Outside groups dig in as allegation roils Kavanaugh nomination

Tom Williams  CQ Roll Call  Getty Images

Tom Williams CQ Roll Call Getty Images

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh said on Monday he would be willing to speak with USA senators to refute an allegation of physical and sexual assault shortly after his accuser said through her attorney that she would be willing to tell her side of the story in testimony before Congress. "In this case, that would entail phone calls with at least Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford".

Kavanaugh released a new statement calling the allegation "completely false" and saying he "had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself" on Sunday to The Washington Post.

And Trump himself appeared to not balk at the prospect of delayed hearings, telling reporters at the White House on Monday that if "it takes a little delay, it'll take a little delay".

"This has to be weighed against what we already know-which is that Judge Kavanaugh is a man of good character and integrity", Conway said, noting he has been through half a dozen rounds of Federal Bureau of Investigation "vetting" and has been "lauded by women in every aspect of his life", including former classmates, and mothers of young girls he coaches in basketball.

During an appearance on ABC's "The View", Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said he finds Ford "extremely credible" and believes other senators will, too, if she testifies.

Republicans, who hold a narrow majority on the committee and in the Senate, are eager to confirm Kavanaugh in time for him to join the high court when it begins its fall term in two weeks.

Trump did not comment directly on Ford's claim that a drunken Kavanaugh and one of his friends trapped her in a room and attempted to pull her clothes off at a high school party in 1982.

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Before Ford had come forward, he said, "So far, the claims against Kavanaugh are _still_ a terrible dirty trick".

Still, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said of Ford: "She should not be insulted".

The current political environment, obviously, after the #MeToo movement, is very different from what Hill encountered in 1991. Republican lawmakers would not welcome it.

In his statement, Grassley said he was working on "a way to hear [Ford] out in an appropriate, precedented and respectful manner". She said President George H.W. Bush had asked the FBI to investigate Anita Hill's allegations against Thomas.

The Judiciary Committee had been scheduled to vote Thursday on Kavanaugh's appointment. The committee was supposed to vote on the nomination this Thursday but faced pressure after Ford went public with her allegation over the weekend.

She should not be ignored.

At the White House, Trump said, "If it takes a little delay, it will take a little delay".

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Most Republicans have carved out their stance that follow-up calls should be made with Kavanaugh and Ford.

Republicans, he says, feel that this is in their grasp and they do not want to do anything to cause things to go off the rails. "We want to make sure everything is ideal, everything is just right".

Kavanaugh is now a judge on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, widely viewed as the nation's second most powerful court. Today there are four women on the Senate Judiciary Committee and 23 in the Senate.

Stalling tactic or not, Senators Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) and Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) have both called for the vote to be postponed until the allegations are investigated fully.

The early 1980s: Christine Ford said that while she and Kavanaugh were high school students at their respective schools in Maryland, they both went to a party. Neither Collins nor Murkowski faces re-election this fall.

Debra Katz, a lawyer for Ford, shared her client's willingness to testify during a round of television interviews on Monday morning.

"I don't know enough about Dr. Ford and her allegations yet to reach that kind of judgement", Collins responded.

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But Conway said there should not be a delay, noting that even without Ford's allegations, many Democratic senators were planning to vote against him.

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