Kavanaugh denies any attack occurred, and Republicans have appeared poised to seek a confirmation vote as early as next week if she doesn’t testify Monday.
Grassley’s office didn’t immediately respond on Thursday to queries on whether he’ll agree to a delay, hold the hearing on Monday without Ford, or cancel it.
Kavanaugh said in his letter, “I continue to want a hearing as soon as possible, so that I can clear my name.” He added, “Since the moment I first heard this allegation, I have categorically and unequivocally denied it. I remain committed to defending my integrity.”
Democrats have demanded a delay in the hearing to allow time for the FBI to investigate Ford’s claim. President Donald Trump has said he won’t ask the FBI to reopen its background probe of Kavanaugh.
Katz wrote that Ford “wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety.” Ford has received death threats and has moved her family out of their home, the lawyer said. Katz said in the email that it was Ford’s “strong preference” to allow a full investigation before her testimony, though the lawyer didn’t say whether Ford would insist on one.
Also on Thursday, Alaska Governor Bill Walker and Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott announced they oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation, creating pressure on the state’s Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, a moderate who hasn’t announced how she will vote. The GOP controls the Senate 51-49, meaning two defections in the party would defeat Kavanaugh if all Democrats vote no.
Walker and Mallot, running for re-election as independents, said in a joint statement that Kavanaugh’s confirmation could jeopardise health care, labour laws and the Indian Child Welfare Act. They said a “thorough review” should be made of the allegations against Kavanaugh before a vote occurs.
Democrats in Washington sought to turn up pressure Thursday on the GOP for an FBI probe of Ford’s allegation, recommending that she not testify on Monday under Republicans’ current plan to hear only from her and Kavanaugh.
“She shouldn’t be bullied into it,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, at a news conference with alumna from Holton-Arms, the private girls’ school Ford attended at the time of the alleged attack more than three decades ago. “She’s not asking for extraordinary measures, she’s asking for basic fairness.”
Grassley, an Iowa Republican, told Democrats on the committee Wednesday that he had no further patience for delays in Kavanaugh’s confirmation process.
“There has been delay and obstruction of this process at every turn and with every argument available,” Grassley wrote. “Therefore, I will view any additional complaints about the process very skeptically.”