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Lawmakers split on next steps for Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony



sunday shows kavanaugh
Nikki Haley, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Rep. Trey Gowdy all
appeared on the Sunday political shows September 23,

Screenshots via CNN, Fox,

  • Lawmakers spoke out after Christine Blasey Ford struck
    a tentative deal to testify about her allegations of sexual
    assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
  • On both sides of the aisle, officials agree Ford should
    present her account, but disagree on the accusations’ potential
    significance in the context of Kavanaugh’s potential
  • Here’s what they said on the Sunday political

Amid a tentative agreement from Christine Blasey Ford to publicly testify later this
week about her allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court
nominee Brett Kavanaugh, lawmakers expressed varied ideas about
the role her accusation should have in coming hearings.

Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her during a
high school party in the 1980s has become a major flashpoint for
Kavanaugh’s confirmation since she came forward publicly in a
Washington Post report last

Though lawmakers widely agree that Ford should be allowed to
present her account before the committee, some disagree on how
large an implication the allegations have on Kavanaugh’s
potential confirmation.

Republicans urge caution

Sen. Lindsey Graham said he feels “sorry” for Ford, but the
allegation is “too old for a criminal trial,” and lacks the
detail and documentation to condemn Kavanaugh.

“What do you expect me to do?” the South Carolina Republican
asked on “Fox News Sunday”. “What am I supposed to do? Go ahead
and ruin this guy’s life? I don’t know when it happened I don’t
where it happened and everybody being named in regard to being
there said it didn’t happen.”

Ford told the Post a “stumbling drunk” Kavanaugh pinned her
down and groped her at a high-school party in the 1980s while his
friend watched. Kavanaugh categorically denied the account.

Graham continued: “I’m just being honest, unless there’s
something more, no I’m not going to ruin Judge Kavanaugh’s life
over this. But [Ford] should come forward, she should have her
say, she will be respectfully treated.”

In response to Ford’s delayed decision to report the assault,
United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said people shouldn’t blame
or “second guess” Ford.

“Accusers go through a lot of trauma,” Haley said on CNN’s “State
of the Union” “Some handle it one way and some handle it another
way. Regardless, it’s not something we want to do to blame the
accuser or try and second guess the accuser.”

She continued: “We don’t know the situation she was going through
35 years ago. We don’t know the circumstances.”

Haley was speaking days after President Donald Trump tweeted if the assault was “as
bad as [Ford] says, charges would have been immediately filed.”

“At the same time, I think the accused deserves to be heard,”
Haley said of Kavanaugh. “I think that’s going to happen, which
is great. The Senate has a huge responsibility here. They have to
make sure it’s fair. They have to make sure it’s responsible. And
they have to take the politics out.”

Sen. David Perdue of Georgia said there was “absolutely no rush
to judgment” in processing Ford’s accusation, and he was
confident Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley
would “take his time” and handle coming hearings to benefit all

“Well look, these are serious allegations,” Perdue said on “Meet the
. “I hope Dr. Ford can be put in a comfortable
situation where she can provide the information. … My view is
that we should hear from both parties in a timely manner. …
It’s time to have this hearing and get it before the American

Grassley granted Ford a one-day extension to decide on testifying
Friday, and tweeted a series of gripes
about the request, leading some to conclude the committee is
not genuinely interested in Ford’s story.

Ford said last week an FBI investigation should be the
“first step”
before she testifies, which some lawmakers
rebuked on Sunday.

Rep. Trey Gowdy said an investigation would be unproductive and
Ford should be heard before the committee, members of which
should withhold judgment before her testimony.

“I’m really disappointed when I hear senators say they either
believe or don’t believe witnesses that they have never
interviewed or heard from,” he said.

Gowdy added the FBI would only identify other witnesses, but
ultimately wouldn’t be helpful, as they aren’t “human

Democrats defend Ford

California Rep. Anna Eshoo, to whom Ford first made the
“wrenching” allegations in July, said lawmakers and voters should
take Ford’s accusation and coming testimony seriously.

“This is an intelligent woman,” Eshoo said on CBS’s “Face the
Nation.” “This is not a woman that is confused, mixed up. This is
something she has carried with her, just as many victims
do. She will speak clearly, share her story, and I think the
American people need to listen.”

Judiciary Committee member Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii said she
has doubted Kavanaugh’s credibility throughout the confirmation
process, and takes that into account in weighing his categorical

“I put his denial in the context of everything that I know about
him in terms of how he approaches his cases. His credibility is
already very questionable in my mind, and in the minds of a lot
of my fellow Judiciary Committee members,” Hirono said on CNN’s
“State of the Union.”

Top Senate Judiciary Committee Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin said on
ABC’s “This Week” that doubts about Ford’s credibility were
unwarranted, and her coming forward earns both her and Kavanaugh
a “fair hearing.”

“What in the hell did she have to gain by doing this?” Durbin
asked. “At this point, she’s faced death threats. Her family has
been moved out of their home. They’re worried about the safety of
their children. They’re worried about security at the hearing.”

Durbin continued: “I believe that not only Judge Kavanaugh, but
certainly Dr. Ford deserves a fair hearing.”

Kavanaugh’s nomination had already faced resistance
from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary
 and scores of protesters who
have expressed concerns over his record on issues such as
abortion and gun control.

A Fox News poll released
Sunday found falling support for Kavanaugh, with 40% of voters
supporting confirmation and 50% opposing. A poll from last month
found views split at 45%/46%.

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