Brett Kavanaugh's accuser Christine Blasey Ford is willing to testify in public as peril grows around Trump Supreme Court pick

  • Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault more than three decades ago, is willing to testify publicly about the alleged attack, according to her lawyer.
  • Ford's allegation has prompted even some Republicans to pump the brakes on Kavanaugh's nomination process.
  • White House counselor Kellyanne Conway says: "This woman should not be ignored and should not be insulted. She should be heard."
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill September 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. 
Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill September 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. 

Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault more than three decades ago, is willing to testify publicly about the alleged attack, according to her lawyer.

Ford, 51, "will do whatever is necessary to make sure that the Senate Judiciary Committee has the full story and the full set of allegations to allow them to make a fully informed decision," her lawyer, Debra Katz, told news outlets Monday.

This development, combined with two key Republicans calling to pause the confirmation process in light of Ford's accusation and willingness to come forward, signals peril for Kavanaugh's nomination that was unthinkable a week ago. Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate. Two GOP defections, along with unanimous opposition from the Democratic caucus, would sink Kavanaugh.

Republicans are planning to play hardball over the accusation, according to Axios, which cited "top sources" in its report Monday morning.

The allegations were revealed last week. A letter detailing the accusation was sent to California Democrat Rep. Anna Eshoo, who then passed it to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Feinstein ultimately referred it to federal investigative authorities.

The initially mysterious contents of that letter were soon revealed to be an allegation that Kavanaugh, as a high school student, had drunkenly forced Ford onto a bed and attempted to sexually assault her. Ford said she was 15 at the time, and Kavanaugh would have been about 17. Ford said she was able to escape from him and another classmate, who was identified as conservative author Mark Judge.

"I have no recollection" of the alleged assault, Judge told The New Yorker. Through the White House, Kavanaugh said he "categorically and unequivocally" denied the allegations.

After Ford came forward publicly Sunday in an interview with The Washington Post, multiple Senate Republicans — including members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination this week — called for more investigation.

Republican Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee, both of whom are retiring when their terms in end in January, told Politico they have reservations about proceeding with Kavanaugh's nomination without more information.

"If they push forward without any attempt with hearing what she's had to say, I'm not comfortable voting yes," Flake said Sunday. Flake, who frequently criticizes the president, is a member of the the Judiciary Committee.

Corker, who has also taken issue with Trump at times, told Politico that delaying the committee vote "would be best for all involved, including the nominee."

GOP worries about Kavanaugh marks a dramatic turn from just days earlier, when the federal appellate judge and George W. Bush administration veteran appeared to have few obstacles left on his way to a lifetime Supreme Court appointment.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, were already considered possible swing votes, particularly due to their support for the landmark 1973 abortion ruling Roe v. Wade.

Ford's allegation has prompted even some less-moderate Republicans to pump the brakes.

"I don't know what she's comfortable with," Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said of Ford, but "we need to hear from her."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a former strident Trump critic who is now one of his most vocal supporters, also said Ford's testimony is warranted — but suggested it shouldn't slow down Kavanaugh's nomination process.

"If the committee is to hear from Ms. Ford, it should be done immediately," said Graham, another member of the committee.

Trump, who himself has been accused of sexual misconduct and was caught on a hot mic boasting about sexual assault in a 2005 tape that came to light during the 2016 presidential campaign, has yet to publicly weigh in on Ford's allegations. (The president has denied the allegations against him.)

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, however, said Monday morning on Fox News: "This woman should not be ignored and should not be insulted. She should be heard."