Grassley sets Friday deadline for Kavanaugh accuser to say if she will testify

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is giving Christine Blasey Ford until Friday morning to say whether she will take lawmakers up on their offer to testify about her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Grassley, in a letter to Ford’s attorneys on Wednesday, set a 10 a.m. Friday deadline to respond to the invitation “if she intends to testify on Monday.”

“You have stated repeatedly that Dr. Ford wants to tell her story,” Grassley wrote in the letter. “I sincerely hope that Dr. Ford will accept my invitation to do so, either privately or publicly, on Monday.”

It’s still not clear if Ford -- who claims Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than 35 years ago while in high school -- will ultimately accept the invitation to testify on Capitol Hill.

Earlier this week, her attorney said Ford was willing to do so. But her legal team now says she won’t testify until the FBI investigates the allegations, something Republicans and the bureau have rejected.

Grassley said it’s not the FBI’s “role to investigate a matter such as this.”


“The Constitution assigns the Senate, and only the Senate, with the task of advising the president on his nominee and consenting to the nomination if the circumstances merit,” Grassley said in his letter to Ford’s lawyers.

A federal law enforcement official told Fox News that Ford's insistence on an FBI probe is "totally inappropriate."

"It's totally inappropriate for someone to demand we use law enforcement resources to investigate a 35-year-old allegation when she won't go under oath and can't remember key details including when or where it happened," the official said.

A highly placed law enforcement source also said there won’t be an FBI investigation because there are no allegations a federal crime was committed. The bureau has also already conducted a background investigation.

In a follow-up letter Wednesday, the lawyers, Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, doubled down on that request, even as Republicans characterized it as a stall tactic that did not excuse Ford from providing sworn testimony before the Senate.

"Dr. Ford was reluctantly thrust into the public spotlight only two days ago. She is currently unable to go home, and is receiving ongoing threats to her and her family's safety," the lawyers wrote. "Fairness and respect for her situation dictate that she should have time to deal with this. She continues to believe that a full nonpartisan investigation of this matter is needed and she is willing to cooperate with the Committee. "

Also on Wednesday, Grassley unloaded a torrent of criticism on Sen. Dianne Feinstein for her handling of the sexual assault accusations, telling the ranking Democrat on the committee, "I cannot overstate how disappointed I am."

Saying Feinstein "chose to sit on the allegations until a politically opportune moment," Grassley demanded she immediately turn over an unredacted copy of the letter from Ford that Feinstein received July 30.

Feinstein, D-Calif., shared the letter with federal authorities and other senators only last week, days before a key Judiciary Committee vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation, after a leak about the letter was published in The Intercept.

Republicans have accused Democrats of orchestrating that leak.

Grassley who called the document a "significant piece of evidence in Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation process," said that despite multiple requests, he still has access only to a redacted copy of the letter included in supplemental background materials provided by the FBI to a select group of senators.

Meanwhile, President Trump said Wednesday he hopes Ford appears before the committee.

“If she shows up, that would be wonderful,” Trump said. “If she doesn't show up, that would be unfortunate.”

A growing number of Republican senators have called for moving ahead to a vote if Ford doesn’t show up for the planned hearing.

Ford went public on Sunday, alleging that Kavanaugh forced himself onto her and covered her mouth in the 1980s, when Kavanaugh was 17 and she was 15. Ford did not mention the incident to others by her own admission until 2012, according to The Washington Post, when her therapist recorded her claim that four individuals had committed the assault.

Ford has since claimed that the therapist incorrectly transcribed that detail, and that she had said there were only two people in the room. Her husband has maintained that Ford mentioned Kavanaugh in the therapy sessions.

Ford also told The Post she could not remember in whose house the alleged incident occurred, the exact month of the episode, or why there was a gathering there.

Fox News' Gregg Re contributed to this report.