Christine Blasey Ford’s attorney released a new statement Wednesday afternoon which, get this, happens to line up perfectly with what Democratic Senators are already saying on TV this afternoon:
New statement from Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyer, Lisa Banks: pic.twitter.com/Epa2ADXRny
— MJ Lee (@mj_lee) September 19, 2018
Here’s the key line: “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.”
Ford still hasn’t said no, but she is clearly holding out for a hearing that at least involves testimony from other witnesses. There are only three other people (besides Ford) who’ve been identified as being at the party. Kavanaugh himself is ready to testify and has flatly denied the allegation. Mark Judge has claimed he doesn’t remember the party and says he never saw Kavanaugh act the way Ford describes. Patrick J. Smyth also says he has no knowledge of the party in question or of the allegations against Kavanaugh. Neither one claims to have anything to add beyond their denials.
So why is Ford pushing so hard to have them included if they don’t back up her story? I think the answer is obvious. Here’s a clip MSNBC ran today about Mark Judge:
Bottom line: Ford probably hopes Judge could be used to dig into Kavanaugh’s past at Georgetown Prep including evidence he drank and went to parties. That would establish that the kind of party she’s describing could have happened.
But Kavanaugh’s confirmation isn’t being upended because he went to parties as a teen or even because he drank too much beer. Ultimately it comes down to the sexual assault allegation and so far Ford has no one backing up her claim beyond a counselor from 2012, nearly 30 years after the alleged incident. The one report that did seem to support her story has been retracted by the author who a) didn’t hear it from Ford and b) refuses to speak to the media. It’s not a lot to go on and there’s no indication that things are trending Ford’s way if only she is given more time. On the contrary, some Democrats are admitting (anonymously) that this is turning into a mess. From the Hill:
“I think this has been a mess from start to finish,” said one Democratic strategist who was granted anonymity to speak candidly. This source questioned why Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) kept her knowledge of Ford’s accusation to herself for so long, having first received a letter from her in July. (Feinstein has said it was because Ford was not willing to give up her own anonymity.)
But the Democratic strategist added, “On top of that, then you have the situation of Democrats saying she would testify, then a couple of days later saying ‘but only if.’ That has not helped their cause.”
Senator Grassley sent a letter to the Judiciary Committee Minority members today making some of these same points:
I have scheduled the hearing continuation for this Monday because Dr. Ford, through her counsel, expressed the desire to tell her story under oath. It is my understanding that Dr. Ford has been represented by counsel in this matter for months and thus should be adequately prepared to testify. I am following the same timeline Chairman Biden did after Professor Hill’s allegations were made public. It would be a disservice to Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh, this Committee, and the American people to delay this hearing any further…
Senator Feinstein only informed the FBI of the allegations after they were leaked to the media on the eve of a confirmation vote. The proper course of action would have been to investigate Dr. Ford’s serious allegations as quickly and as thoroughly as possible, as I did as soon as these allegations were made known to me…
This is but the latest-and most serious–of your side’s abuse of this confirmation process. There has been delay and obstruction of this process at every tum and with every argument available. Therefore, I will view any additional complaints about the process very skeptically.
Grassley is right to be skeptical. Democrats have been trying to delay this since before anyone had heard of Ford. That said, Ford does deserve a chance to have an impact on this process but she has to do that by testifying, not by demanding more delays and investigations. At some point, and that point is Monday, she has to step up and offer her accusation to the Senate (behind closed doors if necessary, without the pressure of TV cameras). If she can’t or won’t do that, then it’s entirely fair for Senator to take that refusal as an indication of the reliability of her allegation.