Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyLawmakers pay tribute to Colin Powell Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair Fill the Eastern District of Virginia MORE (R-Iowa) is pressing forward with a hearing scheduled for Monday after a woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct called for the FBI to investigate her claims before she testifies.
“Dr. Ford’s testimony would reflect her personal knowledge and memory of events. Nothing the FBI or any other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee, so there is no reason for any further delay," Grassley said.
He added that Ford's claims that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school are "serious allegations and Dr. Ford deserves to be heard. ... The invitation for Monday still stands."
Grassley's statement comes hours after Ford's lawyer released a letter calling for an FBI investigation into her allegation. Ford says that while at a party Kavanaugh pinned her down on a bed, groped her, tried to remove her clothes and covered her mouth when she tried to protest.
"A full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that 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 decisions," Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, attorneys for Ford, wrote in the letter to Grassley.
But a government official told The Hill late last week that an investigation has not been opened into the allegations.
"The FBI does not make any judgment about the credibility or significance of any allegation. The purpose of a background investigation is to determine whether the nominee could pose a risk to the national security of the United States. ... The FBI's role in such matters is to provide information for the use of the decision makers," DOJ said in a statement.
Republicans warned earlier Tuesday that they expected to move forward with the Monday hearing, and potentially a committee vote as soon as next week, even if Ford refused to publicly testify.
In addition to a public hearing, Grassley says they also offered Ford the option to testify privately or with speak with committee staff. Republicans were also debating bringing in an outside lawyer to question Ford and Kavanaugh.
Grassley's staff said they also gave Ford the choice of multiple dates.
Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied wrongdoing amid the allegations that have threatened his chances of being confirmed to the Supreme Court.
GOP leadership agreed to holding a public hearing amid intense pressure from members of their caucus, where several Republican senators said they wanted to hear from Ford before moving forward with the nomination.
Those same Republicans warned on Tuesday that they were puzzled by Ford's reluctance to testify publicly and urged her to take the opportunity to speak with senators.
Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenators ask Biden administration to fund program that helps people pay heating bills McConnell gets GOP wake-up call Republicans are today's Dixiecrats MORE (R-Maine) told reporters earlier Tuesday that Ford's lack of response to the committee about testifying was "puzzling."
And Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donating unused campaign funds to Arizona nonprofit focused on elections: report Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report MORE (R-Ariz.), who had threatened to vote against Kavanaugh if Ford wasn't given the chance to be heard, told CNN that he expected the committee to move on if she doesn't appear.