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GOP rejects Kavanaugh accuser's bid for FBI probe before hearing
[WASHINGTON] President Donald Trump said he wants to hear from the woman who accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, saying it would be "unfortunate" if she doesn't testify before a Senate committee.
"If she doesn't show up, that would be unfortunate," the president told reporters Wednesday as he left the White House to view hurricane damage in North Carolina. "If she shows up and makes a credible showing, that would be very interesting."
Lawyers for California college professor Christine Blasey Ford said Tuesday she wants the FBI to investigate her claims before she appears at a Senate hearing. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley responded that there's no need for an FBI investigation and that the invitation for Ms Ford to testify on Monday still stands.
Mr Trump reiterated his defense of Judge Kavanaugh, who strongly denies the allegation. The president said it's "very hard" to believe Judge Kavanaugh would do such a thing, and said the FBI doesn't need to reopen its investigation of the nominee.
Still, the president said, "I really would want to see what she has to say." The matter should be given all the time needed, he said.
Mr Grassley didn't say late Tuesday if the hearing scheduled for Monday would go on without Ms Ford or whether the panel would vote on Judge Kavanaugh's nomination without hearing her testimony.
Some GOP senators including Bob Corker of Tennessee and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina say they see no reason to wait beyond Monday for Ms Ford's testimony, and that they want the Senate to vote next week.
Yet plowing ahead with the nomination, which seemed all but assured before going sideways less than a week ago, carries the risk of alienating moderate Republican senators, like Maine's Susan Collins, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and Arizona's Jeff Flake, in a chamber where the party holds a very narrow majority.
Ms Ford says the accused was at a house party in about 1982, when he 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 that she described the episode to a therapist in 2013 as a "rape attempt."
Judge Kavanaugh said in a statement released by the White House Monday, "This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes - to her or to anyone."
He was at the White House again Tuesday, after spending about nine hours there on Monday.