(NBC NEWS) – The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing next Monday in which the woman who’s accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were both in high school will be able to testify, and Kavanaugh will have the opportunity to respond.
“As I said earlier, anyone who comes forward as Dr. Ford has done deserves to be heard. My staff has reached out to Dr. Ford to hear her account, and they held a follow-up call with Judge Kavanaugh this afternoon,” Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, announced in a statement Monday evening.
“Unfortunately, committee Democrats have refused to join us in this effort. However, to provide ample transparency, we will hold a public hearing Monday to give these recent allegations a full airing,” he added.
While his statement didn’t mention a cancellation of the Kavanaugh nomination vote that was scheduled for this Thursday, the scheduled hearing means that vote is almost certain to be postponed.
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Posted by NBC News on Monday, September 17, 2018
The White House released a statement praising the announcement. “Judge Kavanaugh looks forward to a hearing where he can clear his name of this false allegation,” it said. “He stands ready to testify tomorrow if the Senate is ready to hear him.”
The announcement came shortly after President Donald Trump said that he was willing to accept that it might take longer to get a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, though he added that it was “ridiculous” to ask whether Kavanaugh had offered to withdraw.
“If it takes a little delay, it’ll take a little delay,” Trump told reporters at the White House, adding: “I think he’s on track.”
“I wish the Democrats could have done this a lot sooner,” Trump said of the revelation of the charge, which Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., passed on to the FBI last week. “But with all of that being said we want to go through the process.”
Earlier in the day, Kavanaugh shad aid he was willing to testify publicly in response to the allegation.
“This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes — to her or to anyone,” Kavanaugh said in a statement released by the White House. “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.”