Ford Will Testify Thursday

Meanwhile, Kavanaugh is rehearsing.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 6.Erin Scott/ZUMA Wire

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford have reached an agreement with the Senate Judiciary Committee, She will testify before the panel on Thursday, according to reports Saturday evening. This ended days of public negotiations between Ford and the panel over the timing her testimony. The sparring left it uncertain whether Ford would, in fact, appear to detail her accusation that Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, had sexually assaulted her when they were in high school. Kavanaugh, who denies Ford’s allegations, will also testify Thursday.

Thursday’s date represents a concession by Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). He had originally insisted that Ford would have to appear Monday or not at all. Grassley’s aides, staffers for the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Ford’s lawyers were in contact Sunday morning to continue negotiations over other aspects of the hearing, the New York Times reported. Republicans continue to resist additional requests by Ford and her attorneys, refusing to ask the FBI to reopen their background review of Kavanaugh to investigate Ford’s claims.

But Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are working without the FBI to try to discredit the allegations by Ford, a psychology professor in Northern California. On Saturday, they released a statement by Leland Keyser, a woman they assert is one of five people Ford has said she recalls attending the party where she was attacked. Keyser, through an attorney, said she “does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.” Two other men believed to have been at the party, Mark Judge and Patrick Smyth, have also said they don’t recall the events Ford described.

Senate Republicans have made it clear that even as they allow Ford to appear, they will continue to back Kavanaugh and intend to confirm him as quickly as possible. That entails winning the votes of key GOP senators, especially Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Republicans hope to reassure those wavering senators by establishing a process that the senators view as fair to Ford, even as it allows Kavanaugh to mount a successful defense.

Sunday morning on Meet the Press, Sen. Collins described the importance of Thursday’s testimony.

On Saturday, Grassley announced he was giving Ford more time to negotiate the details of a hearing in a bizarre tweet addressed to Judge Kavanaugh in which the senator described his dealings with Ford apologetically. “I hope u understand,” Grassley wrote. “It’s not my normal approach to b indecisive.”

The Washington Post reported Saturday that Kavanaugh is practicing for next week’s hearing with a dozen White House aides, who are role-playing Judiciary Committee members and quizzing Kavanaugh on such topics as his sex life and drinking habits. The report said Kavanaugh grew frustrated and refused to answer some questions he deemed too personal. During the practice sessions the judge practiced striking a balance, the Post reports: He condemned sexual assault but worked to avoid directly discrediting Ford.

The Post also reported that Kavanaugh, in call a early last week, told Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) that Ford had the wrong person in mind. That appears to be part of a strategy to raise doubts that the attacker was Kavanaugh, rather than question the veracity of Ford’s traumatic experience. This conversation with Sen. Hatch raised questions about whether Kavanaugh was involved last week’s offensive by conservative activist Ed Wheelan, suggesting that Ford had confused Kavanaugh with another high school student. In a series of since-deleted tweets, Wheelan appeared to accuse that former student of attempted rape. Wheelan has denied that Kavannaugh and the White House were involved his advancement of that theory. But Democrats are expected to ask Kavanaugh about it on Thursday.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate