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

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

GOP Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsLobbying World Senators want assurances from attorney general pick on fate of Mueller probe 5 themes to watch for in 2020 fight for House 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 FlakePence casts tie-breaking vote for Trump appeals court judge Dem: 'Disheartening' that Republicans who 'stepped up' to defend Mueller are leaving Flake: Republican Party ‘is a frog slowly boiling in water’ 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 MurkowskiSenate advances Trump energy pick after Manchin flips The Senate must reject Bernard McNamee’s nomination for FERC Overnight Defense: Congress pauses to mourn George H.W. Bush | Haspel to brief senators on Khashoggi killing | Soldier is fourth to die from Afghan IED blast 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 GrahamOval Office clash ups chances of shutdown Republicans skeptical of Trump’s plan to have military build the wall Corker to introduce resolution holding Saudi crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi's death 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.”