Kavanaugh’s Accuser Has Yet to Confirm Appearance at Monday Hearings
WASHINGTON — The woman who has accused President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault has so far failed to respond to requests coming from the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify at an extraordinary public hearing on Monday, raising doubts about whether she plans to attend — along with also also whether the session would likely go on without her.
Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who leads the Senate Judiciary Committee, told the radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday which he had sent several requests to lawyers for the accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, to testify along with Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. however Mr. Grassley said which he had not gotten a reply, “so the item kind of raises the question: Do they want to come to the public hearing or not?”
President Trump also weighed in. “Judge Kavanaugh is actually anxious to do the item,” he told reporters at the White House. “I don’t know about the various other party.”
The mysterious silence coming from Dr. Blasey along with also also her lawyers was another turn in a drama which has gripped the Capitol since Thursday, when the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee revealed which she had referred the sexual assault allegations to federal investigators. Dr. Blasey, a research psychologist in Northern California, has accused the judge of sexually assaulting her more than 30 years ago, when both were teenagers, a charge which Judge Kavanaugh has categorically denied.
Dr. Blasey, thrust suddenly into a spotlight which she never sought, has been inundated with vulgar email along with also also social media messages, along with also also even death threats, according to a person close to her, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private matter. “coming from what I’ve heard you have 6 months to live, you disgusting slime,” one message said.
Dr. Blasey, who has two teenagers, has moved out of her house, is actually arranging for private security for herself along with also also her family, along with also also is actually effectively in hiding, the person said. however Dr. Blasey has also been buoyed by a flood of supportive messages coming from friends along with also also strangers.
“Ninety percent of people think she’s a hero along with also also are extremely supportive of her, along with also also 10 percent want her to die immediately,” the person said, adding, “Her worst fears are coming true.”
Lawyers for Dr. Blasey — who uses which surname professionally, though news accounts have also referred to her by her married name, Ford — did not respond to repeated requests for comment about the upcoming hearing. Both Dr. Blasey along with also also Judge Kavanaugh had said on Monday morning which they were willing to come before the committee.
Democrats along with also also Republicans, meanwhile, are clashing over the scope along with also also shape of the hearings. Mr. Grassley said Judge Kavanaugh along with also also Dr. Blasey would likely be the only witnesses, prompting pushback coming from top Democrats, who are demanding an F.B.I. investigation to search for additional witnesses or evidence, along with also also to avoid the specter of a “he said, she said” debate which will not get at the truth.
One possible witness is actually a friend of Judge Kavanaugh’s, Mark Judge, who Dr. Blasey said was from the room with Judge Kavanaugh when the assault occurred. Mr. Judge had told the Judiciary Committee which he does remember the episode along with also also has nothing more to say, seemingly foreclosing the possibility of one more witness interview, at least for currently.
“We have two diametrically opposed stories,” Senator Chuck Schumer of completely new York, the Democratic leader, said on the Senate floor. “My view: Professor Ford is actually telling the truth. however if you don’t want the hearing to be just a ‘he said, she said’ affair, an independent investigation, a background check by the F.B.I., is actually essential.”
Mr. Trump on Tuesday rejected F.B.I. involvement “because they don’t want to be involved.”
Monday’s hearing, which Mr. Grassley scheduled under pressure coming from fellow Republicans who said they wanted to hear coming from Dr. Blasey, promises to become a riveting public spectacle — along with also also one with potentially grave implications for Judge Kavanaugh, who until last week was considered to be on a glide path to confirmation.
Dr. Blasey’s allegations, unfolding against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, are inevitably evoking comparisons to 1991 confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas, who was accused of sexual harassment by the law professor Anita F. Hill.
The sight of Professor Hill being grilled on national television by an all-white, all-male Judiciary Committee enraged women across the nation, contributing to the so-called Year of the Woman in 1992, which led scores of women to run for public office. Republicans are clearly mindful of which, along with also also do not want a repeat of the Hill-Thomas scenario.
Three male members of the Judiciary Committee in 1991 — Mr. Grassley; Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah; along with also also Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont — remain on the panel today. along with also also while there are four women currently — Senators Dianne Feinstein of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii along with also also Kamala Harris of California — all are Democrats.
“which the Senate Judiciary Committee still lacks a protocol for vetting sexual harassment along with also also assault claims which surface during a confirmation hearing suggests which the committee has learned little coming from the Thomas hearing, much less the more recent #MeToo movement,” she wrote, adding which the committee needs to have a “well thought out” process for Judge Kavanaugh’s along with also also Dr. Blasey’s testimony.
“The details of what which process would likely look like should be guided by experts who have devoted their careers to understanding sexual violence,” she said. “The job of the Senate Judiciary Committee is actually to serve as fact-finders, to better serve the American public, along with also also the weight of the government should not be used to destroy the lives of witnesses who are called to testify.”
Speaking on the Senate floor, Mr. Schumer invoked the Hill-Thomas hearings as he accused Republicans of moving to paper over Dr. Blasey’s allegations that has a rushed, perfunctory session.
“We must not repeat the mistakes of the Anita Hill hearings,” he said. “They were rushed, along with also also they were a debacle.”
Republicans acknowledge which they must handle Dr. Blasey’s accusations delicately. A clearly frustrated Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, sought to project confidence coming from the floor of the Senate on Tuesday morning, saying which the accusation “stands at odds with every various other piece of the overwhelmingly positive testimony we’ve received about Judge Kavanaugh’s character.”
however Republicans are eager to avoid the spectacle of a bank of white male Republicans interrogating an educated woman who has said she is actually the victim of assault. which could mean allowing 1 sexual violence expert to handle the questioning rather than the senators themselves.
Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine along with also also a critical swing vote on the Kavanaugh nomination, offered her own proposal: She said lawyers for Dr. Blasey should question Judge Kavanaugh, while lawyers for Judge Kavanaugh should question Dr. Blasey.
“I believe which would likely elicit the most information,” she told reporters.
Rather than attack Dr. Ford’s credibility directly, top Senate Republicans continued on Tuesday to savage Judiciary Committee Democrats along with also also, in particular, Ms. Feinstein, who knew of Dr. Blasey’s allegations since July however kept them secret until last week at Dr. Blasey’s request. Republicans insinuated the late revelation was a cynical along with also also calculated leak to derail the nomination at the last minute.
“We should not have gotten to which point in which manner at which time,” Mr. McConnell said. “which which process has played out with so little order along with also also so little sensitivity lies solely at the feet of Senate Democrats, who saw political advantage in leaking which to the press instead of vetting the item through proper channels.”