Chuck Grassley: Ford can testify in closed session, but FBI role is 'complete' (Update: Grassley releases letter)

Yesterday, Christine Blasey Ford’s attorneys sent a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley (Ed wrote about it here) complaining about threats she has received and about the public hearing scheduled for Monday. Ford’s lawyers also asked that an FBI investigation take place before she testifies. Wednesday morning, Sen. Grassley replied to all of those points on Twitter, starting with the threats she has received:

The letter from Ford’s attorneys also complains about the public hearing scheduled for Monday, “While Dr. Ford’s life was being turned upside down, you and your staff scheduled a public hearing for her to testify at the same table as Judge Kavanaugh in front of two dozen U.S. Senators on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident.” In response, Grassley offers to allow the hearing to be held behind closed doors if Ford prefers:

Yesterday, Sen. Jeff Flake said Ford had the option of testifying in closed session if she preferred that. It wasn’t clear at the time if that offer was Flake’s idea or if he was repeating something that had been discussed with Grassley ahead of time. In any case, Grassley is now making the same offer.

Next, Ford’s letter stated, “an FBI investigation of the incident should be the first step in addressing her allegations.” However, Grassley rejects that saying the FBI’s role is complete and adding, ” No other OUTSIDE investigation is necessary.”

So that’s a no on the FBI investigation. And Grassley seems to have some support on that point from the FBI itself:

The subject we’re talking about with regard to Kavanaugh’s nomination has changed, but the underlying dynamic has not. A couple of weeks ago Democrats were demanding a delay because they didn’t have the documents they wanted. Now they are demanding a delay for an FBI investigation that the FBI clearly doesn’t want to be involved in. What Democrats want now is the same thing they have wanted all along: To see the nomination stall so they can demand it be withdrawn.

As I pointed out yesterday, Democrats were already suggesting that Ford shouldn’t testify next week and demanding an FBI investigation, the same points made in her letter. It seems pretty clear that Democrats had either seen her letter and were trying to adopt it into their own strategy or were coordinating strategy with her.

And the GOP response hasn’t changed much either. What Grassley says here is the same thing the GOP said when Democrats demanded more documents, i.e. we’re not delaying this confirmation. As Grassley put it above, Ford’s opportunity to be heard is Monday. There’s no need for additional delay, not for the FBI and not because Ford is worried about TV cameras. She can tell her story in open session or closed session but she can tell it on Monday. And if she refuses to show up, the vote should proceed without further delay.

Update: Here’s Grassley’s letter to Ford’s attorneys in which he makes the same points he made in his tweets:

The letter hasn’t been posted on the Judiciary committee website yet so you’ll have to click on the tweet to read it for now. Also, Sen. Collins says Ford should appear Monday and references Grassley’s offer of a closed hearing: