WILL NEGOTIATIONS PRODUCE ACCUSER’S TESTIMONY?
by Sharon Rondeau
The announcement came after mainstream news outlets reported earlier Friday that committee Chairman Charles Grassley was engaged in “negotiations” with Debra Katz, an attorney for Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they attended different high schools in suburban Washington, DC in the early ’80s.
During the 6:00 p.m. hour, Fox News reported that Ford, who earlier said she would not testify without the FBI first conducting an investigation into her allegations, not only is willing to testify next week to the committee in Washington, but also presented Grassley with a new set of demands.
Those included her desire to testify Thursday, to have only one media pool camera in the room, for the committee to assure her “safety,” for Kavanaugh to testify first and not to be in the room when she testifies. She also wishes senators only to question her and no attorneys.
Conversely, according to Fox, Grassley offered Wednesday in lieu of Monday’ separate testimony from Kavanaugh, which had been offered previously; an independent female counsel to perform the questioning; for Ford to testify first; and agreement with the one pool camera.
Ford’s accusation was made public Sunday, more than a week after confirmation hearings were considered complete on September 7. With a razor-thin majority in the Senate, many observers believed Republicans would prevail and that Kavanaugh would quickly be confirmed and seated by October 1, when the new Supreme Court session begins.
On Thursday, the Judiciary Committee’s Twitter account tweeted that witnesses Ford named as having attended the party, which allegedly included alcohol when all were minors, were contacted by its investigators. Grassley stated early on that he does not believe an FBI investigation is warranted.
Kavanaugh reportedly provided a statement on Monday under oath and has said he is eager to testify to clear his name. He has vehemently denied the accusation, as has one of the alleged witnesses, Mark Judge.
Democrats strongly oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination. Katz is a well-documented Democrat donor.
Shortly after Monday’s hearing was postponed, Roll Call reported that Grassley in a statement kept open the option of a Monday committee vote if negotiations fall through.
Grassley extended a 5:00 p.m. deadline by which to reach an agreement with Ford’s attorneys to 10:00 p.m., Roll Call additionally reported.
Update, 8:16 p.m. EDT: Tucker Carlson reported that next Thursday is a significant date on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s calendar and that if a vote on Kavanaugh does not take place by Wednesday, it likely will not take place “at all.”