Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, wants the FBI to investigate her allegation as a “first step” before she testifies to the Senate judiciary committee – a demand Republicans seem unwilling to meet.
In a letter to the committee on Tuesday night, Ford’s attorneys in effect eliminated the possibility that she will appear at a high-stakes public hearing scheduled for Monday that will likely determine the fate of Kavanaugh’s nomination.
The attempt to postpone the hearing injected further confusion into an already chaotic and partisan process, setting the stage for an extraordinary showdown over Donald Trump’s second supreme court nominee.
Ford’s lawyers wrote in a letter to the panel on Tuesday night: “A full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions.”
In response, Republican Chuck Grassley, the committee chair, stressed his position that Ford “deserves to be heard” and that the invitation to testify on Monday “still stands”.
Christine Blasey Ford told the Washington Post Mr Kavanaugh had pinned her to a bed and tried to undress her when they were both teenagers. Mrs Ford said she believed the incident happened in 1982, when she was 15 and Mr Kavanaugh was 17.
Mr Kavanaugh denied the allegations when they first surfaced last week.
The top members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are now expected to speak to both Mr Kavanaugh and Mrs Ford.
Mrs Ford, a professor of psychology at Palo Alto University, told the Post she had decided to go public as her privacy was “being chipped away”.
She said she first approached Democratic lawmakers with her allegations in July, shortly after Mr Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh revived the pain of the memory.
If chosen for the lifetime appointment, Mr Kavanaugh would be expected to tilt the Supreme Court’s balance to the right.
The conservative appeals court judge is strongly opposed by some Democrats for his views, such as on abortion and executive power. It is surmised that Trump picked Kavanaugh as he has said in the past that the president could not be investigated while in office.
The incident allegedly happened at a gathering of teenagers at a house, when Mr Kavanaugh and a friend allegedly “corralled” her into a bedroom. Mr Kavanaugh and his friend were both drunk, she says.
In the words of the Washington Post, “While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it.
“When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.”
Mrs Ford, 51, is further quoted as saying that she managed to break free.
“I thought he [Kavanaugh] might inadvertently kill me,” she told the Washington Post.
Mr Kavanaugh issued his denial last week: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time”.
Watch this space as Rachel says! The live hearings and possible Ford testimony will be shown here live on LNC.