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Thursday’s Kavanaugh hearing is uncertain because of final details

Thursday’s Kavanaugh hearing is uncertain because of final details

Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault more than 30 years ago, and GOP dismissals range from "it didn't happen" to "if it did, it's fine" to pretending that he has to be proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt to be a Supreme Court Justice (instead of his character and record being impeccable for him to qualify for the job).

The two other individuals whom Ford identified as being at the party where Kavanaugh supposedly misbehaved - Mark Judge and Patrick Smyth - have also said they have no recollection of the party and never saw Kavanaugh act in the way Ford describes.

The Judiciary Committee was previously scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh last week, but delayed the vote because of Ford's accusations.

Earlier in the night, Grassley said on Twitter that he had granted an extension to Ford after a 10 pm (0200 GMT Saturday) deadline he set to reach a deal with Ford's lawyers had passed.

The lawyers say they are "hopeful that we can reach agreement on details" of Ford's appearance. Ford's attorney said she could not be there until later in the week.

The brinkmanship over whether Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's accuser will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee has come to a standstill, for now.

It remains to be seen if Republicans either themselves or through an outside lawyer have the nerve to grill Ford about the attack on her and the lifetime of trauma it unleashed.

In an email to judiciary committee staff, Ford's lawyer Debra Katz called the deadline "aggressive and artificial".

A Democratic senator on the Judiciary Committee, Mazie Hirono, said she wanted to hear from Kavanaugh about the drinking and partying environment in high school.




Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Fox News Sunday that Christine Ford's testimony will not change his vote on Brett Kavanaugh, "unless there's something more".

As Republicans considered their next move in private talks, they also made it clear they viewed Ford's offer as a way to delay voting on President Donald Trump's pick for the court.

Kavanaugh's confirmation appears to turn mostly on the support or opposition of three Republican senators: Jeff Flake of Arizona, who is on the Judiciary panel that Republicans control 11-10; Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Negotiations could still falter over the details, which include who will question the woman, Christine Blasey Ford.

Significantly, by submitting statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh, Judge, Smyth, and Keyser have all subjected themselves to legal jeopardy under federal law, which makes it a crime to make "any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation" to a Senate committee conducting an official investigation. Nobody has yet come forward to substantiate her version of events, while several people she says were at the party have said they do not know what she is talking about. As The New Yorker puts it, "The real question is: Will the White House and Republican leaders actually allow a potentially sensational set of hearings, with all the political risks that would entail, just weeks before the midterm elections in which they are already struggling mightily to attract women's votes in key suburban districts?"

Kavanaugh has categorically denied Ford's allegations of assault. Some Republicans have said independent counsel should do the questioning, while Ford has requested that senators themselves question her.

He said the judge's record and career deserve "the respect of every member of the United States Senate".

Senate Republicans hope to confirm Kavanaugh before the Supreme Court begins its new term on October 1. Meanwhile, Democrats have made numerous attempts to stall Kavanaugh's selection, with the GOP still holding a slim majority in the Senate.

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