The Latest: Senate staff says hearing terms ‘non-negotiable’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who accuses him of sexually assaulting her decades ago (all times local):

2:35 p.m.

Senate Judiciary Committee staff have written lawyers for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, and said they would do everything they could to “provide a safe, comfortable, and dignified forum” for her testimony Thursday. But they also say the committee will decide who testifies, in what order and how they will be questioned.

In an email exchange between the committee and Ford’s lawyers obtained by The Associated Press, a counsel for Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley wrote that the terms over which witnesses to call and questioning are “non-negotiable.” Ford’s lawyers asked for several conditions surrounding her testimony.

Davis wrote that they would hold the hearing in the Judiciary panel’s regular hearing room, which is small. He said that was to avoid a “circus” atmosphere.

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1:40 p.m.

A spokesman for the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is confirming that the committee will hold a public hearing Thursday on the sexual assault allegation that’s been made against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

That word comes from Taylor Foy, an aide to Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, soon after lawyers for Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford said in a statement that they were “committed to moving forward with an open hearing” on that day.

The Ford lawyers’ statement also said further details about the upcoming hearing are still to be worked out.

At issue is Ford’s accusation stemming from an incident she says took place when she and Kavanaugh were teenagers.

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1:20 p.m.

Attorneys for Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, are citing “important progress” on a high-stakes public hearing to air out her decades-old sexual assault claim against the Supreme Court nominee.

Her attorneys say they have committed to a 10 a.m. hearing on Thursday and accept the committee’s decision not to subpoena Mark Judge, a Kavanaugh friend who Ford asserts was present when the incident occurred.

But they say the Republican-controlled Senate panel hasn’t said who will be asking questions of her and Kavanaugh. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s 11 Republicans — all men — have been seeking an outside female attorney to interrogate Ford.

Ford’s attorneys say the committee has not indicated when they will respond, but said the remaining “procedural and logistical issues” will “not impede the hearing taking place.”

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11 a.m.

Sen. Lindsey Graham says Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser will be treated “respectfully” by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but both witnesses “will be challenged” over the sexual assault allegation from decades ago she’s made against the Supreme Court nominee.

Talks continue between the GOP-run committee and Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyer over details of a tentative agreement for a hearing Thursday.

Graham says Ford’s lawyers are contesting two conditions for her testimony — that Ford and Kavanaugh will be the only witnesses and that an independent counsel will ask the questions.

The South Carolina Republican tells “Fox News Sunday” that “I hope she comes. I will listen if she does.”

But he adds that “unless there’s something more” to back up her accusation, he’s “not going to ruin Judge Kavanaugh’s life over this.”

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10:20 a.m.

A Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee says Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser deserves a fair hearing to determine whether her allegations of sexual assault are “serious” enough to vote down his Supreme Court nomination.

Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, acknowledged that lawmakers will “probably not” be able to know the truth of Christine Blasey Ford’s decades-old allegation that Kavanaugh assaulted her at a house party when they were teenagers.

Durbin indicated that Democrats are likely to ask about Kavanaugh’s drinking history because Ford has alleged Kavanaugh was “stumbling drunk” when it happened.

Durbin told ABC’s “This Week” that some Republicans “reached out to Democratic senators and assured them that they are looking to this as kind of a determination as to how their final vote” on Kavanaugh is cast.

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1:20 a.m.

Talks are set to continue on tentative agreement for a Thursday hearing for Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee about her allegation that the Supreme Court nominee sexually assaulted her decades ago.

Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford and representatives of the committee came to the tentative agreement late Saturday. Kavanaugh also is set to appear at the hearing.

Some details, such as the order of their testimony, are being negotiated, and talks are expected to continue Sunday.

Categories: National News