President Donald Trump today weighed in on the Brett Kavanaugh hearing next week at which both the Supreme Court nominee and the women accusing him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford, are expected to testify. Maybe it even jogged a fuzzy memory, helping her to recall that he was her assailant. Chuck Grassley, says that Ford's lawyer has not responded to invitations to attend the hearing.
Grassley added, "Accusers deserve to be heard and, after they're heard and we also have a responsibility to hear judge Kavanaugh, and I want to hear from Dr. Ford, and she deserved to be heard, because these are serious accusations". The committee vote to confirm Kavanaugh, originally set for Thursday, was delayed due to the upcoming hearing.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Democrats want more than two witnesses, including Mark Judge, who Ford has said was a Kavanaugh friend present during the alleged incident.
The Judicial Crisis Network launched a $1.5 million ad campaign to encourage Kavanaugh's confirmation, calling Ford's allegations a "smear campaign", according to CNN.
When asked earlier in the day if committee Democrats would be satisfied with a hearing instead of re-opening an FBI investigation, a spokesperson for Feinstein said the focus was on the FBI and declined to discuss any hypotheticals.
"You're raising legitimate questions that are still on our mind", Grassley said, "and so these details are still being worked out".
Soon after Ford's accusation, 65 women who knew Kavanaugh in high school have come forward to defend his character in an open letter. At one point, Ford said, Kavanaugh put his hand on her mouth to stop her screams.
Conway, one of the highest-ranking women in the West Wing, said she'd "spoken at length" with Trump about the allegations.
Moderate senators from both parties had argued that Judge Kavanaugh and Prof Ford should be given the chance to testify before the panel.
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"We can not brush aside these extraordinarily serious allegations in an unseemly rush to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to a lifetime seat", Leahy said in a separate statement issued later Monday morning. In a statement, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said the FBI - which has added a letter from Christine Blasey Ford to Kavanaugh's already completed background report file - had already done all it was going to do, because "the allegation does not involve any potential federal crime".
If the Judiciary committee's timetable slips, it would become increasingly hard for Republicans to schedule a vote before midterm elections on November 6 elections, when congressional control will be at stake. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a Judiciary Committee member who has clashed bitterly with Trump and is retiring from the Senate.
"I believe in order for me to assess the credibility of these allegations that I want to have both individuals come before the senate judiciary committee and testify under oath", she told reporters in the Capitol Monday.
There was enormous pressure on GOP Sens.
Collins said that in a telephone conversation with Kavanaugh on Friday he was "absolutely emphatic" that the assault didn't occur.
"Obviously, if Judge Kavanaugh has lied about what happened, that would be disqualifying", she said.
"I have never done anything like what the accuser describes - to her or to anyone", Kavanaugh said. Neither Collins nor Murkowski faces re-election this fall.
Kavanaugh, 53, has vehemently denied the accusation. "The FBI is not doing any further investigation".