Attorneys for California college professor Christine Blasey Ford are asking the Senate Judiciary Committee for an FBI investigation before she testifies about an alleged sexual assault involving Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh 36 years ago when the pair was in high school, according to news reports.
In a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Ford’s attorney said an investigation “should be the first step in addressing the allegations,” The Associated Press reported.
Although Ford has pledged to fully cooperate, her attorney said since going public with the accusation, she’s been the target of “vicious harassment and even death threats,” and has had to relocate her family, according to the AP.
Grassley responded with sympathy over the threats to Ford’s life.
“Nobody should be subject to threats and intimidation, and Dr. Ford is no exception,” Grassley said in a statement, but the Iowa Republican also discounted an FBI investigation.
“Dr. Ford’s testimony would reflect her personal knowledge and memory of events. Nothing the FBI or any other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee, so there is no reason for any further delay,” he said, according to The Washington Post.
Grassley said the invitation for Ford to testify Monday still stands.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday he is not in favor of an FBI investigation about the allegation, either.
“I don’t think the FBI really should be involved because they don’t want to be involved,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda. “If they wanted to be, I would certainly do that, but as you know they say this is not really their thing.”
The committee had scheduled a hearing for Monday on the alleged incident after a letter surfaced last week, but that could now be in question.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that Ford wrote a confidential letter to California Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein detailing the assault allegation. Feinstein said she turned the letter over to the FBI.
Kavanaugh, who was nominated by Trump to fill the seat left vacant by the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, has denied the assault ever happened, and said Tuesday he looks forward to testifying about it.
The Senate Judiciary Committee was originally scheduled to take a vote this week on Kavanaugh’s nomination after concluding confirmation hearings last week, but now it’s unclear when, or even if, that might happen.