Grassley wants unredacted version of letter from Kavanaugh's accuser

Grassley wants unredacted version of letter from Kavanaugh's accuser
© Anna Moneymaker

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyFive takeaways from the court decision striking down ObamaCare The Year Ahead: Tough tests loom for Trump trade agenda Senate heads toward floor fight on criminal justice bill MORE (R-Iowa) is demanding that ranking member Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate Dems urge Trump to continue nuclear arms control negotiations after treaty suspension Senate Intel leaders ask judge not to jail former aide amid leak investigation Dems demand Pompeo brief Congress on whether he discussed Assange with Ecuadorian official MORE (D-Calif.) hand over an unredacted version of the letter from a woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

Grassley in a letter sent Wednesday to Feinstein said he needs an unredacted copy in order to prepare for the Monday hearing where Republicans have invited both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, to testify.

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"My staff has made repeated requests for this document — which has become a significant piece of evidence in Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation process — but your staff has so far refused to provide a copy of the letter," Grassley wrote. "I must review the unredacted letter that Dr. Ford sent to you, dated July 30, 2018. I ask that you send me a copy of the original, unredacted letter immediately."

Grassley's letter is the latest in an increasingly partisan standoff over the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.

Republicans are expected to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination as soon as next week, while Democrats are demanding that Monday’s hearing be delayed and that the FBI reopen its background investigation of Kavanaugh.

Grassley, in his letter, noted that Ford has until 10 a.m. on Friday to say whether she will attend the hearing.

He also berated Feinstein over her handling of the letter, accusing her of sitting "on the allegations until a politically opportune moment."

"I cannot overstate how disappointed I am in this decision,” he wrote. “It has caused me to have to reopen the hearings for the fifth day of testimony, when we easily could have—and should have—raised these issues before or during the first four days of the hearing.”

Feinstein turned over a redacted version of the letter to the FBI last week. The FBI then added the letter to Kavanaugh's background file, which was then given to the White House and the Judiciary Committee.

Grassley added that the only version of Ford’s letter that he has is the redacted one given to him as part of Kavanaugh's updated background file.

"Had Dr. Ford not made her allegations public via the Washington Post over the weekend, I still would not know her identity," Grassley wrote.

Spokespeople for Feinstein didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about what redactions were made in the letter given to the FBI.

But senators say Ford's name was redacted. A version of the letter posted by CNN also redacted the names of other individuals at the party where Ford alleges Kavanaugh pinned her down and tried to remove her clothing.

Kavanaugh has denied wrongdoing.