Kavanaugh accuser conditionally accepts GOP offer to testify next week

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WASHINGTON — Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school, on Saturday conditionally accepted a GOP offer for her to give Senate testimony next week.

“Dr. Ford accepts the Committee’s request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct next week,” attorneys Debra Katz and Lisa Banks wrote in an email to Judiciary Committee Republicans Saturday afternoon, though they added that aspects of the GOP’s offer were “fundamentally inconsistent with the Committee’s promise of a fair, impartial investigation into her allegations.”

“[W]e are disappointed with the leaks and the bullying that have tainted the process” but “are hopeful that we can reach agreement on details,” they wrote, requesting a Saturday afternoon conversation to continue talks.


The hearing would come the week before the Supreme Court’s next term begins. Republicans had had aimed to confirm Kavanaugh before the high court met again.

The tentative agreement comes after several days of negotiations — talks that followed a standoff between both sides after the committee scheduled both witnesses to testify on Monday without consulting Ford first.

Republicans had originally given Ford until Friday morning to make a decision. They granted an extension through that evening, then again through Saturday afternoon, as requested by Ford’s legal team.

After the committee made contact with Ford’s lawyers Thursday, Republican and Democratic sources told NBC News that the earliest Ford could appear would be next Thursday. Her lawyers also laid out a set of conditions for her appearance.

In response, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday said that it made a counter-offer to Ford and her attorney that called for the hearing being held on Wednesday of next week. Under the terms of the offer, Ford would testify first, followed by Kavanaugh, according to a GOP senator on the committee. No other witnesses would be called, and Republicans would pick their own lawyer to do questioning, rather than senators doing it themselves.

The senator said that the counter-offer by the committee would accommodate Ford’s other requests: limited pool coverage, a guarantee for her safety and not having Kavanaugh and Ford in the same room at the same time.

President Trump on Friday expressed doubt about Ford’s account, tweeting, “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. Friday morning that he believes the Senate will wind up confirming Kavanaugh.

“President Trump has nominated a stunningly successful individual,” he said. “You’ve watched the fight, you’ve watched the tactics but here’s what I want to tell you, in the very near future Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.”

Ford revealed her identity in a story published by The Washington Post last weekend in which she described the alleged assault.

Earlier Saturday, a press adviser who had helped lead the response to Ford’s allegations for Republicans on the Judiciary Committee stepped down amid evidence that he was fired from a previous political job partially due to a sexual harassment complaint.