Report: Ford ready to negotiate about testifying next week

Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, has little choice but to give evidence to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and do so promptly. If she persists in refusing, Judge Kavanaugh almost certainly will be confirmed more or less on schedule. Ford’s objective all along has been to prevent this result.

Thus, it has seemed to me that Ford will agree to appear promptly, albeit only after trying to extract as many concessions as possible in exchange for so agreeing.

This appears to be what’s happening, finally. The New York Times reports:

The woman who has accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual assault has told the Senate Judiciary Committee, in an apparent bid to jump-start negotiations, that she “would be prepared to testify next week,” so long as senators offer “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety,” according to an email her lawyers sent to committee staff members.

According to the Times, which has published what it says is the email, Ford told the Committee that testifying next Monday, the date set by Chairman Grassley, is not possible. Why not? The email doesn’t say.

The email advises the Committee that Ford and her lawyer want a telephone call today for the purpose of “discuss[ing] the conditions under which. . .Ford would be prepared to testify next week.” This is the beginning of Ford’s predictable attempt, having failed to dictate the timing of the hearing, to dictate other terms.

Grassley will, I assume, hold the telephone call and find out what terms Ford is seeking. He will then, I assume, assess their reasonableness and, most importantly, find out which terms, if any, the “swing” members of the caucus think he must accept.

My view, for what it’s worth, is that Grassley should insist on proceeding Monday unless Ford offers a plausible reason why she can’t go forward on that date. And if the event doesn’t happen Monday, it needs to happen no more than a day or two later.

I also believe that Grassley shouldn’t agree to any restrictions on what can be asked of Ford. Nor should he agree to taking testimony from other witnesses besides Ford and Judge Kananaugh. The only two other people Ford has identified as possessing knowledge about the alleged incident have set forth what they know about it — nothing, because they don’t think it occurred — and said they won’t testify

As for the alleged “safety” concerns, they are probably bogus. However, Grassley should be super-accommodating when it comes to any safety-related requests.

But what outsiders like me think doesn’t count. What counts are the views of Chairman Grassley and the GOP caucus.

So far, Grassley has done a fine job of navigating the GOP’s way through this mess. I’m fairly confident he will continue to do so.

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