US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said the woman accusing US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault should testify next week if she wants to be heard.
Trump said that time was running out for Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor of psychology, who has called for an FBI probe into her allegation that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and muffled her cries as he tried to pull off her clothes when she was 15 and he was 17.
Ford has backtracked from earlier statements that she is ready to testify to the US Senate Judiciary Committee.
Kavanaugh, now 53, denies any such incident took place and no other direct witnesses have come forward.
Trump told journalists at the White House that he retained full faith in the judge, saying it was “very hard for me to imagine that anything happened.”
He urged Ford to take her chance at the committee hearing set for Monday, where Kavanaugh is likewise invited to speak.
Trump indicated that his patience is wearing thin, even telling political Web site The Hill that the scandal resembles what he called “the witch hunt” by a special prosecutor into allegations his campaign colluded with Russia to bring about his 2016 election victory.
“We continue to give her a lot of time. We’ve held up the whole hearing,” Trump told reporters.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley wrote to Ford’s lawyers ruling out any FBI role and saying that the sole venue for airing the allegations would be the Senate hearing.
“You have stated repeatedly that Dr Ford wants to tell her story. I sincerely hope that Dr Ford will accept my invitation to do so, either privately or publicly, on Monday,” Grassley said.
Late on Wednesday, Lisa Banks, a lawyer for Ford, was quoted by the Washington Post saying that the “rush to a hearing is unnecessary and contrary to the committee discovering the truth.”
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