Out of one side of their mouths, Republican lawmakers claim to be bending over backward to accommodate the Senate testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in the 1980s.
Out of the other, they publicly acknowledge that nothing Ford can say or do will convince them to drop Kavanaugh’s nomination to serve on the Supreme Court.
Ford’s attorneys indicated this weekend that she will go forward with testifying to the Senate Judicial Committee on Thursday in a public hearing, although the details of that hearing—such as who will be asking the questions—have not yet been agreed upon as of this writing.
“We made important progress on our call this [Sunday] morning with Senate Judiciary Committee staff members,” Ford’s attorneys Debra Katz, Lisa Banks, and Michael Bromwich said, according to USA Today. “We committed to moving forward with an open hearing on Thursday Sept 27 at 10:00 am. Despite actual threats to her safety and her life, Dr. Ford believes it is important for Senators to hear directly from her about the sexual assault committed against her.”
On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell assured a group of conservatives that, “In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the U.S. Supreme Court.” Referring to the nomination process, he said, “We’re going to plow right through it and do our job.”
On Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee member Orrin Hatch tweeted that committee chairman Chuck Grassley “has spent 7 days working to accommodate Dr Ford so the Senate could hear her testimony. He’s offered open/closed hearings, sending staff to her, and has delayed the entire committee agenda for her countless times. Calling this ‘bullying’ is simply outrageous.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace that Ford’s testimony wouldn’t change his mind.
“What am I supposed to do? Go ahead and ruin this guy’s life based on an accusation?” Graham said. “I don’t know when it happened, I don’t know where it happened, and everybody named in regard to being there said it didn’t happen.”
He added: “I’m just being honest. Unless there’s something more, no, I’m not going to ruin Judge Kavanaugh’s life over this. But she should come forward, she should have her say, she will be respectfully treated. What did you expect us to do with an anonymous letter to begin with?”
Graham also incorrectly stated that Ford’s accusation “is too old for a criminal trial,” and, “You couldn’t even get a warrant.” Wallace corrected the senator, saying, “I just want to point out as a fact…that there is no statue of limitations on sex assault cases in Maryland,” which is where the alleged attack occurred when Ford and Kavanaugh were teenagers.
In past comments, Graham has referred to Ford not by name, but rather as “the lady.”
On Saturday, Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, who defeated accused pedophile and sexual predator Roy Moore in a 2017 special election, pushed back against some of his Republican colleagues’ statements.
“I’m a former US Attorney. If a judge/juror made a public statement that their mind was made up before all testimony is in, the trial would be prejudiced & I’d move for mistrial & have the judge removed. Mr. Leader, is this the message we want to send to victims of sexual assault?” Jones tweeted.
He added: “The last time I read the Constitution, it said our role was to advise and consent, not to ‘plow right through’ the confirmation process. If you believe that, then any hearing this week is simply perfunctory. You’ve made up your mind and Dr. Ford’s testimony has no bearing.”
A new Fox News poll shows that more people believe Ford’s allegations than Kavanaugh’s denials, by a 6-point margin. Currently, only 40% of those polled said they support Kavanaugh’s confirmation, compared to a remarkable 50% who are opposed.
According to Fox:
Since August, support for Kavanagh’s confirmation dropped 12 points among independents, 11 points among suburban women, and 10 points among voters under age 45. Support is also down, by smaller margins, among men (-5 points), women (-4), Democrats (-5), and Republicans (-4).
Still, 81% of Republicans say they support Kavanaugh’s confirmation.