The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing featuring testimony from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford kicked off with opening remarks from Committee Chairman Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who tried to put Thursday’s hearing in the appropriate context. Ford claims that in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh tried to rape her at a party. Ford is the only accuser testifying, despite multiple other allegations coming out in the days before the hearing.
Grassley noted that Thursday’s hearing is focusing on Ford’s allegations, as claims from Julie Swetnick and Deborah Ramirez came out fairly recently. He also said that the Committee has been trying to get information regarding their claims, but their attorneys have not been cooperative.
“We’ve been trying to investigate other allegations at this time we’ve not had cooperation from attorneys representing other clients and they have made no attempt to substantiate their claims,” Grassley said. He went on to describe efforts that his staff made to reach out to the legal teams for Ramirez and Swetnick, including “eight requests for evidence from attorneys for Ms. Ramirez and six requests for evidence from attorneys for Ms. Swetnick.”
Despite these efforts, Grassley said, “Neither attorney has made their client available for interview.”
This appears to contradict the message put out by Swetnick’s lawyer Michael Avenatti, who claimed that the Senate Judiciary Committee ignored him earlier this week, and only reached out to him on Wednesday after pressure from the media. Avenatti shared an email he sent early Thursday morning which accused the Committee of doing “basically nothing” to investigate Swetnick’s claims, and stated that Swetnick is willing to testify.
Grassley said the Committee did indeed make efforts, but claimed they “can’t do an investigation if attorneys are stonewalling.”
[Image via CSPAN3 screengrab; clip via CNN]