Chuck Grassley blasts Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyers in latest Kavanaugh kerfuffle
Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley scolded Christine Blasey Ford’s legal team in a letter Thursday, chiding them for refusing to turn over evidence that they had said would back up her claims of sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh.
The evidence includes notes from Ms. Blasey Ford’s therapy sessions and detailed charts from the polygraph exam she arranged to take in August, before she went public with her allegations.
Mr. Grassley has written multiple letters asking that those be provided to the committee so they can be evaluated as part of the Senate’s vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s high court nomination. But the lawyers for Ms. Blasey Ford have stiff-armed him.
In their latest rebuff this week, lawyers told Mr. Grassley they would only turn the information over to the FBI as part of a full investigation into Ms. Blasey Ford’s allegation that the judge, during a high school party in 1982, groped her, tried to take off her clothes and stifled her cries for help.
Mr. Grassley told the lawyers that’s not how it works.
“The U.S. Senate doesn’t control the FBI. If you have an objection to how the FBI conducts its investigations, take it up with Director Wray. But don’t raise that objection as a reason not to respond to this committee’s demand for relevant evidence,” the Iowa Republican said, referring to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray.
He added: “The FBI’s investigative decisions aren’t our concern. Even if the FBI never interviews Dr. Ford, or interviews her ten times, this Committee has a constitutional obligation to investigate Dr. Ford’s allegations, and that’s what we’ve been doing since we became aware of her allegations.”
Ms. Blasey Ford’s lawyers Debra S. Katz, Lisa J. Banks, Joseph E. Abboud and Michael R. Bromwich have been critical of the handling of their client’s allegations, questioning why the Judiciary Committee didn’t allow more witnesses last week, and blasting the FBI for not interviewing Ms. Blasey Ford in its new five-day investigation into the assault allegations from her and another woman, Deborah Ramirez.
“The ‘investigation’ conducted over the past five days is a stain on the process, on the FBI and on our American ideal of justice,” the lawyers wrote in a letter Thursday to Mr. Wray.
Mr. Grassley said he found it striking that Ms. Blasey Ford had shown some of the evidence to reporters working on stories, but won’t provide them to the committee.
He also raised a new concern, suggesting there had been curious information-sharing between Ms. Blasey Ford and Democratic senators. He asked the lawyers to turn over any communications between the accuser and her lawyers, and U.S. senators particularly the offices of Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.