A woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were high school students is willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, her lawyer said Monday.
Christine Blasey Ford identified herself in a Washington Post interview published Sunday as the author of a confidential letter sent in late July to two members of Congress. She is willing to tell her story publicly, her lawyer, Debra Katz, said Monday on NBC’s “Today” show.
“She’s willing to do whatever it takes to get her story forth,” Katz told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, when asked if Ford would testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate.
Ford told the Post that Kavanaugh pinned her down and groped her during a gathering in suburban Maryland around 1982 as another male teenager watched. Katz on Monday called the attack an “attempted rape.” Kavanaugh has denied the incident ever happened.
“This is a completely false allegation,” Kavanaugh said in a statement Monday. “I have never done anything like what the accuser describes ― to her or to anyone. Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday.”
Top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said Monday that Ford “absolutely” would testify before the Judiciary Committee and “should be heard.”
“Let me be very clear on behalf of the president, with whom I’ve spoken at length about this,” Conway told reporters at the White House when asked if Ford should testify. “She should not be ignored or insulted. She should be heard.”
Ford sent the letter to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) during the summer, after Kavanaugh was nominated for the high court vacancy by President Donald Trump, to share her concerns about him. She initially requested anonymity, but told the Post she decided to speak publicly once details about her story began to leak to the media.
After weeks of media speculation, Feinstein, ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, confirmed last week that she had received a confidential letter about Kavanaugh. She said she referred the matter to the FBI.
Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are calling on Thursday’s scheduled vote to be delayed until the FBI investigates Ford’s allegations.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), also a member of the committee, suggested Sunday that the panel should delay the vote until they hear from Ford. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a key GOP swing vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, suggested she would be open to pushing back the vote as well.
A spokeswoman for committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Sunday called into question Ford’s motive for coming forward, and suggested Republicans would continue to push for a vote on Kavanaugh without hearing from Ford.
“It’s disturbing that these uncorroborated allegations from more than 35 years ago, during high school, would surface on the eve of a committee vote after Democrats sat on them since July,” Taylor Foy, a spokeswoman for Grassley, said in a statement.
Following comments from Republican committee members that they’d be willing to hear from Ford, Grassley’s office said the committee would work to set up a time to meet with her.
“Given the late addendum to the background file and revelations of Dr. Ford’s identity, Chairman Grassley is actively working to set up such follow-up calls with Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford ahead of Thursday’s scheduled vote,” his office said in a statement Sunday.
The White House reiterated its support for Kavanaugh on Monday.
“On Friday, Judge Kavanaugh ‘categorically and unequivocally’ denied this allegation,” White House spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told The Washington Post in a statement. “This has not changed. Judge Kavanaugh and the White House both stand by that statement.”
This article has been updated to include Kavanaugh’s statement and Conway’s comments.
CORRECTION: An earlier version misidentified Sen. Lisa Murkowski as a Senate Judiciary Committee member. She is not.