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 CornynMJ Hegar announces Texas Senate bid Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 Trump struggles to reshape Fed MORE (Texas) said when asked about the potential of using an outside counsel.
 
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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 AyotteNew Hampshire senator to ask 2020 Dems to back repeal of state residency law Schultz recruiting GOP insiders ahead of possible 2020 bid Bottom Line 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 CollinsMcConnell pledges to be 'Grim Reaper' for progressive policies Senate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller Collins: Mueller report includes 'an unflattering portrayal' of Trump 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.