Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Christine Blasey Ford’s attorney Wednesday making a final request that Ford attend a committee hearing scheduled for Monday and making clear that the FBI has no jurisdiction to investigate her claim prior to the hearing.
In the letter, Grassley explains that the Senate is charged with investigating the claim under its constitutional “advise and consent” duty.
“The FBI does not make a credibility assessment of any information it receives with respect to a nominee. Nor is it tasked with investigating a matter simply because the Committee deems it important,” the letter reads. “The Constitution assigns the Senate and only the Senate with the task of advising the President on his nominee and consenting to the nomination if the circumstances merit. We have no power to commandeer an Executive Branch agency into conducting our due diligence.”
JUST IN: Chairman Grassley in letter to Dr. Ford's attorneys: "You have stated repeatedly that Dr. Ford wants to tell her story. I sincerely hope that Dr. Ford will accept my invitation to do so, either privately or publicly, on Monday." pic.twitter.com/OZ7Fo4JpKy
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 19, 2018
After initially saying Monday that her client would be willing to testify under oath, Ford’s attorney, Debra Katz, failed to respond to multiple invitations to attend the the scheduled hearing, casting doubt on whether the hearing would ultimately take place.
Katz said definitively Tuesday evening that her client would not attend the public Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for Monday and would not speak before the panel until a preliminary FBI investigation had been conducted.
Grassley then offered Wednesday to allow Ford to testify in California if that would make her more comfortable.
Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who has been particularly vocal about the importance of Ford’s testimony, said she hopes Ford reconsiders her decision not to attend Monday’s hearing in a tweet sent moments after Grassley’s letter became public.
I hope that Dr. Ford will reconsider and testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. It is my understanding that the Committee has offered to hold either a public or a private session, whichever would make her more comfortable.
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) September 19, 2018