Grassley willing to send staff to California to speak with Kavanaugh accuser

Grassley willing to send staff to California to speak with Kavanaugh accuser
© Anna Moneymaker
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenators introduce Trump-backed criminal justice bill Congress should ban life without parole sentences for children  Grassley: McConnell owes me for judicial nominations MORE (R-Iowa) is willing to send staff to speak with the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault to hear her story, an aide said Wednesday.
 
Committee spokesman Garrett Ventry told The Hill that Grassley is willing to send committee staff to speak with Christine Blasey Ford in California, where she is a professor at Palo Alto University.
 
Grassley separately told reporters on Wednesday that he is offering four potential venues to hear from Ford, including a public or private hearing before committee members, or public or private interviews with committee staff.
 
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"We’re going to continue to try to hear from Dr. Ford in any format she's comfortable [with] open session/closed session/private staff interviews/public staff interviews [because] her information is very important. We’ve provided an opportunity for her to put her story fwd on Monday," Grassley tweeted.
 
Grassley has pushed for Ford to speak with the Senate after her lawyers on Tuesday night pulled back on plans for her to testify before the Judiciary Committee, saying that the FBI should investigate her claims before she testifies.
 
Ford has accused Kavanaugh of pinning her down on a bed and trying to remove her clothing during a party in the early 1980s when they were both in high school. Kavanaugh has denied wrongdoing and agreed to testify. 
 
The offer to Ford comes as Republicans appear willing to move forward with Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination if Ford does not appear at a hearing scheduled for Monday. Republicans had invited both Ford and Kavanaugh. 
 
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: Trump’s new AG has ‘concerns’ about criminal justice bill Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Border deployment 'peaked' at 5,800 troops | Trump sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | Senators offer bill to press Trump on Saudis | Paul effort to block Bahrain arms sale fails Senators introduce Trump-backed criminal justice bill MORE (R-S.C.), a member of the committee, said on Wednesday that "it is imperative the Judiciary Committee move forward on the Kavanaugh nomination and a committee vote be taken as soon as possible.”
 
Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerOvernight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Border deployment 'peaked' at 5,800 troops | Trump sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | Senators offer bill to press Trump on Saudis | Paul effort to block Bahrain arms sale fails Washington Post publisher: Trump officials, Saudis asking world to 'take their word' on Khashoggi murder Corker: 'A price needs to be paid' for Khashoggi's murder MORE (R-Tenn.), who initially urged for the Judiciary Committee to pause the nomination to hear from Ford, said on Tuesday night that "if we don’t hear from both sides on Monday, let’s vote." 
 
Ford's lawyers indicated in a letter to the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday night that she wanted an FBI investigation before she agreed to testify. Senate Republicans and the White House have both pushed back on plans for such an investigation.
 
“Well, it would seem that the FBI really doesn’t do that," Trump told reporters on Wednesday.
 
A government official told The Hill late last week that a criminal investigation had not been opened. And a Justice Department (DOJ) spokeswoman added on Monday that the "allegation does not involve any potential federal crime."
 
"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," the DOJ said in a statement.
 
But Democrats argue that the FBI could reopen its background investigation and interview Ford, Kavanaugh and other potential witnesses.
 
"The FBI routinely investigates allegations like Dr. Ford’s. They did it with Anita Hill’s allegations 27 years ago and they did it this year with allegations against Rob Porter. The FBI needs to investigate and the Senate needs to wait until that’s done," Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinTop Dems: DOJ position on Whitaker appointment 'fatally flawed' Congress needs to wake up to nuclear security threat Democrats in murky legal water with Whitaker lawsuits MORE (D-Calif.) wrote in a tweet on Wednesday