The lawyers wrote that Ford, who is now a college professor in California, wants to cooperate with the committee. But in the days since she publicly accused Kavanaugh of the assault when they were teens at a party 35 years ago, the lawyers said, she has been the target of “vicious harassment and even death threats.” Her family has relocated, they said.
An FBI investigation “should be the first step in addressing the allegations,” the lawyers wrote in the Tuesday letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press.
The development came after President Donald Trump showered sympathy on his embattled nominee and as Senate Republicans and Democrats fought determinedly over who should testify at a high-stakes hearing on the allegation just six weeks before major congressional elections.
Trump has already rejected the idea of bringing in the FBI to reopen its background check of Kavanaugh. Should he order such a review, it would likely delay a confirmation vote until after the election. Republicans hope to have Kavanaugh confirmed by Oct. 1, the start of the next Supreme Court term.
In a tweet Tuesday night, Trump wrote: “The Supreme Court is one of the main reasons I got elected President. I hope Republican Voters, and others, are watching, and studying, the Democrats Playbook.”
Meanwhile, Republicans are suggesting that Ford, whose allegations have upended Kavanaugh’s nomination — the committee’s vote was already pushed from Thursday to likely next week — will have one chance to testify, and one chance only.
“Monday is her opportunity,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday, a line that was echoed by other Republicans throughout the day.
McConnell expressed confidence that Kavanaugh would be confirmed. “I’m not concerned about tanking the nomination,” he said.
The GOP chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, said an FBI investigation wouldn’t have bearing on Ford’s testimony so “there is no reason for further delay.”