No, Grassley didn’t put it that way. He can’t politically, and is too much of a gentleman to do so in any event. But that’s the essence of the Chairman’s statement to Ford and her counsel that they have until 10:00 Friday morning to decide whether Ford will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to present her allegation that Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her.
If Ford doesn’t agree to appear by then, the Committee will proceed without her involvement. That would likely mean a vote by the middle of next week. Would it mean cancellation of the Monday hearing at which Kavanaugh is scheduled to testify? I don’t know, but I think there’s a good chance it would.
Grassley, it should be emphasized, is flexible and accommodating when it comes to how Ford can present her story. She can testify before the Committee in public or private session. Alternatively, she can be interviewed, a less formal proceeding, either publicly or privately. And Grassley says the Committee will go to California, rather than making Ford come to Washington, if that’s what she wants.
What Grassley won’t do is allow the confirmation process to be suspended indefinitely over a claim Dianne Feinstein sat on for months.
Grassley’s ultimatum is backed by a unified GOP front. That’s why he was comfortable issuing it.
I’m told that when Senate Republicans met this week, the entire caucus supported the view that Ford needed to testify on Monday and that, if she didn’t, the process should move forward without her. I’m told that the entire caucus was angry with Feinstein over what it views as a stunt. Skepticism of Ford’s claim was widespread. This didn’t mean she shouldn’t be heard. However, it did mean that if she wants to be heard, she should be heard promptly.
And I think it means that if Ford is a no-show on Monday, Kavanaugh will be confirmed more or less on schedule, barring any major surprises.
Under these circumstances, Ford would be a fool not to provide live evidence to the Committee on Monday. Unless, of course, she knows her story is too shaky to withstand scrutiny.
I still believe Ford will appear on Monday, but I’m just guessing. I also believe Grassley will permit her to appear even if she doesn’t meet his Friday deadline. Of that, I’m more confident.