Senate Republicans on Friday extended a counteroffer to Christine Blasey Ford to testify on Capitol Hill next Wednesday, amid negotiations over whether Ford will elaborate on her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in public.
Fox News was told that the Republican senators want an answer “by the end of the day.”
In a statement released Friday evening, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley extended the deadline for a response to 10 p.m. If there’s no response, or a rejection of the offer, Grassley said in a statement, the committe may set a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination for Monday.
“I’m extending the deadline for response yet again to 10 o’clock this evening,” Grassley said. “I’m providing a notice of a vote to occur Monday in the event that Dr. Ford’s attorneys don’t respond or Dr. Ford decides not to testify. In the event that we can come to a reasonable resolution as I’ve been seeking all week, then I will postpone the committee vote to accommodate her testimony.”
“We cannot continue to delay.”
“We need to hear from her,” said one senior source familiar with the process. “Monday is the preferred date. But we are open to other things.”
A senior Republican source told Fox News “we can’t postpone forever.”
For their part, Democrats reacted negatively to the offer. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Ford shouldn’t “be rushed.” She said Ford can’t testify any earlier than Thursday.
“Show some heart,” Feinstein said. “Wait until Dr. Ford feels that she can come before the committee.”
Ford has accused Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her while both were in high school. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
Grassley initially invited Ford to testify on Monday and gave Ford until 10 a.m. Friday to respond. That deadline passed Friday without a deal after Ford’s attorneys made clear this week Ford didn’t want to testify Monday but suggested she would do so on another day.
Ford attorney Debra Katz told the Judiciary Committee on Thursday that Ford is willing to appear for a hearing on Capitol Hill as long as senators provide “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety.”
Among the terms requested by Ford’s legal team: Only members of the committee — no lawyers — can question her; Kavanaugh cannot be in the room at the time; and Kavanaugh should be questioned first, before he has the opportunity to hear Ford’s testimony.
It was unclear whether Republicans would grant any of those demands — especially making Kavanaugh testify before hearing the allegations.
Meanwhile, President Trump on Friday called for Ford to testify, saying it’s time for the Senate to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
The president was also critical of Feinstein for receiving a letter from Ford outlining her allegations in July, but failing to disclose them, even anonymously, to federal officials or other committee members until last week.
“Senator Feinstein and the Democrats held the letter for months, only to release it with a bang after the hearings were OVER – done very purposefully to Obstruct & Resist & Delay,” Trump tweeted Friday. “Let her testify, or not, and TAKE THE VOTE!”
In a sharp change of tone after days of reserved statements regarding the allegations, the president unleashed a torrent of tweets, first in defense of Kavanaugh and then putting pressure on Ford to furnish a police report, though there’s no indication one was ever filed.
“I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!” he tweeted.
He also tweeted: “Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a fine man, with an impeccable reputation, who is under assault by radical left wing politicians who don’t want to know the answers, they just want to destroy and delay. Facts don’t matter. I go through this with them every single day in D.C.”
Trump also took issue with Ford’s legal team saying they want the FBI to investigate the allegations – something the bureau has indicated it has no plans to do.
“The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW,” Trump tweeted. “Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?”
Speaking to Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday night before a political rally in Nevada, Trump called Kavanaugh “an outstanding person” and said, “I don’t think you can delay it any longer.”
For his part, Kavanaugh, in a letter to the Judiciary Committee on Thursday, indicated he would be ready and willing to testify on Monday. “I continue to want a hearing as soon as possible, so that I can clear my name,” he wrote.
“Since the moment I first heard this allegation, I have categorically and unequivocally denied it. I remain committed to defending my integrity.”
Kavanaugh’s letter did not contain any preconditions for his testimony. Fox News has learned that Kavanaugh, under oath, answered questions from the Judiciary Committee earlier this week, and denied the allegations.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Gregg Re contributed to this report.