After a week of contentious discussions and negotiations, the nation is still no closer to knowing whether Dr. Christine Blasey Ford will testify before Congress about allegations that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teens.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, agreed late Friday to extend a deadline for Ford to consider the terms of her testimony before the committee. She now has until 2:30 to decide where she will testify.
“Judge Kavanaugh I just granted another extension to Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed w the statement she made last week to testify to the senate,” Grassley wrote on Twitter. “She shld decide so we can move on I want to hear her.”
Lawyers for Ford had asked the committee to extend the 10 p.m. Friday deadline to give her another day to consider her decision.
Grassley expressed frustration.
“Five times now we hv granted extension for Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed w her desire stated one wk ago that she wants to tell senate her story,” he tweeted. He added a plea: “Dr Ford if u changed ur mind on testifying, say so, so we can move on. Come to us or we to u.”
The extension capped off a week of dizzying debate over Ford’s allegations, and whether she would share them before the committee voted on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Grassley had given Ford and her attorneys the Friday deadline and threatened to call a vote Monday on the confirmation if an agreement wasn’t reached. He went as far as adding the vote to Monday’s agenda.
As the deadline loomed, an attorney for Ford said the committee had inflicted “tremendous and unwarranted anxiety and stress” on her by rushing the decision, and requested more time to consider the terms.
“Your cavalier treatment of a sexual assault survivor who has been doing her best to cooperate with the Committee is completely inappropriate,” attorney Debra Katz wrote to the committee leadership staff Friday evening in the letter obtained by USA TODAY.
Ford spent part of Friday with the FBI to report threats she’s received since coming forward with accusations that Kavanaugh held her down, groped her and tried to remove her clothes at a party when they both attended Washington-area high schools.
Kavanaugh has denied the accusations.
Katz called the Friday night deadline “arbitrary.”
“Its sole purpose is to bully Dr. Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision that has life-altering implications for her and her family,” she wrote. “She has already been forced out of her home and continues to be subjected to harassment, hate mail, and death threats. Our modest request is that she be given an additional day to make her decision.
Even with the extension, the contentious back-and-forth could spill into next week, further delaying delaying a confirmation vote.
Judiciary committee Republicans and attorneys for Ford have spent days discussing the terms of Ford’s testimony.
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Source: USA Today