Ford wants FBI investigation before testifying

In a letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and obtained by CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” Christine Blasey Ford’s attorneys argue that “a full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the Committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions.”

The letter from Ford’s lawyers notes that despite receiving a “stunning amount of support from her community,” Ford has also “been the target of vicious harassment and even death threats” and has been forced to leave her home.

“We would welcome the opportunity to talk with you and Ranking Member Feinstein to discuss reasonable steps as to how Dr. Ford can cooperate while also taking care of her own health and security,” the letter from Ford’s lawyers said.

Ford’s attorney Lisa Banks told Cooper that Ford will talk with the committee but added, “She is not prepared to talk with them at a hearing on Monday.”

“She will talk with the committee,” Banks said. “She is not prepared to talk with them at a hearing on Monday. This just came out 48 hours ago.”

“Asking her to come forward in four or five days and sit before the Judiciary Committee on national TV is not a fair process. If they care about doing the right thing here and treating this seriously as they have said, then they will do the right thing and they will properly investigate this, and she will work with them in that investigation and also to share her story with the committee,” Banks said Tuesday night.

The letter comes after a day of uncertainty about whether the hearing scheduled for Monday would even take place, as Republicans continued to emphasize their repeated efforts to reach out to Ford.

Last week, news surrounding a private letter that had been sent to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, raised potential questions about Kavanaugh’s nomination. Feinstein later announced she had given the letter to the FBI. On Sunday, The Washington Post published a story that detailed Ford’s personal account of an incident that Ford said took place when she and Kavanaugh were both in high school.

Ford alleges that while at a party, Kavanaugh pushed her into a bedroom along with his former classmate Mark Judge, and attempted to remove her clothes. She also alleges that Kavanaugh put her hand over her mouth when she attempted to scream. Kavanaugh has denied the incident, and he and Judge both deny being at the party in question.

“This is a completely false allegation. 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,” Kavanaugh said in a statement. “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.”

The public accusation led Grassley on Monday to announce that the committee would convene next Monday to give both Kavanaugh and Ford the opportunity to publicly testify, as both had indicated a willingness to do so.

But as of Tuesday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans had yet to hear from Ford or her lawyer regarding their request for her to testify.

“What we’re saying is there should be an investigation because that’s the right thing to do,” Banks said.

“She is prepared to cooperate with the committee and with any law enforcement investigation,” she added.

Democrats have pushed back on the hearing. All 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter on Tuesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray and White House counsel Don McGahn arguing that the FBI should conduct an investigation prior to a hearing.

“The Committee should have the completed report before any hearing occurs and we ask that you take immediate steps to make sure that we have the FBI’s report before we proceed,” the senators wrote.

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