Heitkamp calls for Kavanaugh accuser to testify

Centrist Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) on Monday called for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's accuser to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would require delaying the panel's vote on the nominee scheduled for Thursday.

"This is a very serious allegation which should be thoroughly investigated, and it's up to the Senate Judiciary Committee to do just that," Heitkamp said in a statement. "Prof. Ford [the accuser] should be given an opportunity to testify before the committee and she is willing to do so."

Heitkamp's statement puts more pressure on Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to delay the committee vote.

Earlier Monday, Sen. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), another key centrist Democrat, called on the Judiciary panel to postpone consideration of Kavanaugh to give federal investigators and Senate staff more time to review the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford, who says that Kavanaugh pinned her down and attempted to take her clothes off at a party in high school.

So far, Grassley and other committee Republicans have resisted calls to schedule a new round of hearings to solicit testimony from Ford and Kavanaugh, who says he's willing to make another appearance before the panel to refute the allegations.

Donnelly and Heitkamp were two of three Democrats who voted for President Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

Another key vote, moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), on Monday said both Ford and Kavanaugh should testify under oath before the committee.