Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley granted another extension to Christine Blasey Ford, the California psychology professor who recently brought forth a decades-old sexual misconduct allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, in reply to her lawyer’s latest counteroffer.
Minutes prior to Grassley’s 10:00 p.m. to respond, Debra Katz, an attorney for Ford, sent a letter to the chairman, alleging the time limit’s “sole purpose is to bully Dr. Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision that has life-altering implications for her and her family”:
NEW: Letter from Ford's lawyer to Grassley's staff blasts them for announcing Monday vote, asks her to "be given an additional day to make her decision."
— Sam Stein ()
In a near-midnight tweet, the Iowa lawmaker wrote that if the professor does not wish to testify, “say so so we can move on,” adding, “I want to hear ur testimony.”
“Five times now we hv granted extension for Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed w her desire stated one wk ago that she wants to tell senate her story Dr Ford if u changed ur mind say so so we can move on I want to hear ur testimony,” Grassley tweeted. “Come to us or we to u”:
Five times now we hv granted extension for Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed w her desire stated one wk ago that she wants to tell senate her story Dr Ford if u changed ur mind say so so we can move on I want to hear ur testimony. Come to us or we to u
— ChuckGrassley ()
Grassley then announced an extension had been granted to Ford to respond Saturday, admitting it was not in his nature to be “indecisive.”
“Judge Kavanaugh I just granted another extension to Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed w the statement she made last week to testify to the senate She shld decide so we can move on I want to hear her,” he tweeted. “I hope u understand. It’s not my normal approach to b indecisive”:
Judge Kavanaugh I just granted another extension to Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed w the statement she made last week to testify to the senate She shld decide so we can move on I want to hear her. I hope u understand. It’s not my normal approach to b indecisive
— ChuckGrassley ()
Moments later, Grassley claimed the numerous extensions he granted Ford made him feel as though he is “playing 2nd trombone in the judiciary orchestra,” with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer as “the conductor”:
With all the extensions we give Dr Ford to decide if she still wants to testify to the Senate I feel like I’m playing 2nd trombone in the judiciary orchestra and Schumer is the conductor
— ChuckGrassley ()
The late-night brinkmanship between Grassley and Ford left in question if she would appear before the committee to detail her 35-year-old allegation. The 53-year-old Californian now that in 1982, an inebriated Kavanaugh forced her into a room and groped her during a house party. Ford has stated she never mentioned the alleged incident to anyone until 2012, when she revealed it during a marriage counseling session with her husband.
As Breitbart News , the Senate Judiciary chairman turned down Ford’s request that only senators, not attorneys, be allowed to ask questions. Further, Grassley rejected her proposal that she testify after Kavanaugh, a position lawyers consider advantageous because it gives them a chance to rebut accusations.
“Some of your other demands, however, are unreasonable and we are unable to accommodate them. You demanded that Judge Kavanaugh be the first person to testify,” Grassley wrote in a statement. “Accommodating this demand would be an affront to fundamental notions of due process.”
Grassley said he would schedule a hearing for Wednesday, rather than Thursday, as Ford prefers.
The Iowa lawmaker also rebuffed other Ford requests, including calling additional witnesses. Ford wants an appearance by Mark Judge, a Kavanaugh friend whom Ford asserts was at the high school party and in the bedroom where Kavanaugh’s assault occurred. Ford eventually escaped.
Grassley consented to other Ford demands, including that she be provided security and that Kavanaugh not be in the hearing room when she testifies.
Kavanaugh’s ascension to the Supreme Court seemed a sure bet until Ford emerged last weekend and provided details of the alleged assault. Kavanaugh, a District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals judge, has repeatedly denied the accusation.
While rallying in of Republican Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley, President Donald Trump assured supporters that Kavanaugh’s confirmation is “going to happen,” while reminding them of the importance of sticking by the Supreme Court nominee.
“I said, ‘We have to fight for him, not worry about the other side,’” President Trump of Kavanaugh.
During his remarks before the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC, on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell drew a standing ovation when he assured a gathering of evangelical activists that the conservative Kavanaugh would soon be a justice. “We’re going to plow right through and do our jobs,” he .
Kavanaugh had seemed to gain momentum among Republican senators this week, with growing numbers saying it was approaching time to vote and those who had voiced concern about Ford’s charges stopping short of expressing opposition to Kavanaugh. But with the slender 51-49 GOP majority and the unpredictability of how Ford and Kavanaugh would come across to millions of American voters should she agree to testify, his approval remains in question.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.