Collins: Kavanaugh accuser should 'reconsider,' testify on Monday

Collins: Kavanaugh accuser should 'reconsider,' testify on Monday
© Anna Moneymaker

GOP Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsManchin wrestles with progressive backlash in West Virginia Conservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns MORE (Maine), a key vote in the Supreme Court fight, on Wednesday urged a woman accusing nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault to speak with the Senate about her allegation.

"I hope that Dr. Ford will reconsider and testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday," Collins said in a tweet, referring to Christine Blasey Ford.

She added that it is her understanding that the Judiciary Committee "has offered to hold either a public or a private session, whichever would make [Ford] more comfortable."

Collins's public urging comes after Ford’s lawyers said in a letter to the Judiciary Committee this week that Ford wants the FBI to investigate her allegation before she speaks with the panel.

Her lawyer said on CNN that Ford is not prepared to speak at Monday’s hearing, though she left open the door to talking with the Judiciary Committee in some capacity.

Ford alleges that Kavanaugh pinned her down to a bed and tried to remove her clothing during a party in the early 1980s when they were both in high school. Kavanaugh denies any wrongdoing.

Collins's comments are significant because she is part of a small group of undecided senators who will play an important role in determining whether Kavanaugh is confirmed.

In addition to Collins, GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCongress raises pressure on Saudi Arabia Flake says he and his family got death threats 'from the right' Trump boosts McSally, bashes Sinema in Arizona MORE (Ariz.) — who had threatened to vote "no" on Kavanaugh if Ford wasn't given the chance to publicly testify — is also urging her to speak with the Senate.

Spokespeople for GOP Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiPoll: Palin unpopular in Alaska following jab at Murkowski Conservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign Ex-Florida lawmaker leaves Republican Party MORE (Alaska), another swing vote, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about whether she supports moving forward with Kavanaugh's nomination if Ford refuses to testify.

Republicans have a 51-seat majority, meaning they can afford to lose only one GOP senator before they need to lean on Democrats to confirm Kavanaugh.

The sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh initially appeared to throw his nomination into jeopardy, with GOP leadership scheduling Monday’s public hearing amid intense pressure from their caucus members.

But Republicans are now signaling they are preparing to move forward with the nomination regardless of whether Ford testifies.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCongress raises pressure on Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia's myopia is the cause of the Khashoggi blunder Graham on Saudi Arabia: 'I feel completely betrayed' MORE (R-S.C.), a member of the Judiciary committee, said in a statement Wednesday that "it is imperative the Judiciary committee move forward on the Kavanaugh nomination and a committee vote be taken as soon as possible.”