The Senate Judiciary Committee has allowed a reopening of Brett Kavanaugh‘s Supreme Court confirmation hearing, with invitations to both him and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing him of attempted sexual assault. Those on both sides of the aisle are eager to hear what each might say when they are under oath, with potential perjury charges looming over possible false statements.
As it turns out, Kavanaugh already put himself at risk for possible charges, even if he doesn’t testify next week. According to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the nominee sat down this past Monday with Republican staff for a “transcribed interview,” and Kavanaugh “understood that he was under penalty of felony, if he was not truthful.” That could either mean that Kavanaugh made his statements under oath, or it could refer to the statute prohibiting giving false statements to investigators. Grassley said that Democratic staff was invited, but they declined to participate.
Grassley’s chief counsel Mike Davis tweeted and then deleted on Wednesday that he had “personally questioned Judge Kavanaugh under penalty of felony and 5 years of imprisonment.”
“I’m still waiting to hear back from the accuser’s attorneys, who can’t find time between TV appearances to get back to me,” he added. “Unfazed and determined. We will confirm Judge Kavanaugh. #ConfirmKavanaugh #SCOTUS.”
If Kavanaugh denied the allegations during this conversation–as he has repeatedly done already–he could face criminal charges if there is probable cause to believe that he lied and did indeed commit the alleged acts. Ford claims that at a party in the 1980s, Kavanaugh held her down, groped her, and tried to remove her clothing, as another male high school student watched.
Grassley did not go into the specifics of what Kavanaugh said during this conversation, but he did say he believes him.
“He fully, candidly, and unequivocally answered all questions,” he said in a letter to Democrats on the Committee. “We have no reason to doubt the truthfulness of Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony.”
Grassley added that Kavanaugh did agree to also appear before the Committee in a public hearing, as he previously did for his confirmation process. Anything he says at such a hearing would be under oath. Grassley said Ford has been invited to testify as well, and has been given the option of speaking in a public hearing or behind closed doors. Republican staff have also looked to interview her, and three other witnesses, including Mark Judge, the man who was allegedly in the room. Grassley said Democratic staff is welcome to join those potential interviews, “but it has thus far declined.”
[Image via Zach Gibson/Getty Images]
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