Grassley Schedules Ford Hearing, Requests Additional Documentation


by Sharon Rondeau

(Sep. 24, 2018) — The website of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary now reflects that the hearing originally scheduled for today at 10:00 AM has been rescheduled for Thursday at the same time to accommodate the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a California resident and university professor who claims that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party in 1982.

Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley had provided Ford’s attorneys, which now number four, a deadline of Friday at 5:00 PM to agree to testify which was missed and extended to 10:00 PM that night. When negotiations failed to produce a commitment, Grassley relented and provided lead attorney Debra Katz’s request for one more day for Ford to consider the committee’s invitation. A 2:30 PM deadline came and went, with discussions continuing through Sunday, when major media reported that an agreement for Ford to testify had been reached for Thursday at 10:00 AM.

On Sunday, two new allegations surfaced against Kavanaugh which are as yet uncorroborated. Michael Avenatti, Los Angeles attorney for adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, claims to have a client with firsthand knowledge of sexual misconduct on the part of Kavanaugh and a high school friend, Mark Judge, and has demanded that Judiciary Committee staff launch an investigation.

Another accuser, Deborah Ramirez, accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct at a college party during their freshman year but admits that she was drunk and doesn’t recall many of the details.  Her story remains uncorroborated, including by those Ramirez reportedly approached to assist her and refreshing her memory and by the authors themselves.

Whether or not the additional allegations bolster Ford’s claim or decrease her credibility is a matter of politics.  Many on the political right believe that a “coordinated” plan to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination at virtually any cost is at work.

On Sunday evening, Wall Street Journal Editorial Board member Kimberley Strassel tweeted that “The left made a mistake with this Ramirez story.”

Some on the political left believe that enough momentum is building for Kavanaugh to withdraw his nomination, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) or that the FBI should investigate all of the claims.

A number of left-leaning organizations have committed to disrupting any committee vote that might take place this week, reportedly to include blocking the entrances to the Hart Senate Building.

In a letter on Sunday, Grassley requested a number of materials from Ford’s attorneys to be provided no later than Wednesday morning in keeping with “Committee rules.” The materials include the questions and results of a polygraph test Ford allegedly was administered in her attorney’s office in early August.

On Sunday Peter Baker of The New York Times reported that Kavanaugh will present detailed calendars of his activities during the summer of 1982, which The Times has viewed, which do not refer to the party Ford has described. They do, however, reportedly note that Kavanaugh attended some parties that summer and with whom.

Before Ford’s identity was known, a letter committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein sent to the FBI indicated that she did not wish to come forward with her allegations. The letter is dated July 30, 2018.

At some point after Kavanaugh was announced as president Donald Trump’s pick to replace retiring Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on July 9, Democratic strategist and former Bill Clinton communications staffer, Ricki Seidman, discussed a strategy to defeat it. Ford has hired Seidman to “advise” her, as Seidman did for Anita Hill, accuser of now-Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas when she accused him of sexual harassment in 1991.

Ford’s attorneys have stressed that their client is receiving death threats and had to leave their home after her accusations became public. On Sunday, investigative journalist Paul Sperry tweeted that Grassley claimed that Kavanaugh’s two young daughters are receiving death threats which are “getting worse by the day.”

On September 18, Judiciary Committee Democrat Mazie Hirono of Hawaii told Politico Magazine in an interview that committee Democrats intend to maintain Kennedy’s seat on the high court open until 2020, when they hope to win back the White House.

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