Republicans to Kavanaugh accuser: Reach deal or panel votes on Monday

Posted September 22, 2018

President Donald Trump has claimed that women support his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, hours after angering female lawmakers in his own party by questioning accuser Christine Blasey Ford's allegations.

The comment came as the California psychology professor's attorneys sought agreement from Republicans on terms under which she might testify at a Judiciary Committee hearing next week.

Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican who earlier this week suggested Ford ought to testify next Monday, said in an interview Friday she was "appalled by the president's tweet".

The panel rejected some of the other demands, including that Kavanaugh testify first, that the committee call additional witnesses that Ford requests, and that only senators be allowed to ask questions.

Ms Ford's attorney, Debra Katz, said Ms Ford couldn't appear on Monday as Mr Grassley had planned and proposed testifying on Thursday instead, according to a Senate aide familiar with the negotiations.

The Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Judge Kavanaugh had originally been scheduled for Thursday of this week.

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But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told evangelical leaders at Friday's annual Values Voter Summit in DC to "keep the faith".

On "America's Newsroom" on Friday, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said Ford should be given the opportunity to go on the record in a congressional hearing, but Republicans will make sure that hearing is not delayed. Her lawyers say she's relocated her family due to death threats.

Trump spent most of the week unusually restrained and heeding the tone set publicly by counselor Kellyanne Conway. Ford's lawyers and Democrats on the panel want the FBI to investigate the charges.

"I have no doubt that, if the attack on Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents", Mr Trump wrote.

Some have said there should not be a vote on his confirmation until Prof Ford has been heard. While many Republicans appear eager to quickly push through Kavanaugh's would-be lifetime appointment, many Democrats are calling for further examination of Ford's allegation before his nomination process continues. "I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!" wrote Mr. Trump, who had been uncharacteristically restrained in prior days.

In response to a question she said she would never hire someone credibly accused of sexual assault, "if it's credible, of course not".

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"The president doesn't need anybody to tell him".

While Kavanaugh has seen his near coronation transformed into a fight for his basic reputation, Ford has found herself thrown into the harsh light of an all-out Washington political fight. But here's what I want to tell you.

Republicans now have the votes to approve Kavanaugh, but his nomination could be sunk if only a few Republicans dissent.

Inside the Senate, split 51-49, only six Republicans are women.

But they're eager to avoid the spectacle of 11 Republican men cross-examining a woman who says she's been victimized by a man. Using a combination of Justice Department statistics and Census Bureau surveys, the government says fewer than 1 in 4 rapes and sexual assaults were reported to police in 2016. "I say, let her say what she has to say".

Trump's outburst saw a new #MeToo era hashtag storm the internet, with #WhyIDidntReport the top trending conversation starter on US Twitter Friday, as people, mostly women, vented outrage over past transgressions and voiced solidarity with Ford.

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