Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) released a statement Monday saying California professor Christine Blasey Ford deserves to be heard regarding her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
"Anyone who comes forward as Dr. Ford has deserves to be heard, so I will continue working on a way to hear her out in an appropriate, precedented and respectful manner," Grassley wrote in a statement.
Ford told the Washington Post that Kavanaugh, then a junior in high school, attacked her when they were at a party in Maryland in the early 1980s. She alleged Kavanaugh forced her onto a bed, groped her, and tried to remove her clothes while he was heavily intoxicated, all while his friend Mark Judge watched. She said she managed to escape after Judge jumped on them, sending them tumbling and giving her an opportunity to get out of the room.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegation and released another statement on Monday where he said he is willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee again.
"This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes–to her or to anyone," Kavanaugh wrote.
Before Ford's name was released, Judge also denied the allegation.
Grassley said ranking Democratic member on the Judiciary Committee Sen. Diane Feinstein (Calif.) has refused to cooperate in assisting a follow-up call for Ford to tell her story.
"The standard procedure for updates to any nominee’s background investigation file is to conduct separate follow-up calls with relevant parties. In this case, that would entail phone calls with at least Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford. Consistent with that practice, I asked Senator Feinstein’s office yesterday to join me in scheduling these follow-ups. Thus far, they have refused," Grassley wrote. "But as a necessary step in evaluating these claims, I’ll continue working to set them up."
Feinstein received a letter from Ford about the allegations in July. She didn't share the information with her colleagues on the committee because Ford wished to remain anonymous at the time. Contents of the letter were then leaked and subsequently Ford decided to come forward publicly.
Grassley criticized Feinstein's decision to hold onto the information for six weeks.
"Unfortunately, committee Republicans have only known this person's identity from news reports for less than 24 hours and known about her allegations for less than a week. Senator Feinstein, on the other hand, has had this information for many weeks and deprived her colleagues of the information necessary to do our jobs. The Minority withheld even the anonymous allegations for six weeks, only to later decide that they were serious enough to investigate on the eve of the committee vote, after the vetting process had been completed," Grassley said in the statement. "It’s deeply disturbing that the existence of these allegations were leaked in a way that seemed to preclude Dr. Ford’s confidentiality."
Ford, a registered Democrat, is being represented by Washington attorney Debra Katz, known for her work with #MeToo accusers, the Washington Free Beacon reported. Katz is a committed "Resistance" member opposed to the Trump administration, she told the University of Wisconsin Law School alumni magazine.
In response to Ford's allegations, Democrats and a few Republicans have called for a delay in the committee vote for Kavanaugh, scheduled for Thursday.