GOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford

GOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford
© Greg Nash
Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are weighing bringing in an outside lawyer to question Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the woman accusing him of sexual assault.
 
Senators have invited both Kavanaugh and Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford to testify during a high-stakes hearing next week as the panel reviews the newly revealed allegations.
 
"There's been some discussion there ... but I'm not going to get out in front of the chairman," GOP Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSchumer feels pressure from all sides on spending strategy Data reveal big opportunity to finish the vaccine job GOP senators invite Yellen to brief them on debt ceiling expiration, inflation MORE (Texas) said when asked about the potential of using an outside counsel.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Spokespeople for Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi considers adding GOP voices to Jan. 6 panel Ex-Rep. Abby Finkenauer running for Senate in Iowa Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections MORE (R-Iowa) didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about if a decision had been made on using an outside lawyer.
 
The GOP senator had told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt earlier on Tuesday that such an option was under consideration.
 
"I would say that everything should be considered now. And all those things are being taken into consideration," Grassley said.
 
During the interview, Hewitt pitched bringing in someone like former Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyottePoll: Potential Sununu-Hassan matchup in N.H. a dead heat  Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Sununu seen as top recruit in GOP bid to reclaim Senate MORE (R-N.H.) to question Ford. Grassley said Hewitt was "raising legitimate questions ... [but] these details are still being worked out."
 
Republicans are weighing the best approach to questioning Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of pinning her down, groping her and trying to take off her clothes during a party in the early 1980s when both were in high school.
 
The Judiciary panel doesn't include any female GOP members, and the optics of 11 male Republican senators asking Ford questions should she decide to testify has drawn comparisons to the 1991 Anita Hill hearings, when every member of the Judiciary Committee was male.
 
Cornyn dismissed a question about the optics on Tuesday, telling reporters they should "think for yourselves."
 
In addition to bringing in an outside counsel, Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTransit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal The Hill's Morning Report - Infrastructure vote fails; partisan feud erupts over Jan. 6 panel Senate falling behind on infrastructure MORE (R-Maine) pitched the Judiciary Committee on letting a lawyer for Kavanaugh question Ford and letting a lawyer for Ford question Kavanaugh.
 
Cornyn, asked about the idea, said it was "one that we're working with."
 
"I think we're all trying to find a consensus position on how this can be handled fairly and that certainly is one that we're working with," he said.