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Brett Kavanaugh confirmation: Lack of Christine Blasey Ford testimony could push GOP

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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 06: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) presides over the third day of Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. Kavanaugh was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy on the court left by retiring Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip
Somodevilla/Getty Images


  • Republicans want Supreme Court nominee Brett
    Kavanaugh’s accuser to testify in a committee hearing scheduled
    for Monday.
  • Kavanaugh’s accuser, Prof. Christine Blasey Ford, has
    not responded to committee officials seeking her
    testimony.
  • Republicans on the fence about supporting Kavanaugh say
    they would be disappointed if Ford does not testify and fully
    expect the committee to move on in that case.

WASHINGTON — Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are
swiftly organizing a hearing for lawmakers to hear testimony from
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Prof. Christine Blasey
Ford, the woman accusing him of sexually
assaulting her
when they were both teenagers.

But while Ford has yet to accept the invite and Democrats are
advocating for a completed FBI investigation before any hearing
takes place, Republicans on the fence about Kavanaugh are already
hinting that a no-show means the process will have to go on as
planned and unlikely to nudge them toward voting against his
confirmation.

When Ford went public with her allegation that Kavanaugh held her
down and groped during a high school party in the early 1980s,
which had been previously kept secret in a letter only viewed by
a few Democratic lawmakers, a handful of Republicans requested
delaying any votes on his confirmation. They demanded to hear
from both sides in an under-oath setting.

After hours debating amongst themselves, top Republican brass
decided to host another hearing slated for Monday. But Senate
Democrats are not complying with Republicans wanting to conduct
follow-up calls with the parties involved in the burgeoning
scandal. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary
Committee, has demanded that the FBI conclude their own
investigation into the allegations, despite the fact that appears
to not be happening.

To make things more complicated, Ford and her attorney have not
responded to inquiries from Republicans on the committee. That is
where things get into a bind for Democrats who might have been
looking to court GOP senators on the fence about supporting
Kavanaugh.

“I would hope that if someone is given the opportunity to
voice a concern that they have that they would do so,” Tennessee
Sen. Bob Corker told reporters on Tuesday. “So that would be
quite something if she decided she did not want to testify and I
would assume the committee would then move on as they
should.”

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who like Corker is retiring at the end
of the year, told
CNN
he would back Republicans moving forward with the
confirmation if Ford does not talk to the committee in an
official capacity.

And both Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of
Alaska expressed concern that Ford might not show. Murkowski
said
it would be a “a very interesting and unfortunate turn of
events.”

Trump says Kavanaugh is eager to tell his side of the story

Democrats have
felt a lot more confident
in recent days that Kavanaugh’s
nomination could be toast, but that newfound optimism might
evaporate if Ford decides not to attend the hearing.

Kavanaugh, on the other hand, has been adamant about pleading his
case, according to President Donald Trump.

“We will delay the process until it’s finished out. I guess
we’ve invited everybody,” Trump said during a joint press
conference with the President of Poland on Tuesday. “I know — I
can tell you this — that
Judge 

Kavanaugh
 is anxious to
do it. I don’t know about the other party, but
Judge 

Kavanaugh
 is very
anxious to do it.”

Trump also said that he has not spoken to Kavanaugh since
the allegations surfaced.

While the GOP’s chances of confirming Kavanaugh once
appeared to be fading, they might gain new ground. And unlike
past cases where prominent figures have been under fire for
sexual misconduct allegations, like in the case of Alabama Senate
candidate Roy Moore, many Republicans are not jumping
ship.

The party is overwhelmingly standing by Kavanaugh.

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