The Latest: White House skeptical of Ford's offer to speak




 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a woman accusing him of sexually assaulting her decades ago (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

The White House is casting doubt on the willingness of a college professor to speak publicly about her sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee she would be willing to appear next week. But they want to set up a time later Saturday to keep discussing the terms of her appearance.

A senior White House official deemed it a stalling tactic and an effort to "push off" the confirmation vote.

The official claimed it was a "clever way" to continue negotiations "without committing to anything."

The official was not authorized to speak publicly about ongoing negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The White House response shows a fresh willingness to attack Ford, coming after a series of critical comments from President Donald Trump the day before about her credibility.

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2:50 p.m.

Lawyers for the woman who's accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a sexual assault decades ago when they were teenagers say they've accepted the Senate Judiciary Committee's request for her to tell her story.

But attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford say in a letter to the committee's Republican majority that they want to set up a time later Saturday to keep discussing terms of Ford's appearance.

The letter says Ford "accepts" the committee's request that in the coming week she would "provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh's sexual misconduct."

The lawyers say they are "hopeful that we can reach agreement on details" of Ford's appearance.

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12:10 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence calls Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh "a man of integrity with impeccable credentials."

Pence tells a gathering of evangelical activists in Washington that the appeals court judge's record and career deserve "the respect of every member of the United States Senate."

The vice president says the way that some Democrats have conducted themselves during the confirmation process "is a disgrace and a disservice to the Senate and the American people."

Pence also says that he and President Donald Trump are confident that Republicans will handle that process "with the utmost respect for all concerned." Pence says he believes Kavanaugh will soon join the high court.

Pence made no reference to Christine Blasey Ford, whose accusations about Kavanaugh's behavior 35 years ago have roiled the confirmation.

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11:10 a.m.

Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

That's the new and latest deadline in the high-stakes confrontation over whether Brett Kavanaugh's accuser will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Christine Blasey Ford's accusations and the standoff over the terms of her appearance have left Kavanaugh's confirmation in limbo.

The committee chairman, GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, is shrugging off responsibility for the extension onto the Senate's Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer.

Here's what Grassley says in a tweet: "I feel like I'm playing 2nd trombone in the judiciary orchestra and Schumer is the conductor."

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1:45 a.m.

The brinkmanship over whether Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's accuser will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee has come to a standstill, for now.

The committee chairman, GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, has given Christine Blasey Ford more time to decide on the terms of her appearance.

The Republican-led committee had insisted that if Ford missed a Friday night deadline to respond to the panel's latest offer, lawmakers would hold a vote Monday on recommending Kavanaugh's nomination for the full Senate to consider.

Ford's accusations of Kavanaugh's behavior 35 years ago and the standoff over the terms of her appearance have captivated the nation as the appeals court judge's confirmation hangs in balance.

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