Attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, asked the Senate Judiciary Commitee on Friday night for an additional day to make her decision to testify.
Shortly before midnight Friday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley tweeted that he had granted the extension, addressing the tweet to Kavanaugh.
"Judge Kavanaugh I just granted another extension to Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed w the statement she made last week to testify to the senate," Grassley wrote. "She shld decide so we can move on I want to hear her. I hope u understand. It’s not my normal approach to b indecisive."
Senate Republicans earlier Friday extended a counteroffer to Ford to testify on Capitol Hill next Wednesday, amid negotiations over whether she would elaborate on her allegations against Kavanaugh in public.
Fox News was told that the Republican senators wanted an answer “by the end of the day.”
In a statement released earlier Friday evening, Grassley had extended the deadline for a response to 10 p.m. If there was no response, or a rejection of the offer, Grassley said in a statement then, the committee may set a vote on Kavanaugh's nomination for Monday.
But Ford's lawyer, Debra Katz, labeled the 10 p.m. deadline "arbitrary."
"Its sole purpose is to bully Dr. Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision that has life-altering implications for her and her family," Katz said in a statement. "She has already been forced out of her home and continues to be subjected to harassment, hate mail, and death threats. Our modest request is that she be given an additional day to make her decision."
"The imposition of aggressive and artificial deadlines regarding the date and conditions of any hearing has created tremendous and unwarranted anxiety and stress on Dr. Ford," Katz said. "Your cavalier treatment of a sexual assault survivor who has been doing her best to cooperate with the Committee is completely inappropriate."
For their part, Democrats had reacted negatively to the Friday offer.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Ford shouldn’t “be rushed,” adding that Ford can’t testify any earlier than Thursday.
“Show some heart,” Feinstein said. “Wait until Dr. Ford feels that she can come before the committee.”
Another Democrat on the judiciary committee, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, said Ford deserved extra time to respond.
“After spending the day in FBI interviews about death threats against her, Dr. Blasey (sic) deserves the minimal decency of 24 hours to make a decision about testifying," Blumenthal wrote in a statement. "Rejecting her request would take the Senate to a shameful new low — a blatant abuse of power. Republican colleagues have a moral and Constitutional duty to stop the ugly unacceptable bullying.”
Ford has accused Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her while both were in high school. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
Grassley initially invited Ford to testify on Monday and gave Ford until 10 a.m. Friday to respond. That deadline passed Friday without a deal after Ford’s attorneys made clear this week Ford didn’t want to testify Monday but suggested she would do so on another day.
Meanwhile, President Trump on Friday called for Ford to testify, saying it’s time for the Senate to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
The president was also critical of Feinstein for receiving a letter from Ford outlining her allegations in July, but failing to disclose them, even anonymously, to federal officials or other committee members until last week.
"Senator Feinstein and the Democrats held the letter for months, only to release it with a bang after the hearings were OVER - done very purposefully to Obstruct & Resist & Delay," Trump tweeted Friday. "Let her testify, or not, and TAKE THE VOTE!"
Trump also took issue with Ford’s legal team saying they want the FBI to investigate the allegations – something the bureau has indicated it has no plans to do.
"The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW," Trump tweeted. "Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?"
Kavanaugh, in a letter to the Judiciary Committee on Thursday, indicated he would be ready and willing to testify on Monday. "I continue to want a hearing as soon as possible, so that I can clear my name," he wrote.
"Since the moment I first heard this allegation, I have categorically and unequivocally denied it. I remain committed to defending my integrity."