Kavanaugh should NOT be investigated by the FBI over sex attack claims

President Trump said Tuesday that he has not talked to his Supreme Court nominee since he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman when he was a teen. 

‘Specifically I haven’t wanted to, I think its something that he will do very well. I haven’t wanted to speak with Judge Kavanaugh because I know somebody will ask what you asked me which is have you spoken to him. Specifically I thought it would be a good thing not to, he can handle himself better than anybody he’s a very outstanding man,’ Trump on Tuesday said.

The president also rejected calls from Democrats for the FBI to investigate the matter on the grounds that the bureau doesn’t want to. 

‘I don’t think the FBI should be involved because they don’t want to be involved, if they wanted to be I would certainly do that. As you say, this is not really their thing. The Senators will do a good job,’ he stated.

President Trump said Tuesday that he has not talked to his Supreme Court nominee since he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman when he was a teen

President Trump said Tuesday that he has not talked to his Supreme Court nominee since he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman when he was a teen

President Trump said Tuesday that he has not talked to his Supreme Court nominee since he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman when he was a teen

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford are scheduled to go head-to-head in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.

The hearing sets up a potential show down on Capitol Hill, the likes of which have not been seen since Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill testified in 1991 after she accused him of sexual harassment. Thomas was ultimately confirmed after a bitter and bruising battle.

But the Kavanaugh-Ford hearing comes more than 25 years later, amid the #metoo movement, and when women have been energized after the election of Donald Trump as president. 

Republicans were under heavy political pressure – including some from members of their own party – to hold a public hearing and they finally caved on the issue Monday evening. 

Key votes for the GOP – including Sens. Susan Collins, Jeff Flake and Lisa Murkowski – were calling for a delay after Ford publicly identified herself in an explosive Washington Post interview on Sunday. 

Republicans can only afford to lose one of of their own should every Democrat vote no on Kavanaugh. 

Brett Kavanaugh arrives at White House on Monday morning

Brett Kavanaugh arrives at White House on Monday morning

Brett Kavanaugh arrives at White House on Monday morning

Kavanaugh released a new statement denying allegation and said he's willing to testify before Senate again

Kavanaugh released a new statement denying allegation and said he's willing to testify before Senate again

Kavanaugh released a new statement denying allegation and said he’s willing to testify before Senate again

The hearing date also comes as Kavanaugh is denying he was at the high school party in question where Ford said he attempted to rape her as a friend watched when they were both students in suburban Washington D.C. during the 1980s.

Kavanaugh spoke with Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, for about 10 minutes Monday afternoon, where Kavanaugh denied to him that he was at the high school-era party in question, a Hatch aide told NBC News.

Hatch says Kavanaugh is ‘honest’ and ‘straightforward,’ and he thinks woman who has brought accusation is ‘mixed up.’ 

Kavanaugh is in the fight for his judicial life as he tries to salvage his Supreme Court nomination. He met withe White House legal team Monday morning, put out a new statement where he offered to speak to the judiciary panel again, and is calling key senators ahead of scheduled Thursday vote on his nomination. 

That vote is postponed now in the wake of the hearing date. His nomination was seen as losing momentum after several Republican senators said they wanted to hear what Ford had to say. 

A hearing on Monday, September 24, at 10 am would still give the judiciary committee and the full Senate time to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination before the Supreme Court starts its new term on Oct. 1.

Hatch past defenses 

 Sen. Orrin Hatch, the senior senator from Utah, also originally defended his former chief of staff Rob Porter against allegations of domestic abuse from his former wives.

Hatch told DailyMail.com, which broke the story on Porter, that his former aide turned White House staff secretary was ‘kind and considerate towards all.’

He later apologized for defending him and wrote letters of apology to Porter’s former wives.

He was also a stark defender of Justice Clarence Thomas during his 1991 confirmation hearing when he was accused by Anita Hill of sexual harassment. 

In 2010, when it was revealed Thomas’ wife called Hill and asked her to apologize to her husband, Hatch agreed that Hill should do so.

‘People have got to understand that Justice Thomas and his wife are good honest people who deserve an apology!’ he tweeted at the time.  

Republican senators have long had the goal of getting Kavanaugh, who is expected to move the high court to the right in his replacement of Justice Anthony Kennedy – who was often a swing vote on social issues – in place in time for the new term. 

Meanwhile, the White House issued its third statement of the day on the matter Monday evening, saying Kavanugh is ready to testify at a moment’s notice.

‘Judge Kavanaugh looks forward to a hearing where he can clear his name of this false allegation. He stands ready to testify tomorrow if the Senate is ready to hear him,’  White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement.

And a key Republican senator warned Kavanaugh if he lied, he’s out.

‘Obviously if Judge Kavanaugh has lied about what happened, that would be disqualifying,’ Sen. Susan Collins said Monday afternoon on Capitol Hill.

Republicans have a 51-seat majority in the Senate. If all Democrats vote no on Kavanaugh they can only lose one senator. 

GOP Sen. Jeff Flake had also expressed doubt about his vote, saying he wants to hear from Ford.

‘If they push forward without any attempt with hearing what she’s had to say, I’m not comfortable voting yes,’ Flake toldPolitico on Sunday. 

Democrats have already grilled Kavanaugh once and will likely do so again, particularly honing in on his argument he was not at the party in question.

Hatch told CNN that Kavanaugh told him Ford may be mistaking him for someone else – and that he wasn’t even at the party in question. 

And a Hatch spokesperson told ABC News of Kavanaugh: ‘He told Senator Hatch he was not at a party like the one she describes, and that Dr. Ford, who acknowledged to the Washington Post that she ‘did not remember some key details of the incident,’ may be mistaking him for someone else.’  

Kavanaugh spoke to judiciary committee staff at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, shortly before next week’s hearing was announced.

Democratic staff skipped the call in protest. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the panel, had objected to a phone call given on public hearing had been scheduled at that time.

‘With only a few hours’ notice and over the objections of Ranking Member Feinstein, Judiciary Committee Republicans scheduled a staff-level phone call with Brett Kavanaugh concerning allegations that he sexually assaulted a young woman,’ Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee said in a joint statement.

‘In view of the enormity and seriousness of these allegations, a staff-only phone call behind closed doors is unacceptable and Democratic staff will not participate. This isn’t how things should be done and is in complete violation of how this committee worked in the past.’

Christine Blasey Ford in her Freshman Year at Holton Arms School

Christine Blasey Ford in her Freshman Year at Holton Arms School

Christine Blasey Ford in her Freshman Year at Holton Arms School

'Obviously if Judge Kavanaugh has lied about what happened, that would be disqualifying,' Sen. Susan Collins said

'Obviously if Judge Kavanaugh has lied about what happened, that would be disqualifying,' Sen. Susan Collins said

‘Obviously if Judge Kavanaugh has lied about what happened, that would be disqualifying,’ Sen. Susan Collins said

Ford, now a 51-year-old college professor at Palo Alto University, accused Kavanaugh of attacking her and attempting to rape her when she was 15 years old and at a teenage party.

She claims Kavanaugh, who was 17 at the time, held her down on a bed in a locked room while he covered her mouth and tried to force himself on her.

Mark Judge, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s who Ford says was in the room when the attack happened, strongly denied witnessing at attempted assault.

‘It’s just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way,’ Judge told The Weekly Standard on Friday.

He added that he had never seen boys ‘rough-housing’ with his female peers from other schools in ways that might have been interpreted negatively: ‘I don’t remember any of that stuff going on with girls.’ 

Judge also did not deny being at the party in question to the New York Times, saying he never saw the incident in question.

‘I never saw anything like what was described,’ Judge said.

Mark Judge has been identified as Brett Kavanaugh's friend at the incident in question

Mark Judge has been identified as Brett Kavanaugh's friend at the incident in question

Mark Judge has been identified as Brett Kavanaugh’s friend at the incident in question

Christine Blasey (now Ford) in her high school yearbook 

Christine Blasey (now Ford) in her high school yearbook 

Christine Blasey (now Ford) in her high school yearbook 

Brett Kavanaugh in his high school yearbook

Brett Kavanaugh in his high school yearbook

Brett Kavanaugh in his high school yearbook

President Donald Trump is also defending his nominee.

He’s ‘never even had a little blemish on his record,’ he said at the White House Monday afternoon.

He has not spoken with Kavanaugh but did say he wants to ‘hear everybody out.’  

‘We want to go through a full process. I have great confidence in the U.S. Senate and in their procedures and what they’re doing and I think that’s probably what they’re going to do. They’ll go through a process and hear everybody out. I think it’s important. I believe they think it’s important,’ Trump said.

The president also indicated he’d be fine if there was a delay in moving Kavanaugh’s confirmation forward. 

‘If it takes a little delay it’ll take a little delay. It shouldn’t certainly be very much,’ he said. 

‘I’m sure it will work out very well,’ he added. ‘You’re talking about an individual who is as high a quality individual as you will ever see.’

Trump noted: ‘I think he’s very much on track. If they delay a little bit just to make sure everbody’s happy – they want to be happy. I can tell you the Republican senators want to be a hundred percent happy themselves. They’re doing it very very professionally.’

He also echoed Republican senators in saying Democrats should have brought this up sooner in the process.

‘I wish the Democrats could have done this a lot sooner, because they had this information for many months. And they shouldn’t have waited til literally the last days. They should have done it a lot sooner. But with all of that being said we want to go through the process. One thing I will say is that as I understand it, Judge Kavanaugh spent quite a bit of time with Senator Feinstein and it wasn’t even brought up at that meeting and she had this information. So you would have thought certainly that she would have brought it up at the meeting – not wait til everything’s finished and then have to start a process all over again,’ he said.

Asked if Kavanaugh offered to withdraw his nomination, Trump scoffed: ‘What a ridiculous question.’ 

President Trump defended his nominee Brett Kavanaugh but said he'd be fine with a delay in the confirmation process

President Trump defended his nominee Brett Kavanaugh but said he'd be fine with a delay in the confirmation process

President Trump defended his nominee Brett Kavanaugh but said he’d be fine with a delay in the confirmation process

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who will schedule Kavanaugh's vote on the Senate floor, talked about the Senate process rather than the allegations

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who will schedule Kavanaugh's vote on the Senate floor, talked about the Senate process rather than the allegations

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who will schedule Kavanaugh’s vote on the Senate floor, talked about the Senate process rather than the allegations

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who will schedule Kavanaugh’s vote on the Senate floor, talked about the Senate process rather than the allegations on Monday afternoon.

He slammed Democrats for bringing it ‘forward at the last minute in irregular manner’ in remarks on the Senate floor.

He also criticized Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein for keeping it a ‘secret until the 11th hour.’   

Kavanaugh had said Monday morning he is willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in the wake of Ford’s public accusations against him, noting that before she identified herself, ‘I had no idea who was making this accusation.’

He again denied the charge against him as he desperately works to save his nomination. 

‘This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes—to her or to anyone,’ Kavanaugh said in a statement provided by the White House. 

He was spotted arriving at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Monday morning, shortly after 10 am ET, stepping out of black SUV and going in a side entrance.

He was not meeting with Trump, White House spokesman Raj Shah said.

He is meeting with the White House legal team to prepare for potential interviews or questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, CNN reported.

Kavanaugh said he ‘had no idea’ who made the allegation until Ford identified herself Sunday in a bombshell Washington Post interview.

‘Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday,’ he noted.

He added: ‘I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity.’ 

President Donald Trump defended Kavanaugh at the White House on Monday: He's 'never even had a little blemish on his record'

President Donald Trump defended Kavanaugh at the White House on Monday: He's 'never even had a little blemish on his record'

President Donald Trump defended Kavanaugh at the White House on Monday: He’s ‘never even had a little blemish on his record’

Sen. Orrin Hatch is defending Kavanaugh, seen here meeting with him in July in his Senate office shortly after he was nominated to the Supreme Court

Sen. Orrin Hatch is defending Kavanaugh, seen here meeting with him in July in his Senate office shortly after he was nominated to the Supreme Court

Sen. Orrin Hatch is defending Kavanaugh, seen here meeting with him in July in his Senate office shortly after he was nominated to the Supreme Court

Republican leaders in the Senate hope to have Kavanaugh confirmed by Oct. 1, which is the starting date for the Supreme Court’s fall turn.

The party is facing additional pressure from a ticking clock: if Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote is delayed until after the election, Democrats could be in control of the Senate.  

Additionally Kavanaugh is said to have hired Beth Wilkinson, of the law firm Wilkinson Walsh and Eskovitz, to be his attorney,CNN reported. 

However, the White House is in a bit of a catch-22 situation: if they go negative on Ford they could alienate two of the key Republican votes in the Senate – female senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.

Additionally, they could fire up women, many of whom were angered and motivated in the wake of Trump’s election, which could backfire on the party in the midterms.

After Clarence Thomas was confirmed in 1991 – a process which saw him fight off sexual harassment allegations from Anita Hill – a then-record number of Democratic women were elected to the Senate in 1992, in what was dubbed ‘The Year of the Woman.’  

Ford is willing to testify before the Senate on her allegation that Kavanaugh tried to rape her in high school, her attorney revealed on Monday morning.

‘She’s willing to do whatever it takes to get her story forth, yes,’ her attorney Debra Katz told NBC’s ‘Today Show’ on Monday morning.

Katz, who made the rounds of the morning news shows to talk about the bombshell allegations against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, told ‘CBS This Morning’ Ford is ‘willing to do what she needs to do.’

‘My client will do whatever is necessary to make sure that the Senate Judiciary Committee has the full story and the full set of allegations to allow them to make a fully informed decision,’ she said. ‘She’s willing to do what she needs to do.’  

Christine Ford's lawyer said she is willing to testify before the Senae

Christine Ford's lawyer said she is willing to testify before the Senae

Christine Ford’s lawyer said she is willing to testify before the Senae

Attorney Debra Katz, who represents Christine Blasey Ford, says her client believes the alleged attack by Brett Kavanaugh was 'attempted rape'

Attorney Debra Katz, who represents Christine Blasey Ford, says her client believes the alleged attack by Brett Kavanaugh was 'attempted rape'

Attorney Debra Katz, who represents Christine Blasey Ford, says her client believes the alleged attack by Brett Kavanaugh was ‘attempted rape’

Katz did express concern Ford would be grilled by Republicans if she appears.

‘They intend to grill her,’ she said on CBS. ‘This is not an exercise that is designed to get at the truth. This is an exercise that’s designed to terrify somebody that’s already been traumatized.’ 

However, neither Ford nor Katz have heard from any lawmakers.

‘We have heard from nobody,’ Katz told CNN’s ‘New Day.’ 

‘We’ve seen various statements made on television, and statements that are being banded about for political reason, but no one’s asked her, no.’ 

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Ford deserves to be heard but earlier on Monday he was still pushing for phone calls.

‘Anyone who comes forward as Dr. Ford has deserves to be heard, so I will continue working on a way to hear her out in an appropriate, precedented and respectful manner,’ he said in a statement Monday afternoon.

He noted the ‘standard procedure’ is ‘separate follow up calls with the relevant parties.’ 

‘In this case, that would entail phone calls with at least Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford. Consistent with that practice, I asked Senator Feinstein’s office yesterday to join me in scheduling these follow-ups. Thus far, they have refused. But as a necessary step in evaluating these claims, I’ll continue working to set them up,’ Grassley noted.

He also took another shot at Feinstein for holding onto the information for so long. 

‘Unfortunately, committee Republicans have only known this person’s identity from news reports for less than 24 hours and known about her allegations for less than a week. Senator Feinstein, on the other hand, has had this information for many weeks and deprived her colleagues of the information necessary to do our jobs. The Minority withheld even the anonymous allegations for six weeks, only to later decide that they were serious enough to investigate on the eve of the committee vote, after the vetting process had been completed,’ Grassley said. 

He also said Ford’s attorney could have approached him on the matter. 

‘Over my nearly four decades in the Senate I have worked diligently to protect whistleblowers and get to the bottom of any issue. Dr. Ford’s attorney could have approached my office, while keeping her client confidential and anonymous, so that these allegations could be thoroughly investigated. Nevertheless, we are working diligently to get to the bottom of these claims,’ he said.

The White House also issued a fresh denial on the allegations against Kavanaugh after Katz’s morning show blitz to tell Ford’s side of the story.

‘On Friday, Judge Kavanaugh ‘categorically and unequivocally’ denied this allegation. This has not changed. Judge Kavanaugh and the White House both stand by that statement,’ White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement on Monday morning.

The White House has held the same firm line on the allegations against Trump’s nominee since reports of a possible #metoo situation involving Kavanaugh surfaced.

In a interview in The Washington Post on Sunday, Ford detailed an alleged attack on her committed by Kavanaugh when the two were high school students in suburban Maryland.

Ford believes the attack was ‘attempted rape,’ Katz said on ‘The Today Show.’

‘She clearly considers this an attempted rape,’ Katz said of Ford’s view on the incident.

‘She believes if it were not for the severe intoxication of Brett Kavanaugh, she would have been raped,’ Katz added. 

Katz offered more details to CNN.

‘The reason she thought he might inadvertently kill her is because he had her hand over his mouth and she was having a hard time breathing, and he was so inebriated, and because of that, his inability to take her clothes off, otherwise he would have raped her,’ she told ‘New Day.’

Ford described to The Washington Post in detail how, when she was at a teenage party in the 1980s, Kavanaugh and a friend followed her upstairs when she went to the bathroom and pushed her into a bedroom. 

She detailed how Kavanaugh alleged held her down, tried to rip off her swimsuit, and groped her.

She said she escaped when his friend, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them.

‘I thought he might inadvertently kill me,’ she told the newspaper. 

But Katz said her client was not taking a position on whether or not Kavanaugh should withdraw his nomination to the high court. 

The White House issued a fresh denial from Brett Kavanaugh on the allegation

The White House issued a fresh denial from Brett Kavanaugh on the allegation

The White House issued a fresh denial from Brett Kavanaugh on the allegation

‘She’s not taking a position on this. She thinks these allegations bear on his character and his fitness. And the denials, of course, also bear on his character and fitness,’ the lawyer said on ‘The Today Show.’

She added: ‘This is not a politically-motivated action. She was reluctant to come forward. And she was outed after she had made the decision not to come forward.’ 

Katz said Ford has been threatened.

‘She did receive a lot of very vicious, sexually violent e-mails from total changers. Of course, that’s extremely unsettling,’ she said.

Katz told CNN of Ford: ‘She is already getting a lot of hostile threats and recrimination, and that’s, of course, quite disturbing and unfortunate.’

And White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Ford should not be insulted and that her allegations should be heard.

‘This woman should not be insulted and she should not be ignored,’ Conway said on ‘Fox & Friends’ Monday morning. 

She said both Ford and Kavanaugh should be heard from again. 

‘Allowing this woman to be heard in sworn testimony, allowing Judge Kavanaugh to be heard in sworn testimony about these specific allegations would be added to the very considerable mountain of evidence and considerations that folks will have when they weigh whether or not to vote for judge Kavanaugh to be on the Supreme Court,’ she noted. 

‘So, let me make very clear. I have spoken with the president. I have spoken with Sen. Graham and others. This woman will be heard,’ Conway said.

But, she reminded, Kavanaugh has been through multiple background checks. 

‘Judge Kavanaugh is a man of character and integrity who has been through six FBI vettings, which can I tell you first hand are significant and thorough. He also has been lauded by women from every different aspect of his life. And this is significant. This is very significant for a man of character and integrity to be spoken about so highly by women who maybe didn’t vote for President Trump,’ Conway added.  

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary panel, is under pressure to delay Thursday's vote

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary panel, is under pressure to delay Thursday's vote

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary panel, is under pressure to delay Thursday’s vote

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has called for a delay

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has called for a delay

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has called for a delay

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, whose vote could make or break Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, is indicating he would vote no on the nominee unless he hears from Christine Blasey Ford

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, whose vote could make or break Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, is indicating he would vote no on the nominee unless he hears from Christine Blasey Ford

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, whose vote could make or break Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, is indicating he would vote no on the nominee unless he hears from Christine Blasey Ford

All 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Grassley on Monday asking for Thursday’s vote to be postponed and for the FBI to reopen its investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh. 

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a key vote for the GOP, says the judiciary committee ‘might’ need to consider delaying a vote on Kavanaugh. 

‘Well, I think that might be something they might have to consider, at least having that discussion,’ Murkowski told CNN late Sunday night. 

‘This is not something that came up during the hearings. The hearings are now over, and if there is real substance to this, it demands a response. That may be something the committee needs to look into,’ she said. 

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, whose vote could make or break Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, indicatedhe would vote no on the nominee unless he hears from Ford.

Flake, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, would be the key vote on a committee split between 11 Republicans and ten Democrats.

‘If they push forward without any attempt with hearing what she’s had to say, I’m not comfortable voting yes,’ Flake, who is retiring from the Senate this year, told Politico

‘We need to hear from her. And I don’t think I’m alone in this,’ he said.  

If Flake votes no in committee, given the Democratic opposition, it would be a tie-vote and that means Kavanaugh would not have the committee’s recommendation to be confirmed.

His nomination could still be brought to a vote to the Senate floor but, given the Republicans 51-seat majority, if Flake votes no again, the GOP cannot lose a single other senator if all Democrats vote no.  

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called on Grassley to postpone Thursday’s vote until the allegations are investigated.

‘Senator Grassley must postpone the vote until, at a very minimum, these serious and credible allegations are thoroughly investigated. For too long, when woman have made serious allegations of abuse, they have been ignored. That cannot happen in this case,’ he said in a statement.

‘To railroad a vote now would be an insult to the women of America and the integrity of the Supreme Court,’ he added. 

Sen. Susan Collins, a key GOP vote for Brett Kavanaugh's nomination, said she will be 'talking with my colleagues' about whether Thursday's committee vote should go forward

Sen. Susan Collins, a key GOP vote for Brett Kavanaugh's nomination, said she will be 'talking with my colleagues' about whether Thursday's committee vote should go forward

Sen. Susan Collins, a key GOP vote for Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, said she will be ‘talking with my colleagues’ about whether Thursday’s committee vote should go forward

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a key vote for the GOP, says the judiciary committee 'might' need to consider delaying a vote on Kavanaugh

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a key vote for the GOP, says the judiciary committee 'might' need to consider delaying a vote on Kavanaugh

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a key vote for the GOP, says the judiciary committee ‘might’ need to consider delaying a vote on Kavanaugh

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said he was willing to have Ford testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee but he wants it done before Thursday’s scheduled vote.

‘If (Christine Blasley) Ford wishes to provide information to the committee, I would gladly listen to what she has to say and compare that against all other information we have received about Judge Kavanaugh,’ Graham said in a statement on Sunday.

‘If the committee is to hear from Ms. Ford, it should be done immediately so the process can continue as scheduled,’ he added. 

Republican Sen. Bob Corker made a similar statement to Graham’s to Politico, saying a delay ‘would be best for all involved, including the nominee.’

Additionally, two of the other key Republican votes in the Senate are women – Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins – neither of whom face voters this year and both of whom said they are with holding judgement of Kavanaugh until after his confirmation hearing is concluded. 

Collins told CNN Sunday evening that she’s ‘very surprised’ about the Kavanaugh allegation and ‘it’s an issue that I brought up with him last Friday and he denied’ it. 

She later said she wants both Kavanaugh and Ford to testify before the judiciary panel. 

Senators’ stance on Kavanaugh vote schedule for Thursday

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote Thursday on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Both Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Ford have expressed their willingness to testify publicly before the panel. 

Here is where key senators stand on the nomination:

Republicans

 Sen. Jeff Flake, a member of the judiciary panel, wants to hear from Ford: ‘If they push forward without any attempt with hearing what she’s had to say, I’m not comfortable voting yes,’ Flake told Politico. ‘We need to hear from her. And I don’t think I’m alone in this,’ he said.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a key vote for the GOP in a floor vote, says the judiciary committee ‘might’ need to consider delaying a vote on Kavanaugh. ‘Well, I think that might be something they might have to consider, at least having that discussion,’ Murkowski told CNN late Sunday night. 

Sen. Susan Collins, another key GOP vote in a floor fight, wants to hear from them: ‘Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh should both testify under oath before the Judiciary Committee,’ she tweeted on Monday. 

Sen. Ted Cruz, who sits on the judiciary panel, called for a public hearing: ‘The accuser deserves a full opportunity to tell her story to the judiciary committee and Judge Kavanaugh deserves a full opportunity to defend himself’ publicly.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said he was willing to have Ford testify before the committee but he wants it done before Thursday’s scheduled vote. ‘If the committee is to hear from Ms. Ford, it should be done immediately so the process can continue as scheduled,’ he said in a statement Sunday night.

Republican Sen. Bob Corker made a similar statement to Graham’s to Politico, saying a delay in a vote ‘would be best for all involved, including the nominee.’   

Sen. Roy Blunt also called for a delay in Thursday’s vote: ‘There are serious allegations that need to be looked at closely by the committee before any action is taken,’ he told the Kansas City Star. 

Sen. Ron Johnson said both Kavanaugh and Ford should be heard from: ‘Now the accuser has come forward and apparently she wants to tell her story and I think the Senate Judiciary Committee will certainly listen to her,’ he told WTMJ-AM radio. ‘And I think it’s very appropriate that they do. I think it’s also appropriate that they listen to what Brett Kavanaugh has to say as well.’ 

Republicans and the White House are in a bit of a catch-22 situation: if they go negative on Ford they could alienate two of the key Republican votes in the Senate – female senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins – they need for confirmation.

Additionally, they could fire up women, many of whom were angered and motivated in the wake of Trump’s election, which could backfire on the party in the midterms. 

Plus the GOP has a 51-seat majority in the Senate. If all Democrats vote no, they can only lose one senator in order to approve Kavanaugh.

Democrats

The White House was hoping to pick up some Democratic votes – particularly Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota – all of whom voted for Trump’s first nominee Neil Gorsuch and who face voters this fall in their home states, which the president carried in the 2016 election. 

Also worth watching are Senators Jon Tester of Montana and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, both of whom are in tough re-election contests in states Trump carried in 2016.

Sen. Joe Manchin tweeted he wants to hear from them: ‘Professor Christine Blasey Ford deserves to be heard and Judge Kavanaugh deserves a chance to clear his name. Both have said they are willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and I hope they will be given the opportunity to do that as quickly as possible.’

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp wants to hear from Ford: ‘This is a very serious allegation which should be thoroughly investigated, and it’s up to the Senate Judiciary Committee to do just that. Prof. Ford should be given an opportunity to testify before the committee and she is willing to do so.’

Sen. Joe Donnelly called for the vote to be postponed: ‘The allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh are serious and merit further review. Given the nature of these allegations, and the number of outstanding questions, I believe the Judiciary Committee should hold off on Thursday’s scheduled vote.’

Sen. Claire McCaskill wants an investigation: ‘I am deeply troubled by these allegations. They should be examined thoroughly and fairly by the Judiciary Committee without any artificial timeline.’

Sen. Jon Tester said he wants to meet with Kavanaugh: ‘I agree with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle that we need to get the facts about these serious allegations. I take my Constitutional duty to screen Supreme Court nominees very seriously, and I’ll keep trying to get a meeting with Judge Kavanaugh to ask him tough questions about this lifetime appointment.’

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