Grassley says Kavanaugh hearing will go on amid latest allegation

Grassley says Kavanaugh hearing will go on amid latest allegation
© Anna Moneymaker

Sen. 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) on Wednesday said that a planned hearing where Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a woman accusing him of sexual assault are expected to testify will go forward on Thursday as Kavanaugh faces allegations of sexual misconduct from a third woman. 

"I feel like I have a definite responsibility to hold a hearing, not only for (Blasey Ford) but for Judge Kavanaugh," Grassley told reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday. 

The high-profile Senate Judiciary Committee hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday, with Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, his first public accuser, scheduled to speak. 

Ford alleges that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed at a party in the early 1980s and tried to remove her clothing. Kavanaugh has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. 

Republicans have hired an outside counsel to ask questions. Grassley, the committee's chairman, separately told reporters that he wasn't sure if that meant Republican senators wouldn't also ask questions.

There had been no indication from Republicans that they would call off the hearing after lawyer Michael Avenatti revealed allegations from a third accuser against Kavanaugh on Wednesday. 

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynKevin McLaughlin tapped to serve as NRSC executive director for 2020 On The Money: Trump leaves GOP in turmoil with shutdown looming | Trump names Mulvaney acting chief of staff | China agrees to 3-month freeze of auto tariffs | Dem to seek Deutsche Bank records of Trump's personal finances The Hill's Morning Report — Trump maintains his innocence amid mounting controversies MORE (R-Texas) told reporters that a committee vote on Friday on Kavanaugh's nomination was "the goal."  

The plan to push forward with the hearing comes despite Avenatti's release of the identity of a client who is accusing Kavanaugh of being present for a “gang rape” where she was a victim.   

Avenatti, who also represents adult-film star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuits against President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Memo: Cohen fans flames around Trump Memo Comey used to brief Trump on dossier released: report MORE, tweeted out a sworn declaration from Julie Swetnick in which she declares she met Kavanaugh in “approximately 1980-1981” and attended several house parties at which Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were also present. 

The Judiciary Committee is reviewing the allegation.