Kavanaugh accuser says FBI should investigate before she testifies

The woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault says she will not testify until the FBI investigates her claims.

A lawyer for Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, said Tuesday evening that she wanted the FBI to investigate as "the first step" in the process before Ford goes "on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident," according to The New York Times.

Ford's lawyer had previously said that she was generally willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, as had Kavanaugh.

GOP senators have offered to ban cameras from the hearing, which is scheduled for next Monday.

“She has the option of a closed session, with cameras or without,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a member of the Judiciary panel. “We want her to appear and she has said before we made the decision that she wanted to appear.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Ford says Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed at a party in the early 1980s, groped her and attempted to remove her clothes. She came forward publicly in The Washington Post on Sunday.

Senators have been pushing for Ford and Kavanaugh to both testify before the Judiciary Committee in a hearing next week

Republicans are particularly eager to limit any further delays of a vote they are expected to win, which was originally scheduled for this Thursday.

They have been pressing to move forward with the testimony and are likely to seize on the call for the hearing to be put off for an FBI probe to argue Democrats are simply seeking to delay Kavanaugh's confirmation. 

The FBI has so far declined to investigate Ford's allegations, since they do not involve a federal crime and are therefore not in their purview.

Members of the GOP have already leveled that accusation against Democrats, citing the fact that Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFocus on Yemen, not the Saudi crown prince Senators want assurances from attorney general pick on fate of Mueller probe Mattis: Investigation into killing of Khashoggi is ongoing MORE (D-Calif.) only announced the allegations against Kavanaugh one week before his scheduled vote, despite having known about them since July.

Additionally, conservatives have pointed to the six background checks the FBI have already conducted of Kavanaugh and questioned Ford's ability to provide details important for corroborating her story, such as where and when the alleged assault occurred.

Democrats, who have supported an investigation, argue that it is necessary to determine the truth of Ford's weighty allegations.

Feinstein defended Ford's call for federal investigators to probe the allegations before she testifies.

“The decision to come forward or not come forward has always been Christine Blasey Ford’s, and that includes her participation in a hearing," Feinstein said in a statement, knocking "the rushed process to hold a hearing on Monday."

“We should honor Dr. Blasey Ford’s wishes and delay this hearing. A proper investigation must be completed, witnesses interviewed, evidence reviewed and all sides spoken to. Only then should the chairman set a hearing date."

Kavanaugh has denied the allegations and President Trump earlier on Friday had said that the FBI doesn't want to probe the allegations.

"I don’t think the FBI really should be involved because they don’t want to be involved," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office during a meeting with Poland's president.