Brett Kavanaugh's friend Mark Judge declines to testify about alleged sexual assault

Trump feels 'terribly' for Kavanaugh; Dems want FBI probe

Conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh appeared set to sail through Senate confirmation for the vacancy on the nation's top court until a California professor publicly accused him of having sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers nearly four decades ago.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh has adamantly denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a girl at a party decades ago when they were both teenagers.

In a letter to the committee's chairman, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, Ford's attorneys said an FBI investigation needed to come first.

US President Donald Trump doubled down on Tuesday on backing his Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh, as his accuser demanded an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into her allegations of sexual assault before testifying.

Dr. Blasey, thrust suddenly into a spotlight that she never sought, has been inundated with vulgar email and social media messages, and even death threats, according to a person close to her, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private matter.

If Ford declines to appear at the scheduled Judiciary Committee hearing next Monday, there is no guarantee Republicans will agree to delay the scheduled confirmation vote again.

Last week, the US President's candidate said he "categorically and unequivocally" denies the allegations. "If they wanted to be, I would certainly do that", the president said.

If the Judiciary committee's timetable slips further, it would become increasingly hard for Republicans to schedule a vote before the November 6 elections, in which congressional control will be at stake.

Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California and ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

Ford did not tell anyone about the incident at the time, but The Washington Post reviewed notes from a therapist she saw in 2012 detailing the incident. The least we can do is hear what she has to say - and how Kavanaugh responds.

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"It's impossible to take this process seriously", Feinstein said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Ford could testify privately or appear publicly before national television cameras.

It's not clear yet if Ford will show up on Monday.

"Depending on what happens with the rest of the confirmation process, the court might feel kind of battered and that it needs to take things more slowly", said Nicole Saharsky, a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher who has argued 29 cases before the Supreme Court.

Mr. Manley recalls his time as a young staffer in the Senate when Anita Hill accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991.

"Of course it helps that there are women on that committee, but you know what, I expect the men in this country and the men in this committee-and many of them, because believe me, we all signed onto this letter-to demand an FBI investigation", Hirono said. However, the Department of Justice has said in regard to this topic that "the Federal Bureau of Investigation does not make any judgment about the credibility or significance of any allegation", so it is not clear that the Federal Bureau of Investigation would have the jurisdiction to get involved.

The charge against Kavanaugh has left Trump and his Republicans in the precarious position of having to reject Ford's accusation without alienating women voters ahead of the midterm polls in which the Republicans could lose control of Congress. Democrats will use Monday's hearing as a political spectacle to coax Mr. Kavanaugh into looking defensive or angry, and to portray Republicans as anti-women. The book featured a character named Bart O'Kavanaugh, whom many believe to be based on the Supreme Court nominee, who "passes out drunk and throws up in a auto".

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday also said Judge should testify in addition to Kavanaugh and Ford. Judge Kavanaugh has also said he is willing to testify.

"It's good to hear from both the accuser and the accused here", Conway said, "and allow the Senate to weigh what they learn in those exchanges, along with the mountain of other testimonial evidence and other statements of support and endorsements of Brett Kavanaugh by the women he's known all throughout his life".

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