Murkowski says she’ll wait until Ford testifies before making decision on Kavanaugh

Murkowski says she’ll wait until Ford testifies before making decision on Kavanaugh
© Anna Moneymaker

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 (R-Alaska), a crucial potential swing vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, said Friday she will wait to hear testimony from the woman accusing him of sexual misconduct before making her decision.

"What I have to do next week, assuming that the hearing moves forward, which I am truly hoping it does, that is the end, hopefully, of this vetting process that I have been engaged in ... That's when I will make my determination in regards to Judge Kavanaugh," Murkowski told CNN.

Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh's accuser, is in negotiations with the Senate Judiciary Committee to arrange her public testimony. She initially expressed openness to a public hearing on Monday, but has since pushed for the FBI to investigate her claims and has proposed several conditions for her testimony.

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Staff for Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by Amgen — House passes bill to stop drug companies overcharging Medicaid | Incoming Dem chairman open to 'Medicare For All' hearings | Bill to reduce maternal mortality rates passes House House passes bill to keep drug companies from overcharging Medicaid Pence casts tie-breaking vote for Trump appeals court judge MORE (R-Iowa) said Friday that they have accommodated Ford on several requests, including limiting the number of cameras in the room for her testimony and not allowing Kavanaugh in the room when she testifies.

But Republicans have rejected several other requests, including that they subpoena a former classmate of Kavanaugh's whom Ford has named as a witness to the alleged assault and that the nominee testify first.  

"I think that where we are right now with the Senate and Judiciary Committee particularly, going through its process, a process that hopefully will allow for an airing of the allegations Dr. Ford has submitted in writing ... but equally important is a fair opportunity for Judge Kavanaugh to respond," Murkowski told CNN. "That's what we should be focusing on." 

Murkowski also responded to a series of tweets from President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republicans move to block Yemen war-powers votes for rest of Congress Trump says he's considering 10 to 12 contenders for chief of staff Michael Flynn asks judge to spare him from jail time MORE slamming Ford on Friday, in which he said that she was represented by “radical left wing politicians.”

"Comments that go to other aspects, questioning the judgment, I don't believe they are helpful," Murkowski told CNN.

"And quite frankly, I wish the president had continued what he has been doing, which is basically allowing the Senate and Judiciary Committee to proceed with its work as the committee needs to do." 

Republicans currently have a 51-49 majority in the Senate and can only afford one GOP defection before leaning on Democrats to vote to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. 

Ford has accused Kavanaugh of pinning her to a bed and attempting to remove her clothes during a high school party in the early 1980s when both were teenagers. Kavanaugh has flatly denied the allegations.