Committee Chairman U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) (left) speaks as ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) listens during a markup hearing Sept. 13 before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Feinstein has demanded that the confirmation vote be postponed until the FBI investigates claims of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Monday called for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser, professor Christine Blasey Ford, to appear before his committee next week.
But the senator said Tuesday that he has been unable to get in contact with Ford and that she has yet to agree to testify before the committee.
Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the Judiciary Committee's ranking member, is demanding that the hearings be postponed until the FBI can conduct a full investigation — something the Department of Justice has already said is unlikely to ever happen.
What are the details?
Feinstein has said that she wants to postpone the hearing until a full FBI investigation can be completed. However, the Department of Justice has said in regard to this topic that "the FBI does not make any judgment about the credibility or significance of any allegation," so it is not clear that the FBI would have the jurisdiction to get involved.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department said:
The purpose of a background investigation is to determine whether the nominee could pose a risk to the national security of the United States. The allegation does not involve any potential federal crime. The FBI's role in such matters is to provide information for the use of the decision makers.
Grassley said Tuesday that he will invite only two witnesses to the hearing to testify before the committee next Monday: Kavanaugh and his accuser Ford. However, he also said that he reached out to Ford "three or four times" and had not received a response.
Kavanaugh has said that he is willing to testify on this matter "if the Senate is willing to hear him," according to White House spokesman Raj Shah.
Sen. Mazi Hirono (D-Hawaii) has said that she thinks Ford would feel victimized if she were forced to testify without a full report from the FBI. Hirono, who serves on the Judiciary Committee, also told Politico on Tuesday that Democrats would be willing to keep the Supreme Court seat vacant for two more years in the hope that they would regain the White House.
“I think we’ve had those kinds of vacancies before, and we certainly had over a one-year vacancy with Merrick Garland,” she said. “So the world does not come to an end because we don’t fill all of the nominees.”
Feinstein demanded that other witnesses also be brought in, including potential witnesses and trauma experts. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) went a step further, asking Grassley to allow Ford's counsel to cross examine Kavanaugh.
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