The Senate Judiciary Committee will have a public hearing Monday, Sept. 24, on the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, a former Judiciary Committee chairman, confirmed the scheduling update to reporters on Monday evening. The news broke after senators had arrived back at the Capitol Monday afternoon and after a meeting of Judiciary Committee Republicans in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office about how to proceed in light of allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford.
“Anyone who comes forward as Dr. Ford has done deserves to be heard. My staff has reached out to Dr. Ford to hear her account, and they held a follow-up call with Judge Kavanaugh this afternoon,” Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement announcing the hearing.
As Senate Judiciary Republicans emerged from their closed-door meeting, the White House said the nominee welcomes a public hearing.
“Judge Kavanaugh looks forward to a hearing where he can clear his name of this false allegation. He stands ready to testify tomorrow if the Senate is ready to hear him,” White House Principal Deputy press Secretary Raj Shah said in a statement.
Earlier Monday, President Donald Trump said he would be fine with a delay to let Kavanaugh and his accuser talk to senators about an alleged incident in the early 1980s while both were high school students.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a key swing vote, earlier in the day said she expected members of the Judiciary Committee majority would be meeting Monday to propose a path forward for the Kavanaugh nomination
“I talked to Sen. Grassley briefly today, and it is my understanding that the Judiciary Committee Republican are meeting this afternoon to decide how they would recommend to their Democratic counterparts that they proceed,” Collins said. “I believe that it is very important that both Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh testify, under oath, about these allegations.”
Judiciary Committee Democrats want the FBI to reopen the background investigation into Kavanaugh for a full probe before the public hearing — and would rather it be delayed until then.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said there needs to be fact-finding by the FBI, something he doubts could be done by Monday.
“Otherwise we’re just going to be shooting in the dark,” Blumenthal told reporters. “We’re talking about an arbitrary and irrational deadline set by the Republicans simply to rush this nomination through and that’s a tremendous disservice to the American people and to the court. The United States Supreme Court will be stained irreparably if they rush to judgment without a full fair investigation and with a hearing that is a sham and mockery.”
Collins: If Kavanaugh Lied to Committee That Would Be “Disqualifying”