Grassley gives Ford more time to consider testifying before Senate

Grassley gives Ford more time to consider testifying before Senate

(RNN) – Sen. Chuck Grassley has given Christine Blasey Ford more time to decide if she will testify at a planned Senate hearing Monday.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Grassley, R-IA, had given Ford a deadline of 10 p.m. Friday, ET, to decide whether she would testify at the hearing, which is intended to allow senators to question both Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh over an alleged sexual assault Kavanaugh committed against Ford.

Just before the 10 p.m. deadline hit, Ford's attorneys requested an extra day for their client to reach a decision. Grassley agreed to grant Ford the extension, making his announcement via Twitter late Friday night.

Ford, a psychology professor at a California college, has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party when the two were in high school in the 1980s in suburban Maryland.

Her lawyers had been negotiating the possible conditions for appearing at the proposed Monday hearing, which was announced by Grassley earlier this week.

Ford had expressed her reluctance to appear so soon through her lawyers, who had requested a federal investigation first to "ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan matter."

But Grassley on Friday said he would give Ford's lawyers until 10 p.m. to make a final decision.

If she would not, Grassley said he would cancel the hearing and proceed with a committee vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation, which would pave the way for a full Senate vote.

"I'm providing notice of a vote to occur Monday in the event that Dr. Ford's attorneys don't respond or Dr. Ford decides not to testify," Grassley said in a Friday statement. "In the event that we can come to a reasonable resolution as I've been seeking all week, then I will postpone the committee vote to accommodate her testimony."

He added: "We cannot continue to delay."

Friday evening, about a half hour before the deadline, Ford's lawyer Debra Katz shared a letter she sent in response, which, according to CNN, said in part: "The 10:00 p.m. deadline is arbitrary. Its sole purpose 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."

Grassley sent an initial response Friday in the form of a frustrated late-night tweet, pressing Ford for clarity, writing: "Dr. Ford if [you] changed [your] mind say so."

Grassley followed up that message minutes later with a tweet directed at Kavanaugh, saying he decided to give Ford more time to decide if she wants to testify, writing: "I want to hear her. I hope [you] understand. It's not my normal approach to [be] indecisive."

Minutes later, Grassley tweeted: "With all the extensions we give Dr. Ford to decide if she still wants to testify to the Senate, I feel like I'm playing 2nd trombone in the judiciary orchestra and Schumer is the conductor."

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