GOP to Kavanaugh accuser: Reach deal or panel votes Monday

Alan Fram and Catherine Lucey
Associated Press
Demonstrators hold signs outside Saint Anselm College, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Manchester, N.H., where U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, considered one of the few possible Republican "no" votes on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, is scheduled to speak. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Chairman on Friday rejected key conditions that Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser wants if she is to testify about her claim of sexual assault, and said his panel would vote Monday on Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination without an agreement.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he was giving attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford until 10 p.m. Friday to come to a “reasonable resolution” or his Republican-run panel would vote on sending Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate.

“We are unwilling to accommodate your unreasonable demands,” Grassley wrote.

There was no immediate public response from Ford’s lawyers. That silence and Grassley’s offer, which did not rule out further compromise, left uncertain whether Ford would appear and tell lawmakers and a captivated nation about her allegation that an inebriated Kavanaugh trapped her on a bed and tried removing her clothes when both were teenagers in the 1980s.

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Kavanaugh, a 53-year-old District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals judge, has repeatedly denied the accusation.

Grassley sent Ford’s attorneys a proposal earlier Friday offering a Wednesday hearing – Ford preferred Thursday – and said, “It is not fair to him or to his family to allow this situation to continue without a resolution and without an opportunity for him to clear his name.”

FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2018, file photo, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, for the second day of his confirmation hearing to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Grassley said he was rebuffing Ford’s proposals that she testify after Kavanaugh and that only senators, not outside counsel, be allowed to ask questions. The committee’s 11 Republicans – all men – have been seeking an outside female attorney to interrogate Ford, mindful of the election-season impression that could be left by men trying to pick apart a woman’s assertion of a sexual attack.

He also refused to call additional witnesses. Ford wants an appearance by Mark Judge, a Kavanaugh friend who Ford asserts was at the high school party and in the bedroom where Kavanaugh’s assault occurred. Ford eventually escaped.

Grassley said he’d consented to several other Ford demands, including that she be provided security and that Kavanaugh not be in the hearing room when she testifies.