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Grassley: Hearing Will 'Get To The Bottom' Of Kavanaugh Misconduct Allegations

chuck grassley
John Pemple/IPR file photo
Sen. Chuck Grassley

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said Tuesday Senate Judiciary Committee staffers have so far found “no corroboration” of sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“This week, we’re going to do our best to get to the bottom of it,” Grassley said of the hearing he will chair this week to look into Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party.

Grassley was asked if he will cancel the committee vote on Kavanaugh if he finds Ford’s testimony to be believable.

“I guess the simple answer is I can’t answer it because we’re taking it one step at a time,” Grassley said. “If after the hearing, we’re ready to vote, we’ll vote, and if we aren’t ready, we won’t vote.”

In a recent letter to Grassley, Ford said Kavanaugh’s actions had a lasting impact on her life, and it was a difficult decision to come forward.

“But I felt that this was something that a citizen couldn’t NOT do. I felt agony yet urgency and a civic duty to let it be known, in a confidential manner, prior to the nominee being selected,” Ford wrote.

She added she’s received death threats and her family divides up to sleep at separate locations.

On Monday, The New Yorker published a story about a second sexual misconduct allegation against the nominee, this one from his time at Yale University.

Kavanaugh denied all sexual misconduct allegations in a letter to Grassley and in a TV interview that aired Monday night.

Asked if the second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, will be allowed to testify before the judiciary committee, Grassley said he doesn’t have enough information to answer that. He said his staff reached out to her lawyers and is waiting for a response and evidence.

“It is not a federal crime to lie to reporters. But if they’re going to talk to us and offer any sort of statements, it‘s a federal crime to lie to the Senate investigators,” Grassley said. “So we’ll see how serious they are in following through.”

Grassley also said that sexual assault accusations “have to be taken very seriously.”

He said the committee hired a female “sex-crimes prosecutor” to handle questioning during the hearing, and that he’ll provide a respectful setting for Ford to tell her story. Ford’s lawyer called that into question after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the allegations a “shameful smear campaign.”

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter