Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) called the upcoming Senate Judiciary Committee hearing regarding an allegation of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh "a sham" and said Ford should not participate.
She made the comments during an appearance on CNN’s "Situation Room" on Wednesday.
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"I don’t think she should be bullied into this scenario where it’s a he said-she said, where many members of the committee have already made up their mind," Gillibrand said. "Without the benefit of an FBI investigation where it’s nonpartisan and objective, and without the benefit of corroborating witnesses being able to testify, it’s a sham hearing, and I don’t think she should participate in it."
On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hold a hearing to assess an allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Ford while they were in high school in the 1980s. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) has given Ford’s legal team until Friday morning to respond to his request for her to speak to the committee.
Grassley also asked the committee’s ranking Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), for a full version of the letter Ford sent Feinstein about the alleged incident. Ford claims Kavanaugh pushed her into a bedroom, tried to remove her clothes, and covered her mouth at a party while they were in high school.
An attorney for Ford said a "rush to a hearing is unnecessary, and contrary to the Committee discovering the truth." The statement added, "(Ford) continues to believe that a full non-partisan investigation of this matter is needed and she is willing to cooperate with the Committee."
"However, the Committee's stated plan to move forward with a hearing that has only two witnesses is not a fair or good faith investigation; there are multiple witnesses whose names have appeared publicly and should be included in any proceeding," the statement continued.
Sources told CNN that Monday’s hearing would likely be canceled and the committee could move to vote by midweek if Ford does not agree to speak to it.
Grassley told reporters the committee is trying to make Ford feel comfortable testifying.
"We are doing everything that we can to make Dr. Ford comfortable to coming before the committee in an open session or a closed session, or a public or a private interview," he said.
Grassley also sent a letter to Ford explaining why the Senate, not the FBI, should investigate her claims.
"The FBI does not make a credibility assessment of any information it receives with respect to a nominee. Nor is it tasked with investigating a matter simply because the Committee deems it important," he said.
"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 continued. "We have no power to commandeer an Executive Branch agency into conducting our due diligence. The job of assessing and investigating a nominee's qualifications in order to decide whether to consent to the nomination is ours, and ours alone."
Gillibrand said the Committee is mistreating Ford, telling CNN, "Well, you know, I stand with her [Ford] and she is being bullied by this committee. It’s outrageous that this committee has not moved forward despite the rest of the world. They’re stuck in decades ago."