Published: Sat, September 22, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump challenges Kavanaugh accuser's credibility, dividing Republicans

Trump challenges Kavanaugh accuser's credibility, dividing Republicans

The woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teens says she is willing to testify about the incident if a number of terms are met.

California professor Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault in an incident that she said took place in the early 1980s when the two were high school students.

Kavanaugh, the 53-year-old District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals judge, has repeatedly denied the accusation from his teenage years. Ford spent the last week asking the Federal Bureau of Investigation to look into her claims ahead of her congressional testimony, though it's now unclear whether today's meeting will touch upon that subject.

Whelan laid out his theory on Twitter, claiming Kavanaugh is a victim of mistaken identity and posting a picture of a classmate he claims Ford mixed up with the judge. Kavanaugh then allegedly locked the door, put on loud music to muffle any sounds, and reportedly attempted to remove Ford's clothing.

Trump's Friday tweets contrasted to comments earlier in the week when he said Ford should be heard, even if it meant a delay in the confirmation process.

No decisions have been made on if Ford's requests will be honored. "They have to get on with it".

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley had scheduled a hearing for Monday, and said if Ford wanted to appear she must notify the committee by 10 a.m. on Friday.

However, Ms Katz suggested there appeared to be room for negotiation when she sent a letter to the committee after the phone call, saying: "The only issue I said was a deal breaker was that Dr Ford can not appear at a hearing on Monday". Kavanaugh denies the allegation.

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Ford told The Washington Post she told no one at the time what had happened to her, and was terrified of punishment from her parents if they realized she had been at a party where underage drinking was happening.

The preference would be for Ford to testify next Thursday, and she doesn't want Kavanaugh in the same room, her attorney told Judiciary Committee staff in a 30-minute call that also touched on security concerns and others issues, according to a Senate aide who wasn't authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Senate panel must approve Kavanaugh's confirmation before a full vote by the Senate, where Republicans hold a 51-49 majority. "Number two, I think President Trump's tweet is exactly the reason why victims don't report to law enforcement - because victims are anxious about whether or not they will be believed".

Committee Democrats also asked Grassley to share with them any transcripts from interviews with anyone regarding Blasey Ford's accusations. These are all moves that outside experts say make her story credible, and yet here is the most powerful politician in the Senate appearing to brush all of that aside because he wants to "do [his] job".

They're standing by President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Ford's team has sought guarantees of her safety because of death threats.

In a quick session with reporters at the Values Voter Summit on Friday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said that if Democrats were to succeed in delaying the vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until the midterm elections in November, that would help Republicans win elections. "What's going on?" But, he also said that Dr. Ford should "have her say, and let's see how it all works out". Although they are employing a more gentle touch, Republican members of the Committee are doing to Dr Ford what they did to Anita Hill, 27 years ago, when they refused to allow three independent witnesses to testify in support of Hill's version of events. "So we'll let it play out, and I think everything's going to be just fine". Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she was appalled by Trump's tweet. The Judiciary Committee offered to send its investigators out to talk privately with Ford at a place where she's comfortable.

For Trump, approval of Kavanaugh would cement conservative control of the Supreme Court and advance a White House effort to tilt the American judiciary more to the right.

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