Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the woman alleging he assaulted her in high school will both testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, delaying the committee's vote previously scheduled for Thursday, the committee announced Monday night.
The move represents a significant move and change in Kavanaugh's confirmation process, after Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University, went public with her claims in an interview published Sunday in the Washington Post Sunday. The committee hearing is expected to take place Monday at 10 a.m. Then, the committee will likely hold a vote the following day on Tuesday, a Senate Republican tells CBS News correspondent Ed O'Keefe.
"As I said earlier, anyone who comes forward as Dr. Ford has done deserves to be heard," Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley said in a statement. "My staff has reached out to Dr. Ford to hear her account, and they held a follow-up call with Judge Kavanaugh this afternoon. Unfortunately, committee Democrats have refused to join us in this effort. However, to provide ample transparency, we will hold a public hearing Monday to give these recent allegations a full airing."
Kavanaugh and Ford have both expressed a willingness to testify.
Ford's attorney Debra Katz said Ford is "willing to do whatever is necessary" to make sure the committee has the "full story."
The decision to hold a public hearing comes after a number of Republicans have said they want to hear from Ford before voting, and President Trump expressed openness to a "little delay" in the process. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she wanted to hear from both Kavanaugh and Ford under oath.
Here are the developments on the Kavanaugh story from earlier:
5:52 p.m.: White House says Kavanaugh is ready to testify about "false" allegation
The White House issued yet another statement Monday on Kavanaugh late Monday afternoon.
"Judge Kavanaugh looks forward to a hearing where he can clear his name of this false allegation," White House spokesman Raj Shah said. "He stands ready to testify tomorrow if the Senate is ready to hear him."
4:27 p.m. Kavanaugh expected to address Senate Judiciary Committee staffers in phone call
Kavanaugh is speaking to staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee about the allegation on a call at 5:30 p.m., a source familiar with the committee's process and schedule said. Democratic staffers, according to the source, have no plans to participate.
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee explained in a statement why they are not participating.
"With only a few hours' notice and over the objections of Ranking Member Feinstein, Judiciary Committee Republicans scheduled a staff-level phone call with BrettKavanaugh concerning allegations that he sexually assaulted a young woman," the statement said. "In view of the enormity and seriousness of these allegations, a staff-only phone call behind closed doors is unacceptable and Democratic staff will not participate. This isn't how things should be done and is in complete violation of how this committee has worked in the past."
"The FBI has the resources and know-how to conduct an objective, independent evaluation of these sensitive allegations with appropriately trained investigators. This isn't just about an interview, it's about analyzing information and gathering the facts. That's what the FBI does, and that's why they're in charge of the background review process.
3:30 p.m.: Mitch McConnell calls into question Democrats "11th hour" allegation
Taking to the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Democrats' handling of the Kavanaugh allegations was "really not fair." McConnell commended Chairman Grassley for following regular order in the process and urged to "pursue this by the book."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer however argued that Grassley has to "stop playing games" with the process, saying that "hastily arranged private phone calls" are "not even close to constituting a fair and thorough review" and are not a substitute for an FBI background check or public hearing.
He urged that the Senate "should and must provide a forum" for Ford to speak to her allegations.
3:00 p.m.: Trump praises Kavanaugh, but is open to a slight delay
President Trump spoke up about Kavanaugh for the first time Monday afternoon in a meeting at the White House. Mr. Trump praised Kavanaugh's intellect and background, but also said he wants everyone in the process to be happy and is open to a slight delay.
"He's an outstanding intellect. An outstanding judge. Respected by everybody," the president told reporters. "Never even had a little blemish on his record. The FBI has I think gone through a process six times with him over the years where he went to higher and higher positions. He is somebody very special. At the same time, we want to go through a process. We want to make sure everything is perfect, everything is just right."
1:40 p.m.: TIMES UP releases statement in support of Ford
Organizers of the TIMES UP movement, which first became known during the wave of sexual assault allegations that rocked Hollywood, said in a statement, "If this moment in time feels strangely familiar, it's because it is. Listen to Christine Blasey Ford. A woman's experience should never be valued less than a man's career."
Read their statement here:
If this moment in time feels strangely familiar, it’s because it is. Listen to Christine Blasey Ford. A woman's experience should never be valued less than a man’s career.— TIME'S UP (@TIMESUPNOW) September 17, 2018
Full statement below: pic.twitter.com/eRoiHz5PNF
12:20 p.m.: Grassley says Ford deserves to be heard
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement that anyone who comes forward as Ford does should be heard — but stopped short of suggesting testifying before the full committee. Ford has expressed a willingness to speak before the committee, as has 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 said. "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," Grassley continued. "Consistent with that practice, I asked Senator Feinstein's office yesterday to join me in scheduling these follow-ups. Thus far, they have refused. But as a necessary step in evaluating these claims, I'll continue working to set them up."
12:03 p.m.: Conservative group launches $1.5 million ad campaign for Kavanaugh
A spokeswoman for the Judicial Crisis Network, which has been working to help confirm Kavanaugh, confirmed the group will be announcing a $1.5 million cable and broadcast TV ad blitz to support Kavanaugh. It will feature a 35-year friend of Kavanaugh.
"We are not going to allow a last-minute smear campaign destroy a good and decent man who has an unblemished personal record," the spokeswoman said.
12:03 p.m.: Sen. Susan Collins says Ford and Kavanaugh should testify under oath
Sen. Susan Collins, one of the Republicans her own party has been working to ensure votes for Kavanaugh, tweeted that she wants both Ford and Kavanaugh to testify under oath in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh should both testify under oath before the Judiciary Committee," she wrote.
11:34 a.m.: FBI reiterates there is no investigation into Kavanaugh
Asked whether the FBI is investigating the Kavanaugh allegation, the FBI said, as it did last week, that there is no FBI investigation. The FBI pointed CBS News back to its statement from last week:
"Upon receipt of the information on the night of September 12, we included it as part of Judge Kavanaugh's background file, as per the standard process," the FBI repeated.
10:11 a.m.: Kavanaugh issues new denial statement:
Kavanaugh issued a new denial Monday morning in response to a woman's allegation that he assaulted her when they were both in high school. Kavanaugh said he's willing to "refute" her "false allegation" before the Senate Judiciary Committee "in any way the committee deems appropriate."
Kavanaugh had issued a flat denial of claims outlined in a letter Ford sent to Democrats, but in his new statement, Kavanaugh said he had no idea who had made the accusation "until she identified herself yesterday." The White House is standing by Kavanaugh's initial denial.
"This is a completely false allegation," Kavanaugh said in a statement Monday morning. "I have never done anything like what the accuser describes—to her or to anyone. Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday. I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity."
It's unclear whether the willingness to testify expressed from both Ford and Kavanaugh will delay the confirmation process. As of Sunday afternoon, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley intended to move forward with the committee vote as planned. But some Republicans, not to mention Democrats, have expressed they want to hear from Ford first, and the Senate is out of session Wednesday for the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur.
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