A number of Senate Democrats came out Tuesday in support of Christine Blasey Ford’s request for an FBI investigation into her sexual assault accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh before she testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Northern California psychology professor, who goes by Christine Blasey professionally, alleges that Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party when they were teenagers, over 35 years ago. Judiciary committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) had scheduled Blasey and Kavanaugh to testify in front of the committee on Monday. Blasey, however, said through her lawyers Tuesday that an FBI investigation should be “the first step” before she is put “on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident.”
A number of Democrats spoke out in support of Blasey’s demand for an impartial FBI probe into the allegations before bringing her before the committee. Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), both on the judiciary committee, released statements on Twitter standing behind Kavanaugh’s accuser.
“I support Dr. Blasey Ford’s request for an FBI background investigation before a hearing,” Harris wrote on Twitter. “She should not be bullied into participating in a biased process and we should not rush forward before facts are gathered.”
Feinstein, who had kept Blasey’s allegations private since July at her request, released a series of tweets calling the rushed process “reminiscent of the treatment of Anita Hill,” referring to the law professor who accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment at his hearing in 1991.
“We should honor Dr. Blasey Ford’s wishes and delay this hearing,” Feinstein wrote on Twitter. “A proper investigation must be completed, witnesses interviewed, evidence reviewed and all sides spoken to. Only then should the chairman set a hearing date. The decision to come forward or not come forward has always been Christine Blasey Ford’s, and that includes her participation in a hearing.”
“Dr. Ford’s call for the FBI to investigate also demonstrates her confidence that when all the facts are examined by an impartial investigation, her account will be further corroborated and confirmed,” Schumer’s statement said. “Senate Republicans and the White House should drop their inexplicable opposition to an FBI investigation, allow all the facts to come out, and then proceed with a fair process in the Senate.”
Blasey has accused Kavanaugh of pinning her to a bed, forcing himself on top of her and attempting to remove her clothes during a high school party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations. She also claimed that the only witness to the event was Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge.
Judge, now a filmmaker, wrote a memoir dedicated to how he spent his high school years “completely annihilated” on alcohol and trying to “hook up” with girls. He said Tuesday that he declined to speak publicly on the matter, writing in a statement to Grassley and Feinstein that he had no memory of the alleged incident.
Republicans are working to keep Kavanaugh’s confirmation on track before the November midterm elections in case the GOP loses its slim 51-seat majority in the Senate. The party already suffered a setback in delaying a Thursday vote to recommend Kavanaugh to a full Senate hearing after key Republicans said they would be uncomfortable moving forward without Blasey’s testimony.
Several other Democrats came out in support of an FBI investigation into the matter on Tuesday.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also voiced her support for an FBI investigation before Blasey is called to testify. In an interview Tuesday with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, the former presidential candidate said there “should be due process for everyone involved.”