- The Senate Judiciary Committee announced a public hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser for Sept. 24, but Christine Blasey Ford and her lawyers have yet to say “yes” or “no” to the request.
- Ford’s lawyers have since requested an FBI investigation into Kavanaugh before any hearings.
- This request has caused a debate in the FBI’s role in such an investigation.
Since Christine Blasey Ford came forward publicly Sunday with her sexual assault accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the future of his nomination has been thrown in limbo and the confusion over what should happen next has grown.
The Senate Judiciary Committee planned a public hearing for Sept. 24 after lawmakers from both sides of the aisle as well as the White House agreed Ford’s story should be heard before moving forward with the judge’s nomination. This meant the original voting day of Thursday would be postponed.
However, Ford and her lawyers did not respond to this offer of a public hearing until one of Ford’s lawyers appeared on CNN Tuesday night saying the FBI should investigate the allegations against Kavanaugh before the committee holds any hearings.
“She’s not prepared to talk with them at a hearing on Monday,” Lisa Banks, Ford’s lawyer, said on CNN. “This is going to take some time and what needs to happen is there shouldn’t be a rush to a hearing here. There’s no reason to do that.”
Republicans have largely decided to move forward with Monday’s hearing and have given Ford a Friday 10 a.m. deadline for her and her attorneys to decide if she will testify.
Ford’s attorney’s request has caused a flurry of confusion and debate over the FBI’s role in such an allegation. (RELATED: Kavanaugh Accuser’s Lawyer Calls For Investigation Before Senate Hearing)
The Department of Justice said in a statement Monday night that the FBI would not open a criminal investigation into Kavanaugh because the allegations do not involve a federal crime.
All the FBI could do is reopen a background investigation into Kavanaugh if given the command by President Donald Trump, which he’s already said he is not interested in.
“I don’t think the FBI really should be involved because they don’t want to be involved,” he told reporters Tuesday at the White House. “If they wanted to be, I would certainly do that. But as you know, they say this is not really their thing.”
The statement further describes the FBI’s role in a background investigation is to evaluate whether Kavanaugh could pose a “national security risk” and to then relay that information back to those that asked, in this case the White House.
Its role is not to make any judgment on the credibility of Ford’s allegation, the statement said.
“The FBI does not do investigations like this. The responsibility falls to us,” GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted Tuesday.
“We should proceed as planned,” he said.
Democrats, who have been accused by Republicans of purposefully stalling Kavanaugh’s nomination, agree with Ford’s lawyer that an investigation is warranted and that the confirmation process has been too rushed.
“Senate Republicans and the White House should drop their inexplicable opposition to an FBI investigation, allow all the facts to come out, and then proceed with a fair process in the Senate,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted Wednesday.
While Democrats accuse Republicans of rushing the confirmation process and Republicans accuse Democrats of delaying the process, an FBI background investigation is up to Trump at this point.
If Trump does not make such a request, Republicans have given Ford the option of testifying Monday publicly or privately, or they will move forward with the process.
Ford’s attorney and a few Democratic lawmakers in response are asking for more witnesses to appear at the hearing.
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