The woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were high school students is calling for an FBI investigation into her claim before she testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Christine Blasey Ford said Monday that she was willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, after coming forward on Sunday as the author of a confidential letter sent in late July to two members of Congress. That testimony was expected to take place next Monday.
But on Tuesday, Blasey, a psychology professor in Northern California, said through her lawyers that an investigation should be “the first step” before she is put “on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident.”
Blasey’s lawyers released a letter to committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), CNN reported, calling for an investigation to “ensure the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner and that the committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decision.”
Speaking with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday, attorney Lisa Banks reiterated that Blasey, her client, was “prepared to cooperate with the committee and with any law enforcement investigation.”
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) tweeted her support for Blasey’s decision on Tuesday, saying, “She should not be bullied into participating in a biased process.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who was first to acknowledge the existence of a letter containing the allegations against Kavanaugh last week, also issued a statement of support for Blasey’s decision.
“I agree with her 100 percent that the rushed process to hold a hearing on Monday has been unfair and is reminiscent of the treatment of Anita Hill,” Feinstein said in the statement, referencing the law professor’s 1991 allegations of sexual harassment against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. “I also agree that we need the facts before senators — not staff or lawyers — speak to witnesses. We should honor Dr. Blasey Ford’s wishes and delay this hearing.”
Blasey has good reason to be concerned. Every Republican senator on the committee is male, and lawmakers are known to employ aggressive questioning during hearings. For that reason, HuffPost learned Tuesday, Republicans on the committee were considering having their female aides or lawyers question Blasey and Kavanaugh should she testify about her allegation.
Blasey alleges a drunken 17-year-old Kavanaugh attempted to remove her clothing at a gathering in suburban Maryland when they were both in high school. She says Kavanaugh covered her mouth to silence her when she attempted to scream and that she was able to escape after a friend of Kavanaugh’s jumped on top of both of them.
Blasey sent a confidential letter to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Feinstein after Kavanaugh’s nomination this summer to share her concerns about him.
A number of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said in the wake of the allegations that the Senate Judiciary Committee should delay its vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which was scheduled to take place on Thursday.
Grassley subsequently said Kavanaugh and Blasey would have the opportunity to publicly testify the following Monday.
But Banks called that timeframe “premature.”
Blasey “just came forward with these allegations 48 hours ago, and since that time she has been dealing with hate mail, harassment [and] death threats,” the professor’s attorney said. “So she’s been spending her time trying to figure out how to put her life back together, how to protect herself and her family.”
Grassley’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this article.
This article has been updated to include details about Blasey’s accusations and the timeframe for the Senate hearings.