WASHINGTON (AP) — A tentative agreement was reached Saturday for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hear testimony Thursday from Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault from decades ago, according to two people briefed on the matter.
Lawyers for Ford and bipartisan representatives of the committee came to the temporary agreement after a short phone call, said one of the people, who was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity. The person said Kavanaugh would also appear.
Some details of the hearing, such as the order of their appearance, remained in negotiation and talks were expected to continue Sunday.
The tentative accord could bring to a close days of high-stakes brinkmanship that have roiled Washington ahead of midterm elections and threated to jeopardize Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the court.
Tensions have been running on overdrive since Ford, a 51-year-old college professor in California, went public with her allegation that Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were at a house party in high school. Kavanaugh, an appellate court judge, denied the allegation and said he wanted to testify as soon as possible to clear his name.
Ford initially indicated she wanted to tell her story to the committee, but talks dragged on as her lawyers negotiated terms of her appearance.
Republicans grew frustrated as Ford’s lawyers insisted on a hearing next Thursday rather than Monday or even Wednesday and made other requests, some of which the committee chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, rejected. Democrats, against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, countered that Ford should be shown respect and given accommodation to tell her story.
As the talks continued, Grassley countered that he would schedule a Monday vote on whether to recommend Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate. Meanwhile, Republicans viewed Ford’s requests as a way to delay voting on President Donald Trump’s nominee.
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