Fox News host Tucker Carlson reacted on his show Tucker Carlson Tonight on Tuesday to the news that professor Christine Blasey Ford will not testify before Congress until the FBI has conducted an investigation of her claim that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her more than 30 years ago.
Carlson, flanked by a chyron blaring “U.S. Official: FBI Will Not investigate Kavanaugh Unless the White House Demands It,” said that he was told by a senior U.S. official that the FBI will not investigate because what Ford is alleging is not a federal crime. Only if the White House “demands it” will the FBI investigate the claim, Carlson said.
Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume said that this “all points in one direction” and is “pretty transparent” that Democrats are using Ford to stall the vote on Kavanaugh.
“The whole idea of this is to postpone the vote as long as possible,” he said.
Hume said that the request for an FBI is part of delay tactics.
Ford and Kavanaugh were both expected to appear at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday to give their sides of the story, but that seemed to have changed Tuesday with a letter to Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Ford’s lawyers were clear that the FBI investigation “should be the first step”:
In the 36 hours since her name became public, Dr. Ford has received a stunning amount of support from her community and from fellow citizens across our country. At the same time, however, her worst fears have materialized. She has been the target of vicious harassment and even death threats. As a result of these kind of threats, her family was forced to relocate out of their home. Her email has been hacked, and she has been impersonated online.
While Dr. Ford’s life was being turned upside down, you and your staff scheduled a public hearing for her to testify at the same table as Judge Kavanaugh in front of two dozen U.S. Senators on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident. The hearing was scheduled for six short days from today and would include interrogation by Senators who appear to have made up their minds that she is “mistaken” and “mixed up.” While no sexual assault survivor should be subjected to such an ordeal, Dr. Ford wants to cooperate with the Committee and with law enforcement officials.
As the Judiciary Committee has recognized and done before, an FBI investigation of the incident should be the first step in addressing her allegations. A full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the Committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has been one to say that the FBI “does not do investigations like this.”
The FBI does not do investigations like this. The responsibility falls to us.
Chairman @ChuckGrassley has moved our committee vote to accommodate Dr. Ford’s lawyer’s offer on TV yesterday to have her client testify before the Judiciary Committee.
We should proceed as planned.
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) September 19, 2018
However, Ford’s lawyers are not wrong to say that FBI involvement on a matter like this one is not without precedent.
FACT: In 1991 — by bipartisan agreement — the FBI was sent to interview both Prof. Hill and Judge Thomas approx two weeks before the public hearings on Hill's allegations were conducted.
— Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) September 19, 2018
The FBI investigated Anita Hill’s allegations in 1991 and delivered a report to the Judiciary Committee; you were a member at the time and commented on the investigation. https://t.co/uIXOkahCoK
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) September 19, 2018
Anita Hill came forward in 1991 to say that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her. Hill has said in an ABC interview that “Absolutely it’s the right move [to conduct an FBI investigation]” because the hearing questions “need to have a frame, and the investigation is the best frame for that.” Sen. Hatch said of Hill in 1991, “There’s no question in my mind she was coached by special interest groups […] Her story’s too contrived. It’s so slick it doesn’t compute.”
All of this aside, Sen. Grassley sees no reason to delay a hearing further.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegations against him.
“I have never done anything like what the accuser describes — to her or to anyone,” Kavanaugh said on Monday. “Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday. I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity.”
It was thought that Ford had stated through her attorney Debra Katz that she was willing to testify publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding her allegations, but the conditions have changed. Mark Judge, the person Ford said witnessed the attempted assault, has said he doesn’t remember anything about it and doesn’t want to testify before the committee.
Over the weekend, Ford went public with her allegation in an interview with the Washington Post, claiming that Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her at a party in the 80s and that she did not speak of this until 2012, during couples therapy. Ford said she decided it was her “civic responsibility” to come forward, and now a new hearing will take place. She also said Mark Judge witnessed it.
Ford’s husband Russell said that he recalled her mention of Kavanaugh by name.
[Image via Fox News screengrab]