Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley said Tuesday that Christine Blasey Ford has not yet accepted an invitation to testify next Monday regarding her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school.
Ford’s lawyer, who previously said her client would be willing testify under oath before the committee, has not yet responded to Grassley’s multiple attempts to set up a preliminary phone call.
“We have reached out to her in the last 36 hours three or four times by email and we have not heard from them, and it kind of raises the question: Do they want to come to the public hearing or not?” Grassley said Tuesday morning on The Hugh Hewitt Show.
Asked if he would hold the hearing absent Ford, Grassley said he couldn’t see the rationale for doing so.
“What would be the purpose of the hearing if Dr. Ford doesn’t want to respond?” he said.
Kavanaugh, who has vigorously denied the allegations, has already committed to attending the Monday hearing and spent roughly nine hours at the White House Monday in preparation.
“Judge Kavanaugh looks forward to a hearing where he can clear his name of this false allegation. He stands ready to testify tomorrow if the Senate is ready to hear him,” White House spokesman Raj Shah confirmed Tuesday.
Ford, a California psychology professor and Democratic donor, came forward Sunday as the author of a previously anonymous letter sent to Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. In the letter, which she sent through her congresswoman, Ford accused Kavanaugh of pinning her down and attempting to remove her clothes while “stumbling drunk” at a house party in suburban Maryland 36 years ago.
Judiciary Committee Republicans began Tuesday morning to question Ford’s hesitance to respond to the hearing invitation.
“That’s very puzzling to me I have said from the beginning that these are very serious allegations and she deserves to be heard. She’s now being given an opportunity to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee and to answer questions and I really hope that she doesn’t pass up that opportunity,” Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who called on Ford Monday to testify under oath, told reporters when asked about the lack of responsiveness.
Democratic leadership has called for the hearings to be delayed until an FBI investigation can be conducted while Republicans have argued the allegation does not fall within FBI jurisdiction. Additionally, Feinstein objected Tuesday to Republican demands that only Kavanaugh and his accuser testify during the hearing.
“Chairman Grassley today said there would be only two witnesses invited to testify at the Kavanaugh hearing next week on sexual-assault allegations. Compare that to the 22 witnesses at the 1991 Anita Hill hearing and it’s impossible to take this process seriously,” she said. “What about other witnesses like Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge? What about individuals who were previously told about this incident? What about experts who can speak to the effects of this kind of trauma on a victim? This is another attempt by Republicans to rush this nomination and not fully vet Judge Kavanaugh.”