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The Latest: Grassley awaiting answer from Kavanaugh accuser

WASHINGTON (AP) β€” The Latest on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh (all times local):

10:40 a.m.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley says the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault decades ago has not yet agreed to testify.

The Iowa Republican says on the Hugh Hewitt radio show that he’s still waiting on a response from Christine Blasey Ford, the California college professor accusing Kavanaugh of misconduct when they were high-school age.

Grassley says Republicans have reached out to her three or four times by email but have not heard back. He did not mention whether they had tried to contact Ford by phone.

He said the silence “kind of raises the question, do they want to come to the public hearing or not?”

Republicans on the Judiciary Committee scheduled a hearing Monday to hear testimony from both Kavanaugh and Ford. Kavanaugh, who denies the allegation, has already agreed to testify.

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10:27 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is defending Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. McConnell says a woman’s claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her decades ago is “completely at variance” with everything else known about his past. The Kentucky Republican says the Senate’s push to confirm Kavanaugh will move forward.

McConnell accused Democrats of “blatant malpractice” by waiting weeks to disclose the letter Christine Blasey Ford had sent lawmakers describing the alleged incident. Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who had the letter, said she didn’t reveal it to protect Ford’s confidentiality.

McConnell says Ford’s allegation “stands at odds with every other piece of the overwhelmingly positive testimony we’ve received” about Kavanaugh.

Ford says Kavanaugh forced her into a room and tried undressing her during a party when both were in high school. Kavanaugh denies those allegations.

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1:14 a.m.

Republicans are forging ahead with plans for a Senate hearing they had wanted to avoid on a woman’s claims that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when both were high schoolers.

They’re hoping their new strategy will salvage Kavanaugh’s endangered nomination with a risky, nationally televised showdown between the appeals court judge and his accuser.

Republicans reversed course and agreed to the hearing in the face of growing demands by GOP senators to hear directly from the 53-year-old Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, now a psychology professor in California.

Their sworn testimony, certain to be conflicting and emotive, will offer a campaign-season test of the political potency of a #MeToo movement that has already toppled prominent men from entertainment, government and journalism.




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