Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), first of her name, taker of no craps, asker of the real questions, the realest on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is standing firmly behind Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, noting earlier this week that Ford has “nothing to gain” from stepping forward with her allegations.
“I think it’s going to be about, it comes down to credibility…and it’s going to about listening to what each party has to say, but I believe her,” Harris told CBS this morning.
Both Kavanaugh and Ford have agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the alleged assault that occurred more than 30 years ago, which has since delayed Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which had been set for Thursday.
“Anybody who comes forward at this point to be prepared to testify in the United States Senate against someone who’s being nominated to one of the most powerful positions in the United States government, that takes an extraordinary amount of courage,” Harris said.
“My concern is, and she knows this, she is putting herself out there, knowing they’re going to try to excoriate her and she’s doing it because she knows this is an important matter, it’s a serious matter who serves on that court and she has the courage to come forward, she has nothing to gain,” the senator added.
Indeed, Ford knows this all too well. It is what initially made her hesitate to come forward, only doing so to control her own narrative when it seemed likely that her identity would be inevitably revealed.
The Judiciary Committee invited both Kavanaugh and Ford to testify on Monday, however Ford’s lawyers said that while she is open to testifying, she would not be willing to do so at such a time.
Testifying on Monday “is not possible and the Committee’s insistence that it occur then is arbitrary in any event,” Ford’s lawyers wrote, according to CNN. She would, however “be prepared to testify next week” if senators offer her “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety.”
“As you are aware, she has been receiving death threats, which have been reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and she and her family have been forced out of their home,” the email from the lawyers to the committee read. “She wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety.”
Ford is also requesting a guarantee that she will never be in the same room as Kavanaugh. Republicans were reportedly looking to bring in an outside counsel or lawyer, who is a woman, to do the questioning, since the GOP has a decided lack of female senators on the committee, but Ford has signaled her preference to be questioned by senators.
Ford’s attorneys also suggested that Kavanaugh testify first, that they would like Mark Judge — a key witness to the alleged assault — to be subpoenaed, and that they would prefer no time limits on what is likely to be a deeply emotional opening statement.
There is also, of course, contention over a lack of FBI investigation into the matter. President Donald Trump, who has defended Kavanaugh, has declined to ask the FBI to look into the allegations. This puts Ford at a disadvantage, according to CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin, a former Justice Department prosecutor.
“From a legal perspective … you have an allegation, you have an investigation, and then you have testimony,” Zeldin said. “The notion that they are providing her due process — a forum to tell her story, which she has already told in written form — without there being an intervening investigation makes no sense to me legally.”
Others have expressed concern over the rush Republicans seem to be in to push forward with a hearing.
“I consider that to be bullying. I consider that to be disregarding. I consider that to be something set up for failure,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said on Thursday. “They would like a he-said-she-said scenario, because you know what happens in those scenarios? The men are typically believed.”
On the hand, there are those like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who believe that calls for an investigation are just a way for Democrats to conveniently delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation.