Republicans are forging ahead with plans for a Senate hearing they had hoped to avoid on a woman’s claims that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when both were in high school, hoping to salvage his endangered Supreme Court nomination with a risky, nationally televised showdown between the judge and his accuser.
Republicans reversed course and agreed to the hearing in the face of growing demands by GOP senators to hear directly from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, now a psychology professor in California. Their sworn testimony, certain to be conflicting and emotive, will offer a campaign-season test of the political potency of a #MeToo movement that has already toppled prominent men from entertainment, government and journalism.
“Now the whole nation’s trying to figure out something that’s not really evident,” said Sen. James Lankford(R-OK). “It is a political dialogue on a very, very painful subject for a lot of people.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said his panel would hold a hearing next Monday with both Kavanaugh and Ford “to provide ample transparency” and “give these recent allegations a full airing.”
Ford says that at a party when both were teenagers in the early 1980s, an intoxicated Kavanaugh trapped her in a bedroom, pinned her on a bed, tried to undress her and forced his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream. She said she got away when a companion of Kavanaugh’s jumped on him. Kavanaugh, 53, has vehemently denied the accusation.