The latest on Brett Kavanaugh: Nominee denies accuser allegation

Last Updated Sep 17, 2018 12:29 PM EDT

President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, has been accused of assaulting a woman they were both in high school, days before the Senate Judiciary Committee was set to vote to move his nomination forward Thursday. 

On Sunday, Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University, went public with her claims in an interview published Sunday in the Washington Post. 

Check back for the latest developments. 

12:20 p.m.: Grassley says Ford deserves to be heard

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement that anyone who comes forward as Ford does should be heard — but stopped short of suggesting testifying before the full committee. Ford has expressed a willingness to speak before the committee, as has Kavanaugh. 

“Anyone who comes forward as Dr. Ford has deserves to be heard, so I will continue working on a way to hear her out in an appropriate,precedented and respectful manner,” Grassley said. “The standard procedure for updates to any nominee’s background investigation file is to conduct separate follow-up calls with relevant parties.”

“In this case, that would entail phone calls with at least Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford,” Grassley continued. “Consistent with that practice, I asked Senator Feinstein’s office yesterday to join me in scheduling these follow-ups. Thus far, they have refused. But as a necessary step in evaluating these claims, I’ll continue working to set them up.”

12:03 p.m.: Conservative group launches $1.5 million ad campaign for Kavanaugh

A spokeswoman for the Judicial Crisis Network, which has been working to help confirm Kavanaugh, confirmed the group will be announcing a $1.5 million cable and broadcast TV ad blitz to support Kavanaugh. It will feature a 35-year friend of Kavanaugh. 

“We are not going to allow a last-minute smear campaign destroy a good and decent man who has an unblemished personal record,” the spokeswoman said. 

12:03 p.m.: Sen. Susan Collins says Ford and Kavanaugh should testify under oath

Sen. Susan Collins, one of the Republicans her own party has been working to ensure votes for Kavanaugh, tweeted that she wants both Ford and Kavanaugh to testify under oath in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh should both testify under oath before the Judiciary Committee,” she wrote

11:34 a.m.: FBI reiterates there is no investigation into Kavanaugh 

Asked whether the FBI is investigating the Kavanaugh allegation, the FBI said, as it did last week, that there is no FBI investigation. The FBI pointed CBS News back to its statement from last week: 

“Upon receipt of the information on the night of September 12, we included it as part of Judge Kavanaugh’s background file, as per the standard process,” the FBI repeated.

10:11 a.m.: Kavanaugh issues new denial statement:

Kavanaugh issued a new denial Monday morning in response to a woman’s allegation that he assaulted her when they were both in high school. Kavanaugh said he’s willing to “refute” her “false allegation” before the Senate Judiciary Committee “in any way the committee deems appropriate.”

Kavanaugh had issued a flat denial of claims outlined in a letter Ford sent to Democrats, but in his new statement, Kavanaugh said he had no idea who had made the accusation “until she identified herself yesterday.” The White House is standing by Kavanaugh’s initial denial. 

“This is a completely false allegation,” Kavanaugh said in a statement Monday morning. “I have never done anything like what the accuser describes—to her or to anyone. Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday. I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity.”

It’s unclear whether the willingness to testify expressed from both Ford and Kavanaugh will delay the confirmation process. As of Sunday afternoon, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley intended to move forward with the committee vote as planned. But some Republicans, not to mention Democrats, have expressed they want to hear from Ford first, and the Senate is out of session Wednesday for the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. 

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