judiciary Committee responding to its invitations for her to share her story with committee members.
“Nobody should be subject to threats and intimidation, and Dr. Ford is no exception. These are serious allegations and Dr. Ford deserves to be heard.
“Immediately after learning of Dr. Ford’s identity from news reports Sunday, committee staff started working to gather facts related to her claims. We’ve offered Dr. Ford the opportunity to share her story with the committee, as her attorney said yesterday she was willing to do. We offered her a public or a private hearing as well as staff-led interviews, whichever makes her most comfortable. The invitation for Monday still stands.
“Dr. Ford’s testimony would reflect her personal knowledge and memory of events. Nothing the FBI or any other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee, so there is no reason for any further delay.”
Contrary to suggestions by Dr. Ford’s attorneys, the committee had no plans to place Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh on a panel together, and never indicated plans to do so. Grassley’s staff offered Dr. Ford multiple dates as well as a choice of providing information in a public or private setting.
Ranking Member Feinstein first received a letter with allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh from Dr. Ford in July. However, Feinstein neglected to notify Committee Republicans of the letter until the day of the first Committee markup, six weeks after receiving the letter and well after the vetting and hearing process had concluded. Feinstein referred the letter to the FBI, which added it to Kavanaugh’s background investigation file. She should have treated these allegations seriously, as Grassley has done, in immediately acting upon hearing of them.
The FBI has indicated to the committee and in public statements that it considers the matter closed. The FBI does not make credibility determinations. The FBI provides information on a confidential basis in order for decision makers to determine an individual’s suitability. The Senate has the information it needs to follow up with witnesses and gather and assess the relevant evidence.
Grassley’s staff has sought to work with the Democratic staff to reach out to relevant witnesses. The Democratic staff declined to participate in a follow-up call with Judge Kavanaugh Monday regarding these allegations. And they have declined to join efforts to conduct a bipartisan investigation of the allegations.