The United States’ Senate Judiciary Committee has asked the woman who accused a Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault in the 1980s to decide by Friday if she will testify before the panel, BBC reported. Christine Blasey Ford has refused to testify unless the Federal Bureau of Investigation begins an inquiry against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University, has claimed that Kavanaugh assaulted her when both of them were in high school.
In a letter to Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee’s chairman Chuck Grassley sought a non-redacted version of the original correspondence Ford sent to her about the alleged incident, CNN reported. Ford’s letter to Feinstein had claimed that Kavanaugh had pushed her into a bedroom, attempted to disrobe her, and forcibly covered her mouth when she tried to scream.
Grassley again expressed his opposition to Ford’s demand of a probe by the FBI. “The FBI does not make a credibility assessment of any information it receives with respect to a nominee,” he wrote. “Nor is it tasked with investigating a matter simply because the Committee deems it important.”
The committee had no power to “commandeer” an executive branch agency to conduct due diligence, he added.
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said it would be “unfortunate” if Ford did not show up to testify. He added that the accusations against Kavanaugh were timed to disrupt his confirmation as a Supreme Court judge.
On Tuesday, Grassley said Ford “deserves to be heard” and that the invitation to testify still stands. “Dr Ford’s testimony would reflect her personal knowledge and memory of events,” Grassley said, according to The Guardian. “Nothing the FBI or any other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr Ford tells the committee, so there is no reason for delay.”
If Ford does not testify, the Republicans will go ahead with Kavanaugh’s confirmation process. White House spokesperson Raj Shah said President Donald Trump will not name another nominee unless absolutely needed, reported PTI. Shah said that the administration will fully support Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh is a District of Columbia appeals court judge and served as an adviser to former President George W Bush. In order to be appointed to the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh’s nomination must now be confirmed by the US Senate, which the Republican Party narrowly controls 51-49. A nominee needs a simple majority of 51 votes to be confirmed.
Democrats have called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to postpone its vote until the allegations are investigated.