Grassley working to set up calls with Kavanaugh, accuser before vote

Anna Moneymaker
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is working to set up separate phone calls with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, before a committee vote scheduled for Thursday. 

“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,” a spokesman for Grassley said on Sunday. 

The aide added that “the Chairman and Ranking Member routinely hold bipartisan staff calls with nominees when updates are made to nominees’ background files.” 
{mosads}The announcement comes after Ford spoke publicly about her accusation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh from the early 1980s, while they were both in high school, in an interview with The Washington Post published on Sunday. 
Ford, in the interview, said Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed at a party and attempted to take her clothes off.

Ford told the Post that Kavanaugh “groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it.”

Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

The move to set up phone calls with Kavanaugh and Ford comes as Republicans are facing a growing demand, including from some of their own members, for the vote on Thursday to be delayed.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a member of the committee, told the Post that he doesn’t believe the vote on Thursday should move forward without hearing more from Ford.

“For me, we can’t vote until we hear more,” Flake said

Several Democratic members of the committee, as well as Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), have also called for the vote to be delayed. 
“I support Mrs. Ford’s decision to share her story, and now that she has, it is in the hands of the FBI to conduct an investigation. This should happen before the Senate moves forward on this nominee,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee, said Sunday.
But they rejected on Sunday night the GOP move to set up calls with Kavanaugh and Ford, arguing that an FBI investigation into the alleged incident is needed before a vote takes place. 
“I agree with Senator Flake that we should delay this week’s vote. There’s a lot of information we don’t know and the FBI should have the time it needs to investigate this new material. Staff calls aren’t the appropriate way to handle this,” said Feinstein. 
Schumer added that Republicans “cannot impartially investigate these disturbing allegations. That must be done by the FBI, and the vote must be postponed until it is complete.” 

A government official told The Hill late last week that a criminal investigation into the incident had not been opened. The FBI included the letter detailing the allegation in an update to Kavanaugh’s background file, which was then given to the White House and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Tags Charles Schumer Chuck Grassley Dianne Feinstein Jeff Flake

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