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

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

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandDems lower expectations for 'blue wave' Booker bill would create federally funded savings account for every child Affordable housing set for spotlight of next presidential campaign 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 GrassleyGOP plays hardball in race to confirm Trump's court picks Trump officials ratchet up drug pricing fight Dems angered by GOP plan to hold judicial hearings in October 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 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 (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 FeinsteinPoll: Feinstein holds 18-point lead over challenger Durbin to Trump: ‘We’re the mob? Give me a break’ Sen. Walter Huddleston was a reminder that immigration used to be a bipartisan issue 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."