An attorney for Christine Blasey Ford said Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley is unnecessarily rushing toward a hearing by pushing for her to testify about her allegation of sexual assault against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
Ford has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s choice for the nation’s highest court, of sexually assaulting her at a party during their teenage years. Kavanaugh has denied the charges.
Grassley has set a hearing for Monday for both Ford and Kavanaugh to testify about the incident.
“The rush to a hearing is unnecessary, and contrary to the Committee discovering the truth,” said Lisa Banks, Ford’s attorney, in a statement to CNN.
Banks added that Ford has been “thrust into the spotlight” and isn’t able to go home because she’s receiving threats to her and her family’s safety.
“She continues to believe that a full non-partisan investigation of this matter is needed and she is willing to cooperate with the Committee,” Banks said. “However, the Committee’s stated plan to move forward with a hearing that has only two witnesses is not a fair or good faith investigation; there are multiple witnesses whose names have appeared publicly and should be included in any proceeding.”
The Washington Post was first to report on the statement.
Ford said that at the time of the alleged incident, Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were “stumbling drunk” and Judge was in the room when Kavanaugh groped her and tried to remove her clothes.
Judge said in a statement to the committee via an attorney that he had “no memory of this alleged incident” and did “not want to speak publicly regarding the incidents described in Dr. Ford’s letter.”
After coming forward on Sunday against Kavanaugh, Ford indicated through her attorney on Monday that she would be willing to testify before Congress.
Grassley announced later that he would convene a hearing with both Ford and Kavanaugh, who has denied her allegations, on the coming Monday. Ford’s attorneys said Tuesday that she did not want to testify without an FBI investigation into the matter first, a call that Grassley rebuffed.
He said on Wednesday that he did not believe an FBI investigation would be appropriate, arguing that it is the Senate’s constitutional role to review the nominee’s record and saying he would focus on encouraging Ford to speak with the committee in some form.
“The FBI does not make a credibility assessment of any information it receives with respect to a nominee,” Grassley wrote to Ford on Wednesday.
He added, “We have no power to commandeer an Executive Branch agency into conducting our due diligence.”
Ford and her attorneys may be forced to make a decision soon.
Grassley said Wednesday in a letter to California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee, that he was setting a deadline of Friday at 10 a.m. for a decision from Ford on whether she will testify.
President Donald Trump continued to stand by Kavanaugh on Wednesday and downplayed the notion he would have the FBI look into her allegations. He said it would be “wonderful” if Ford testified and “unfortunate” otherwise.
“If she shows up and makes a credible showing, that will be very interesting, and we’ll have to make a decision,” he said.