'Very hard for me' to believe Kavanaugh accuser

WHAT TOOK HER SO LONG? U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein seen at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last Thursday first heard from Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser in July

U.S. Senate Judiciary to probe Kavanaugh, accuser in public hearing

Almost three decades after her own courageous testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991, Anita Hill on Tuesday spoke out about the allegations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh and urged lawmakers not to repeat the mistakes that were made back then.

Grassley said there is no reason to delay Ford's testimony and an invitation for her to appear before the committee on Monday stands.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said it would be unfortunate if Kavanaugh's accuser, university professor Christine Blasey Ford, did not appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to tell her story.

Trump says he wants a "full process" to investigate the allegations.

The Republican president said he wanted the Senate confirmation process to play out.

The accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, claims that Kavanaugh forced himself on her at a party. Quoting Justice Thomas from his nomination hearing, Mr. Feehery said this seems like another "high-tech lynching", this time "of a white Irish Catholic guy".

The stakes of such a hearing for Kavanaugh, who will also testify, are obvious. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, two moderates who have yet to announce their positions on Kavanaugh and aren't on the Judiciary Committee.

The assault purportedly took place in 1982 when Ms Blasey Ford was 15 and Mr Kavanaugh 17.

The confluence of those events set for Monday underscores how the high-profile political fight over Kavanaugh's nomination will also color the public perception of the Supreme Court, and could prompt the justices to steer clear of more controversial cases in the coming term that starts in October. Democrats are now favoured to take the House while becoming increasingly confident of adding the two Senate seats that would give them control of that chamber.

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Shortly before Grassley's announcement, the senator said there would be private, telephone interviews of Kavanaugh and Ford conducted by committee staffers. And that we won't likely get the unvarnished truth of what happened at that party in the 1980s.

Kavanaugh has said that he is willing to testify on this matter "if the Senate is willing to hear him", according to White House spokesman Raj Shah.

GOP senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker have publicly stated they have doubts about Kavanaugh, and conservatives have pointed out that both men despise President Trump and could be angling for an opportunity to derail the nominee and hurt Trump. The Justice Department, for its part, argued in a statement late Monday that it is the FBI's responsibility to evaluate any threat Kavanaugh may pose to national security, but that Ford's claim "does not involve any potential federal crime" for the FBI to investigate.

Kavanaugh has had a relatively smooth confirmation track until the allegations against him were reported last week. But don't be held hostage to the idea that if Kavanaugh doesn't wind up on the court - no matter what he and Ford say next week - it will be curtains for Senate Republicans.

"I support Senator Grassley's decision to have these 11th-hour allegations thoroughly reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and weighed against Judge Kavanaugh's decades of public service, sterling record on the bench, outstanding personal reputation, and his unequivocal denial of the allegations", the Indianapolis Star quoted Braun as saying.

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said she had seen a "callousness from my colleagues that I am totally appalled by", especially if Republicans press forward with a hearing without Ford.

"There are gaps in her memory", Cornyn said.

Katz told U.S. media her client had been ambivalent about the pressure that would come with speaking out publicly.

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