Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Senate Democrats in Chaos As Christine Blasey Ford Balks at Testifying

Senate Republicans and Democrats both expressed willingness to hear Christine Blasey Ford's testimony at a hearing scheduled for next Monday. Surprisingly, Ford alerted the Senate through her lawyer that she wouldn't appear, and the stated reasoning left many skeptical of her motivation.

Her lawyer issued a statement demanding another FBI investigation:
"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."
Dr. Ford's life has been "turned upside down," the letter states, and it is improper to ask her to "relive this traumatic and harrowing incident" while testifying "at the same table as Judge Kavanaugh."

But the "traumatic and harrowing" incident as she alleges happened 36 years ago, and no one ever suggested she sit at the same table with Kavanaugh.

Sen. Orrin Hatch countered that is is the job of Congress to vet Kavanaugh, not the FBI:

Sen. Chuck Grassley said there is no reason for another delay or an FBI investigation:

Sen. Jeff Flake literally begged Ford to testify on Monday as planned:

Sen. Susan Collins tweeted her desire for Ford to appear at the Monday hearing. The implication of these beseechments is clear: show up or we can't continue supporting you:

The tide has clearly turned against Ford among Senators, as Bob Corker, for one, now wanted to move forward after Ford had been given a chance to be heard:

The Trump White House expressed surprise at Ford's demand for a full investigation. She is "kind of walking back on" her stance that she wanted to testify before the Senate committee, said an official.

Meanwhile, another classmate of Kavanaugh, Patrick J. Smyth, who was identified as the man in the room during the alleged sexual assault, came forward and denied any knowledge of the incident or the party.

Several have now denied Ford's allegation, and she has yet to provide any evidence that anything like she alleges ever happened, and apparently, she will use the reasons stated by her lawyers as excuses to avoid appearing at a Senate hearing under oath.

In a new letter to Ford's attorney, Grassley details his frustration in contacting the lawyer despite repeated attempts by phone and email. He explains that it is not the FBI's role to investigate a matter such as this. The Constitution assigns the Senate and only the Senate with the task of advising the president on his nominee:

Grassley tweeted recently that if the Democrats thought the FBI needed to investigate, why didn't they alert them on July 30?

He additionally accused the Democrats of refusing to cooperate in the committee's investigation:

In a separate, scathing letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats, Grassley warned that he has had enough of their dirty tricks:
Grassley sharply condemned what he called their persistent "abuse of this confirmation process" through "delay and obstruction ... with every argument available." Grassley reiterated that Monday's hearing would remain on the calendar despite Democrats' objections.
"I will view any additional complaints about this process very skeptically," Grassley wrote.

Grassley sent a letter to Feinstein asking for a copy of the unredacted letter she received from Ford alleging sexual assault at the hands of Kavanaugh. "Your staff has so far refused to provide a copy of the letter," Grassley wrote, while excoriating Feinstein for deploying charges of sexual assault for political gain:
Sexual assault allegations deserve serious attention, and those who make such allegations must be heard. They should not be deployed strategically for political gain. You received this letter approximately seven weeks ago. But the contents of the letter were leaked only last week when it appeared the Senate was about to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. There were numerous opportunities to raise the serious allegations made in the letter during the course of this nomination process. They could have been raised in your closed-door meeting with Judge Kavanaugh on August 20. Sixty-four other senators also met with Judge Kavanaugh prior to his confirmation hearing. These senators could have asked Judge Kavanaugh about these allegations if you had shared the letter.
Your staff could have raised these allegations during routine background investigation phone calls in late-August. Questions about these allegations could have been asked of Judge Kavanaugh during his more than 32 hours of testimony before the Committee over the course of three days. You could have asked him about these allegations during the closed session of his confirmation hearing, where sensitive material can be discussed. But you did not attend the closed session. Finally, these allegations could have been addressed in one of the nearly 1,300 written questions issued to him after the hearing-more written questions to any Supreme Court nominee than all prior Supreme Court nominees combined. 

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