President Trump has ended what had been a notably restrained response to the accusation by Christine Blasey Ford that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than 30 years ago.
The Senate Judiciary committee has given Ford's attorneys a 10 p.m. deadline on Friday to respond to their offer to testify next Wednesday about the incident, according to a Republican source familiar with the discussions.
Democrats, already opposed to Kavanaugh even before Ford made her allegation, accused Republicans of trying to railroad the nomination through the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell predicted Friday morning, just an hour after Trump tweeted his attack on Ford, that the Kavanaugh confirmation would plow ahead. "That means about two out of three go unreported".
The US president previously toed the Republican Party line in standing by Judge Brett Kavanaugh while also insisting that the accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, be given a respectful, fair hearing.
Professor Ford has told the panel she would prefer the committee not use outside counsel to question her because that would make it seem too much like a trial, the attorney told the panel. The committee has also invited Kavanaugh to testify on Monday.
He said if Ford's case is credible, then the Senate Judiciary Committee will have to decide if they are going to advance Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Senate floor. The FBI has said it is not investigating the matter, a decision backed by Republicans. Kavanaugh will testify following Ford to be able to defend himself against her allegation.
Attorney Debra Katz said Professor Ford, 51, a psychology professor in California, had received death threats and for safety reasons had relocated her family.
"There are multiple witnesses whose names have appeared publicly and should be included in any proceeding", Ford's lawyer Lisa Banks said. "Its sole goal is to bully Dr. Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision.Our modest request is that she be given an additional day to make her decision". "Fairness and respect for her situation dictate that she should have time to deal with this". Before the assault allegation, supporting Kavanaugh had offered them a chance to side with Trump, who remains popular in numerous red states, while showing independence from their own party.
The confirmation fight comes just weeks before November 6 congressional elections in which Democrats are seeking to win control of Congress from the Republicans.
If the Senate GOP leadership moves forward with a vote on Kavanaugh's nomination, they run the risk of alienating female voters like Cordes in the Denver suburbs, where vulnerable Republican Rep. Mike Coffman's campaign could play a role in deciding the House majority this fall.
At a party, Kavanaugh and a friend, who she has alleged were both "stumbling drunk", forced her into a room.
"I think it's a very sad situation", he said, asking, "Why didn't somebody call the Federal Bureau of Investigation 36 years ago?"
Kavanaugh was spotted entering the White House on Thursday, likely to prepare for the committee hearing. The Senate must confirm Supreme Court nominees. "The Chairman has offered the ability for Dr. Ford to testify in an open session, a closed session, a public staff interview, and a private staff interview", the offer letter explains.
The choice of a new justice for the Supreme Court is pivotal, as it often gives the final word on highly contentious laws and its nine judges have an enormous impact on United States public life. She mused aloud that Ford just wanted attention "because the #MeToo movement is so popular", but quickly added that the sort of assault Ford alleged happened "is an important issue". "He remains committed to providing a fair forum for both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh".