Kavanaugh is looking more and more like the next Supreme Court Judge…. Ford will not testify

If Christine Blasey Ford ultimately remains far from the Senate Judiciary Committee next week and does not relate her allegations of being assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh decades ago, senators in both parties on Wednesday said they will be frustrated, but hinted they may also be relieved.

In a political maelstrom, the controversy shifted on Wednesday from Kavanaugh’s conduct to Ford’s own behavior — her reluctance to testify in an environment in which senators are focused on process and timing, and busy pointing fingers at one another.

If Ford declines to participate, key GOP senators said they have no recourse but to move with all deliberate speed to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination. They described as “fair” their responsibility to give the nominee, who has denied the allegations, their decisions.

It’s possible more testimony and questioning of Kavanaugh, scheduled for Monday, may not take place if Ford declines the invitation to testify.

The New York Times: Friends describe Ford, a university professor, as a precise, logical scientific thinker and research psychologist; a community leader; a woman of integrity; a wife and mother of two boys.

“Without the benefit of an FBI investigation … and without the benefit of corroborating witnesses being able to testify, it’s a sham hearing, and I don’t think she should participate,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) told CNN.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a key vote within a majority that has few to spare when it comes to the Supreme Court battle, said she wants to hear Ford’s information, but it better be soon.

“Much to my surprise it now appears she’s turning down all three options [offered by the Senate to answer questions], even though her attorney said earlier this week that she would come testify,” Collins told a radio interviewer in Maine.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he would fly his committee staff to California to question Ford on her home turf, if that was her preference. In a three-page letter to the panel’s Democrats, Grassley said he’d already offered Kavanaugh’s accuser “a public hearing, a private hearing, a public staff interview or a private staff interview.”

Responding to Democrats’ calls for a pause in the process to allow for an FBI investigation, Grassley wrote “there is no longer a need for a confidential FBI investigation” because Ford made her allegations public during an interview with The Washington Post. The inquiry is now up to senators, he said.

“We have no reason to doubt the truthfulness of Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony,” Grassley concluded.

President Trump on Wednesday expressed confidence in Senate Republicans, adding that he held his nominee in such high regard, it is “very hard for me to imagine that anything happened.”

“Justice Kavanaugh has been treated very, very tough, and his family,” the president said. “I think it’s a very unfair thing what’s going. So we’ll see. But I do think this: They’ve given it a lot of time. They will continue to give it a lot of time. And, really, it’s up to the Senate, and I really rely on them.”

The Hill: Trump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle.

The Hill: Key GOP senators cool to Ford’s demands.

The Hill: Grassley rejects Democratic request to delay Kavanaugh testimony pending investigation.

The Hill: The FBI wrinkle, explained.

The Hill: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who faces a tough reelection bid this fall in a state in which Trump will campaign on Friday, announced she opposes Kavanaugh’s nomination. She said her decision is based on the appellate court judge’s support for unlimited campaign contributions.

Reuters: Americans’ opposition to Kavanaugh grows, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted Sept. 11-17.

The Hill: Ford’s reluctance gives the GOP an opening to escape its predicament.

The New York Times: “There is rising confidence among many leading Democrats that, at the very least, the claim of sexual misconduct deprives Republicans of a potent issue to wield against senators who vote no.”

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