Grassley to Feinstein: Senate Democrats Hid Both Kavanaugh Allegations From Senate Judiciary Committee, Public

Committee chairman says won't delay Kavanaugh hearing

Sen. Chuck Grassley / Getty Images
September 25, 2018

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Tuesday declined Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D., Calif.) request to postpone the Thursday hearing where Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford are set to testify, writing her a letter in which he castigated how Senate Democrats have handled the situation.

"I write regarding your request that I postpone the hearing scheduled for Thursday, September 27, during which we will hear Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony regarding her allegations of Judge Brett Kavanaugh's conduct in high school. I respectfully decline your request," Grassley wrote.

Ford has accused Kavanaugh of drunkenly pinning her to a bed, groping her, and trying to remove her clothes when they were high school students at a party in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied the allegation.

"I am not going to silence Dr. Ford after I promised and assured her that I would provide her a safe, comfortable, and dignified opportunity to testify," Grassley added.

Delaying the hearing would be unfair to both the accuser and the accused, according to Grassley.

"Besides being unfair to Dr. Ford, whose attorney asked for a public hearing one week ago, delaying the hearing further would be unfair to Judge Kavanaugh and his family," Grassley wrote. "He [Kavanaugh] has asked the committee repeatedly for the chance to testify as soon as possible ... We can no longer stand in the way of him presenting testimony before the committee."

Grassley's letter then turned to the second allegation against Kavanaugh, which was first reported by the New Yorker magazine. Deborah Ramirez, who attended Yale University with Kavanaugh in the 1980s, has accused the Supreme Court nominee of drunkenly thrusting his penis in her face, causing her to inadvertently touch it as she pushed him away, at a party when he was a freshman. Kavanaugh has also denied that allegation, calling it a "smear, plain and simple."

Feinstein has said that Ford's testimony should be delayed because of Ramirez's allegation.

"I am unclear why Ms. Ramirez's claim should have any bearing on Dr. Ford's testimony," Grassley wrote. "In fact, the obvious connection between the two claims is that Senate Democrats hid both allegations of misconduct from the committee and the public. "

"Indeed, " he continued,  "it was reportedly Senate Democratic staff who conveyed the allegations to the media rather than alert Republican staff to conduct a bipartisan investigation."

Grassley also touched on why he is not calling for an FBI investigation into the claims against Kavanaugh.

"As you know, Judge Kavanaugh has gone through six FBI background investigations over the past 25 years," he wrote. "The FBI's investigations covered his time at Yale and uncovered nothing remotely similar to the misconduct alleged by Ms. Ramirez."

Grassley's letter also questioned how the New Yorker verified what "transpired at a dormitory party 35 years ago" since "even the liberal New York Times did not find these allegations fit to print."

The final paragraph of Grassley's letter to Feinstein indicated that Ramirez's allegations may not be entirely true, and that forcing her to testify before the committee could put her at risk of criminal penalty.

"False statements made to the press are not subject to criminal penalty, but false statements to Congress are," he wrote.

Grassley did say that the committee would decide how to proceed if Ramirez submits testimony and evidence to the committee, but noted that no such evidence has been shared at this time.

Kavanaugh and Ford are set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.