Christine Blasey Ford's lawyers say she is receiving death threats as part of a 'vicious harassment' campaign
Since coming forward with her allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Christine Blasey Ford has been "the target of vicious harassment and even death threats," her lawyers said Tuesday, forcing her and her family to leave their home.
Ford's legal team revealed this in a letter sent to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Tuesday. CNN obtained a copy of the letter, which demanded the FBI launch an investigation into Kavanaugh before Ford agrees to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in order to "ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a nonpartisan manner, and that the committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions."
Ford sent a confidential letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in July "so that lawmakers would have a fuller understanding of Brett Kavanaugh's character and history," the lawyers said, and she only came forward publicly after details of her letter were revealed. Since Sunday, Ford "has received a stunning amount of support from her community and from fellow citizens across our country," the lawyers said, but also "vicious harassment." In addition to receiving death threats, Ford's email has been hacked and people are pretending to be her online.
Ford, a professor, wants to cooperate with the committee and law enforcement, her lawyers said, but at the same time must take care of "her own health and security." Read the full letter — which includes a dig at senators like Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah, who called Ford "mixed up" — at CNN. Catherine Garcia
Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were teenagers, said on Tuesday that she wants the FBI to investigate Kavanaugh before she testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The committee announced on Monday it would be holding a public hearing next Monday, giving senators a chance to hear from Kavanaugh and Ford and ask them questions. Ford's lawyers said the "first step" before having her go "on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident" would be an FBI investigation, but did not entirely rule out an appearance should an investigation not take place.
It is highly unlikely Republicans will agree to change the date, and they could still hold the hearing on Monday without Ford. The Senate Judiciary Committee had scheduled a vote on Kavanaugh for this Thursday, but delayed it for Monday's hearing. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News on Tuesday evening if Ford "does not come on Monday, we are going to move on and vote on Wednesday." Kavanaugh has denied the allegations. Catherine Garcia
President Trump is coming to Brett Kavanaugh's defense.
During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Trump said that Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee who California professor Christine Blasey Ford claims attempted to rape her at a high school party in the 1980s, is an "incredible individual," per CBS News. Trump also said that he feels "so badly for [Kavanaugh] that he's going through this," adding that "this is not a man that deserves this." Kavanaugh has denied the allegations against him and reportedly told Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) that he wasn't at the party in question.
Trump additionally criticized Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), who in July received a letter Ford wrote detailing her allegation; the president asked why Feinstein did not bring the matter up earlier, in her meetings with Kavanaugh. Ford has said she requested anonymity from Feinstein and only decided to come forward with her story this weekend after the media began to report on her confidential letter.
Prior to Tuesday's news conference, Trump had been uncharacteristically quiet about the Kavanaugh allegation, having yet to send a single tweet about it. He did, however, say earlier Tuesday that while he hasn't spoken to Kavanaugh, "I'm totally supportive, I'm very supportive," per CNBC. On Monday, he said that Kavanaugh was "one of the finest people that I've ever known," while saying that "we want to go through a process" regarding the allegation. Watch Trump's Tuesday comments below. Brendan Morrow
President Trump says he feels "so badly" for Brett Kavanaugh after the Supreme Court nominee has been accused of sexual assault. "This is not a man that deserves this" https://t.co/LXL6s6ZBIN pic.twitter.com/ypgnYUf7cm
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 18, 2018
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing with Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused him of assault when they were teenagers.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released a statement Monday evening announcing the hearing, which will take place next Monday, and said it will be public in an effort to "provide ample transparency." Senators will be able to ask Kavanaugh and Ford questions. In July, Ford sent a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), where she shared details about the alleged assault. Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, did not share the contents of the letter with the panel, and did not reveal she had the letter until last week, as Ford said her letter was confidential. On Sunday, The Washington Post published Ford's account, along with her name.
Earlier Monday evening, White House spokesman Raj Shah said Kavanaugh "looks forward to a hearing where he can clear his name on this false allegation. He stands ready to testify tomorrow if the Senate is ready to hear him." A vote on Kavanaugh's nomination had been scheduled for Thursday. Catherine Garcia
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation vote has stalled at the last second, due to an allegation of sexual assault. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) thinks Democrats are to blame.
In a statement on the Senate floor Monday, McConnell decried Democrats for not bringing up the allegation against Kavanaugh until "the 11th hour." They could've "brought it up through the standard bipartisan process," or during background calls with the nominee, McConnell said, but delayed in another attempt to stall Kavanaugh's confirmation process.
Christine Ford previously sent a confidential allegation to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on July 30, saying Kavanaugh tried to rape her while they were both in high school. Ford didn't want to be identified the letter's author until this Sunday. Still, McConnell slammed Democrats for not bringing up the allegation sooner, "even with the [accuser's] name redacted." Instead, McConnell falsely claimed Democrats revealed the accusation "by leaking it to the press," though Ford came to The Washington Post with her allegation.
.@Senatemajldr: "But now, now, at the 11th hour, with committee votes on schedule, after Democrats have spent weeks and weeks searching for any possible reason that the nomination should be delayed, now, now they choose to reveal this allegation."#Kavanaugh #SCOTUS pic.twitter.com/p9V3OVOSjO
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 17, 2018
McConnell said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) will "pursue this matter by the book" with bipartisan interviews of Kavanaugh and Ford. Kavanaugh has continually denied the allegation, and a committee vote to send Kavanaugh's confirmation vote to the whole Senate is still slated for Thursday. Kathryn Krawczyk
After a Monday phone call with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah) believes the woman accusing him of sexual assault is "mixed up."
On Sunday, California professor Christine Ford alleged that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were at a party in high school, sharing her story with The Washington Post. But Hatch said Monday that he believes Ford might be "mixed up" because Kavanaugh denies behind at the party she describes, per HuffPost's Igor Bobic. Hatch also said that while he "can't ignore" the allegation, there are "lots of reasons not to believe it." In a separate interview, Hatch told CNN that he believes Kavanaugh when he says the alleged incident never happened.
When a reporter asked Hatch if it's possible Kavanaugh might not remember the incident because he was drunk, Hatch responded that Kavanaugh "said that's not true." But Hatch also said that even if what Ford alleges is true, it would "be hard for senators to not consider who [Kavanaugh] is today," arguing that he is "a good man," Bobic reports.
CNN also reports that Hatch wants Ford to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggesting that might happen Thursday. Kavanaugh has also said he'd be willing to testify regarding the alleged incident. Brendan Morrow
When Christine Ford came forward with her allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, some speculated that President Trump and the White House might immediately attack her publicly. But while the Trump administration is standing behind its nominee, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is encouraging Trump supporters to hear the accuser out.
In an interview on Fox & Friends this morning, Conway said that Ford, a California professor who alleges that Kavanaugh held her down and attempted to rape her in high school, should "not be insulted" and should "not be ignored." Conway also said that Ford should testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, something her lawyer says she is willing to do.
At the same time, Conway also defended Kavanaugh, saying he is a "man of character and integrity" and pointing to the previously-released list of 65 women who knew Kavanaugh in high school and say he "behaved honorably and treated women with respect." She did not, however, question Ford's accusation in any way. Kavanaugh has "categorically" denied Ford's claims.
Conway made clear that she has spoken to the president about this, although it remains to be seen whether Trump will echo her sentiments. Three sources close to the White House told Politico on Sunday they expect Trump to go after Ford — a reasonable assumption considering he attacked the women who accused him of sexual assault during his 2016 campaign, saying of one woman, "Look at her ... You tell me what you think. I don't think so." Watch Conway's remarks below. Brendan Morrow
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) September 17, 2018
Brett Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Ford, is willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee
When Christine Ford came forward with her allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, some Republicans called on her to testify before the Judiciary Committee. Now, it looks like that may happen.
On Sunday, Ford came forward in an interview with The Washington Post to allege that Kavanaugh held her down and attempted to rape her while they were both in high school. In response, some Republican senators, including Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.), said Kavanaugh's nomination should not move forward until the Judiciary Committee hears from Ford in some way.
During a Monday appearance on Today, Ford's attorney, Debra Katz, said Ford is ready to testify publicly. "She's willing to do whatever it takes to get her story forth," Katz said.
This comes after Axios reported some strategists advising Kavanaugh planned to call on Ford to testify before the Judiciary Committee with the expectation that she'd say no; that way, Senators could say they made an effort to look into the matter before ultimately confirming Kavanaugh. But it seems that strategy won't work. Also on Monday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Ford "should not be ignored." Brendan Morrow
“Is your client willing to testify before the Judiciary Committee publicly and tell this story?” -@savannahguthrie
“She is. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to get her story forth.” -Debra Katz, attorney for Kavanaugh accuser pic.twitter.com/V3BRF43nGK
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) September 17, 2018