While his accuser's attorneys attempt to delay Monday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Judge Brett Kavanaugh sent a letter saying he wants "a hearing as soon as possible, so that I can clear my name."
"Thank you for the invitation to appear before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on Monday, September 24," Kavanaugh wrote to panel Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. "I will be there. I look forward to the opportunity to testify before the committee.
"I continue to want a hearing as soon as possible, so that I can clear my name. Since the moment I first heard this allegation, I have categorically and unequivocally denied it. I remain committed to defending my integrity."
A lawyer for the accuser, California college professor Christine Blasey Ford, told the committee earlier Thursday it is "not possible" for her to appear Monday. Lawyer Debra Katz said Ford would be prepared to testify later next week under "terms that are fair."
The move by Ford's lawyer sought to end a stalemate over the terms of testimony on her allegation Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a house party in the early 1980s when both were teenagers. Kavanaugh denies any attack occurred, and Republicans have appeared poised to seek a confirmation vote as early as next week if she does not testify Monday.
Grassley's office didn't immediately respond Thursday to queries on whether he will agree to a delay, hold the hearing Monday without Ford, or cancel it.
Democrats have demanded a delay in the hearing to allow time for the FBI to investigate Ford’s claim. President Donald Trump has said he will not ask the FBI to reopen its background probe of Kavanaugh.
Katz wrote, Ford "wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety."
Ford has received death threats and has moved her family out of their home, the lawyer said. Katz said in the email it was Ford's "strong preference" to allow a full investigation before her testimony, though the lawyer did not say whether Ford would insist on one.
Democrats in Washington sought to turn up pressure Thursday on the GOP for an FBI probe of Ford's allegation, recommending she not testify Monday under Republicans' current plan to hear only from her and Kavanaugh.
"She shouldn't be bullied into it," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., at a news conference with alumna from Holton-Arms, the private girls' school Ford attended at the time of the alleged attack more than three decades ago. "She's not asking for extraordinary measures, she's asking for basic fairness."
Grassley told Democrats on the committee Wednesday he had no further patience for delays in Kavanaugh's confirmation process.
"There has been delay and obstruction of this process at every turn and with every argument available," Grassley wrote. "Therefore, I will view any additional complaints about the process very skeptically."
Ford says Kavanaugh was drunk at a house party in about 1982, and he pulled her into a bedroom with classmate Mark Judge present then pinned her down on a bed, tried to remove her clothes and put his hand over her mouth to stop her from screaming. She said she was able to escape, but The Washington Post reported she described the episode to a therapist in 2013 as a "rape attempt."
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