Gillibrand: Kavanaugh accuser shouldn't participate in 'sham' hearing

Gillibrand: Kavanaugh accuser shouldn't participate in 'sham' hearing
© Anna Moneymaker

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record 'We fight on': 2020 Democrats mark Juneteenth MORE (D-N.Y.) says that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the professor who came forward with a sexual assault accusation against Brett Kavanaugh, should not be "bullied" into testifying Monday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee without an FBI investigation being performed.

In an interview with CNN, the Democratic senator says that committee members are bullying Ford by calling for her testimony without the support of corroborating witnesses or an FBI investigation into the credibility of her claim.

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"I don't think she should be bullied into this scenario, where it's a 'he-said, she-said' when many of the committee members have already made up their minds," Gillibrand said Wednesday, when asked if she hopes Ford appears for a scheduled special session of the committee on Monday.

“Without the benefit of an FBI investigation … and without the benefit of corroborating witnesses being able to testify, it’s a sham hearing," Gillibrand continues, "and I don’t think she should participate."

"Not only should she be given the opportunity to testify, which she has asked for," Gillibrand added, "she's asked for an investigation, which is the minimum that should be afforded to her, and she will want corroborating witnesses to testify too."

Blasey Ford wrote in a letter to the committee's chairman, Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care: Trump officials defend changes to family planning program | Senators unveil bipartisan package on health costs | Democrats pass T spending bill with HHS funds Overnight Health Care: Trump officials defend changes to family planning program | Senators unveil bipartisan package on health costs | Democrats pass T spending bill with HHS funds Grassley announces opposition to key Trump proposal to lower drug prices MORE (R-Iowa), that an FBI investigation would be a necessary first step before her public testimony.

Grassley, however, has offered her the opportunity to testify privately out of the view of cameras, and Republicans have called for the hearing to move forward on Monday as planned.

“She has the option of a closed session, with cameras or without,” said Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeDemocrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Democrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Amash gets standing ovation at first town hall after calling for Trump's impeachment MORE (R-Ariz.), a member of the panel. “We want her to appear and she has said before we made the decision that she wanted to appear.”

Democrats, including the panel's ranking member, Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDemocrats detail new strategy to pressure McConnell on election security bills Democrats detail new strategy to pressure McConnell on election security bills Hillicon Valley: GOP senator wants one agency to run tech probes | Huawei expects to lose B in sales from US ban | Self-driving car bill faces tough road ahead | Elon Musk tweets that he 'deleted' his Twitter account MORE (D-Calif.), have called for Ford's accusation to be heard before Kavanaugh's nomination moves to the full Senate for a vote, and have called plans for a hearing Monday "rushed."

“The decision to come forward or not come forward has always been Christine Blasey Ford’s, and that includes her participation in a hearing," Feinstein said in a statement, which condemned "the rushed process to hold a hearing on Monday."