"This is a completely false allegation", he said. Loftus herself describes inadvertently confabulating a vivid memory of finding her mother dead in the family's swimming pool when she was 14. "And she deserves to be heard because these are serious accusations". We're talking about a lifetime appointment.
Expectations of a showdown have led to comparisons with the lurid and high-stakes 1991 Senate hearing on Clarence Thomas, the conservative Supreme Court justice accused of repeated sexual harassment by a former assistant, Anita Hill.
When asked earlier in the day if committee Democrats would be satisfied with a hearing instead of re-opening an FBI investigation, a spokesperson for Feinstein said the focus was on the FBI and declined to discuss any hypotheticals.
Grassley told Hewitt Tuesday that, "Yes", there will only be two witnesses Monday.
Sen. Jeff Flake, another Republican on the committee, went further, saying he would not vote to approve Kavanaugh without first hearing from Ford.
"It's been hard for Blasey Ford over the years, [Blasey Ford] told [Rebecca] White, because the judge's name would come up as 'a super powerful guy and he might be a contender for a Supreme Court position one day'". Ford is willing to appear before Congress, and Conway urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to hear her testimony under oath.
"We still haven't heard from Dr. Ford, so do they want to have the hearing or not?" Her attorney, Debra Katz, told CNN on Monday morning that Ford would be willing to testify before Congress and stood by her story in the face of expected push-back. While Republican senators and some Democrats have criticized Feinstein for keeping quiet about the claims until last week, Leahy said he would not "second-guess" his successor. "And I'm going to be respectful, and I hope my colleagues will be too".
Drew Angerer Getty Images
Grassley also couldn't answer whether each senator will get one or two rounds of questions. He said that hasn't been worked out, and pointed to the Democrats, noting that there hasn't been a lot of cooperation from Democratic staff. Kavanaugh has trotted out a slew of people attesting to his good character, making it clear that he and his Republican supporters believe who he is as a person is directly relevant to his fitness as a supreme court justice.
Republicans, he says, feel that this is in their grasp and they do not want to do anything to cause things to go off the rails.
McConnell says he has "great confidence" in the Senate Judiciary Committee's GOP chairman, Chuck Grassley, who has said he will seek interviews with both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. "Should that deny us chances later in life, even for a Supreme Court job, a presidency of the United States, or you name it?"
It is impossible to know how the politics of this will shake out, but no doubt the midterm elections, now just 50 days away, are on the minds of Republicans and Democrats alike as they try to decide what to do next.
For his part, Kavanaugh has vehemently denied Ford's allegations. The book describes being an alcoholic in high school and even features a cameo by someone he calls "Bart O'Kavanaugh" who puked in someone's auto and passed out on his way back from a party.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation should not investigate a California professor's allegations of sexual assault against Trump's pick for U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, adding that he wants his nominee confirmed quickly.
Underscoring the raw political divisions prompted by the Kavanaugh fight, Feinstein said she'd only learned of the hearing on Twitter.
Trump is praising Kavanaugh as one of the finest people he's known.