GOP plans Senate hearing next week for Kavanaugh, accuser

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That the president's senior counselor, Kellyanne Conway, swiftly advocated listening to the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault points to the power of the #MeToo movement - and of women in politics.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he would continue to back Kavanaugh, and he does not think an FBI investigation of allegations against him is necessary before the hearing.

"This is not a man that deserves this", Trump said.

Christine Blasey Ford alleges that Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were teenagers at a high school party, she says Judge was the only other person in the room.

Kavanaugh said in a statement on Monday that Ford made "a completely false allegation".

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley responded on Tuesday night to the letter from Christine Ford announcing that she would not testify to his committee before the FBI investigated her allegation against Brett Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh denies the charge and will apparently tell his side of the story before the Senate Judiciary Committee next Monday.

"I think he's very much on track", Trump said of Kavanaugh.

He said he would have shared the letter with fellow Democrats on the Judiciary Committee while redacting identifying information and said Feinstein should have asked Kavanaugh about his character during hearings.

"Hopefully the woman will come forward, state her case. The Judiciary Committee should not vote on his nomination this week". Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said Monday that Kavanaugh told him he wasn't.

We will delay the process until it's finished out.

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Some Democratic lawmakers have also called for an FBI investigation.

"He wasn't going to vote for Brett Kavanaugh to be on the Supreme Court in the first place", Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said of Leahy, who appeared before her on the PBS NewsHour Monday night.

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump defended Kavanaugh's reputation again, saying the Federal Bureau of Investigation shouldn't probe into Ford's allegations. But Senate Democrats are pushing for the FBI to reopen Kavanaugh's background investigation.

Then again, this new allegation has already cast a massive shadow over Kavanaugh's nomination. They also want more witnesses besides Kavanaugh and Ford, hoping to avoid what they said would turn into a "he-said-she-said" moment.

Meanwhile, Kavanaugh has been calling Republican senators, including Kennedy, who said the nominee was committed to moving forward.

The move forced Republicans to put off a planned committee vote for Thursday on Kavanaugh's nomination.

"We would welcome the opportunity to talk with you and Ranking Member Feinstein to discuss reasonable steps as to how Dr. Ford can cooperate while also taking care of her own health and security", the letter said.

The furious jockeying over the hearing underscored the political potency so close to an election that will decide control of both the House and Senate, not to mention the confirmation of a conservative justice likely to serve on the high court for decades. De Leon, who is challenging Feinstein in the November 6 election, said her actions amounted to a "failure of leadership".

Asked about the situation several times during the day, Trump did not mention Ford's name but said he felt "terribly" for Kavanaugh, his wife "and for his lovely young daughters".

"The hearing was scheduled for six short days from today and would include interrogation by Senators who appear to have made up their minds that she is "mistaken" and 'mixed up, '" the lawyers wrote on Ford's behalf. Eshoo passed the letter to Feinstein, who turned it over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Senate Republicans followed Kavanaugh's denial by releasing a letter from 65 women who say they knew Kavanaugh in high school and attested that "he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect".

She was referring to the woman who testified in 1991 against Justice Clarence Thomas when he was a nominee over workplace sexual harassment claims.