Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine says professor Christine Blasey Ford should testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about her allegations that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s, but Ford wants an FBI investigation first.
Collins, who could be a swing vote in Kavanaugh’s lifetime confirmation to the court, said in an interview on Bangor radio station WVOM that Ford should present her allegations, either in public or closed session, to the committee.
“It now appears that she’s turning down all three options even though her attorney said earlier this week that she would come testify,” Collins told WVOM.
Collins said an FBI investigation now would reverse the normal order of confirmation proceedings and that the FBI normally doesn’t pursue allegations involving someone who was a minor at the time.
Kavanaugh was 17 when Ford says he pinned her on a bed, groped her and covered her mouth to keep her from screaming during a high school party in suburban Maryland.
The FBI has previously stepped in during the confirmation process of a Supreme Court nomination. In 1991, the agency was called in to investigate allegations by law professor Anita Hill that now-Justice Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her.
Collins’ remarks align with other Republicans who insist that Monday’s schedule hearing move forward as the allegations against Kavanaugh continue to roil Washington, D.C. She was one of several Republicans who called for both Kavanaugh and Ford to testify under oath after Ford came forward with her story to The Washington Post.
Others include Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who said earlier this week that the Judiciary Committee should delay its initial confirmation vote on Thursday until Ford’s story is heard and vetted by the committee.
On Wednesday, both Flake and Corker reportedly told The Washington Post that Monday’s hearing should go forward even if Ford doesn’t testify.
“If we don’t hear from both sides on Monday, let’s vote,” Corker said.
Collins stopped short of calling for a vote in her remarks to WVOM, and in a prepared statement, but she reiterated that Ford should agree to testify on Monday instead of holding out for an FBI probe.
“I don’t think she can reject, having made all of these serious allegations, I don’t think that she can reject all those options,” Collins told WVOM. “Otherwise, there are these very serious allegations hanging over the head of a nominee who has emphatically denied them. And that’s just not a good way for us to end.”
Collins also again questioned why Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California waited to bring Ford’s accusations forward.
President Donald Trump and other Republicans have made similar critiques, prompting Feinstein to again say that she withheld Ford’s original letter outlining her allegations because Ford had originally wished to remain anonymous.
“President Trump, Dr. Blasey Ford did not want her story of sexual assault to be public,” Feinstein tweeted. “She requested confidentiality and I honored that. It wasn’t until the media outed her that she decided to come forward. You may not respect women and the wishes of victims, but I do.”
President Trump, Dr. Blasey Ford did not want her story of sexual assault to be public. She requested confidentiality and I honored that. It wasn’t until the media outed her that she decided to come forward. You may not respect women and the wishes of victims, but I do.
— Senator Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) September 19, 2018
This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.
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