Grassley: Committee vote Monday if Ford decides not to testify (Update: Ford seeks new deadline)

Chairman Grassley says a committee vote on Judge Kavanaugh will take place Monday in the event that Christine Blasey Ford fails to respond or chooses not to testify. CNN’s Manu Raju tweeted the following quote from Grassley:

As far as the response Grassley is waiting for, that has been a shifting deadline. Yesterday, the deadline for Ford to submit written remarks for a proposed Monday hearing was set for 10 am this morning. However, this morning that deadline was extended first until 5 pm and now until 10 pm tonight.

As I write this that’s about 3 hours away. But it seems Sen. Grassley isn’t waiting for Ford’s reply to decide how some things will go next week. Ford wanted only Senators to ask questions but Grassley says female staff attorneys will be allowed to ask questions:

And as expected, the committee will not subpoena Mark Judge or other possible witnesses to appear. “The committee does not take witness requests from other witnesses,” Grassley said.

It seems like a good thing that Grassley is establishing some shape on this amorphous mess. No doubt Democrats will be outrageously outraged by every bit of this, but it all sounds pretty reasonable to me. If Ford won’t testify, the vote should happen Monday.

Of course, this raises two questions. First, will Ford’s attorney give a signal tonight before the new deadline or will she ignore it? The second related question is this: What happens if Ford announces Monday morning that she’s ready?

Given the stakes, it’s hard to believe Grassley would tell her it’s too late even if her announcement comes 10 minutes before the vote. He would be taking a huge risk to decide Kavanaugh’s fate on a purely procedural point. So it seems to me that, deadline aside, Ford is (literally) in the driver’s seat at the moment with regard to the timing.

Of course, there’s no reason her attorneys can’t tell the committee what she plans to do tonight by 10 pm. The only reason not to do so is to stick a thumb in the GOP’s eye. It seems increasingly clear that’s how Ford is approaching all of this, as a partisan seeking every advantage. If her team blows the deadline, I expect to see 25 nearly identical think-pieces over the weekend about why her snub makes her a champion for women.

On the other points— who will do the questioning, the order in which Ford and Kavanaugh appear, and the additional witnesses— Grassley seems in control. But all we know for certain right now is that the roller-coaster ride isn’t over yet.

Update: As predicted, Ford refuses to answer the committee by the 10 pm deadline:

Again, this looks like pure politics to me. She seems to be cultivating a resistance fan club and you don’t do that by submitting to Chuck Grassley’s timeline.

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Jazz Shaw 7:31 PM on October 02, 2022