Chuck Grassley fielded questions from callers during a television appearance Wednesday and reportedly told Channel 13 News that he couldn’t comment on President Trump’s mockery of Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault during high school, at a Mississippi rally Tuesday.
“Grassley said that he couldn’t respond to criticism, including from some Republican U.S. Senators, that President Donald Trump mocked Ford’s claim during a campaign rally Tuesday night,” the station reported. “Grassley said that he had already gone to bed when Trump made his comments.”
Taking calls, Grassley took the contradictory position that he both believed Ford’s testimony last week in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, but also that he didn’t, really. “I believe that she is telling the truth,” Grassley told a caller.” However, he also said, “I know that she was attacked, but I don’t know Brett Kavanaugh did it.”
Another caller asked if the FBI report would be released to the public.
“It won’t stay private,” Grassley said. “Any senator can read it and be briefed on it, yes. Every senator will know what’s in the report, if they want to know.”
The caller clarified that he was asking if it would be released to the public. Grassley said it wouldn’t be. “If you want the FBI to get candid answers from people that maybe don’t want the public to know what they think about a certain candidate, you’ve got to retain that confidentiality,” he replied.
In fact, the White House limited the scope of the FBI’s investigation almost immediately after it was requested last Friday by Republican Senate Judiciary Committee member Jeff Flake, including by preventing investigators from interviewing Kavanaugh and Ford. The FBI did interview Mark Judge, the friend of Kavanaugh’s whom Ford claimed participated in and was the sole witness in the assault on her, but has ignored requests from several former Yale classmates of a second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, who have told reporters stories corroborating her allegation that a drunk Kavanaugh thrust his penis in her face during a dorm room party, forcing her to touch it against her will.
The FBI investigation was rushed to completion and senators are scheduled to review it this morning. According to news reports, only one physical copy of the report will be made available, with senators — starting with Republicans — getting rotating one-hour turns to review it before a vote Friday.
Meanwhile, Grassley’s colleague from Iowa in the Senate, Joni Ernst — who, by her own admission, didn’t even watch Ford’s testimony last Thursday — recently told right-wing talk radio host Hugh Hewitt that she plans to vote to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court if the FBI report lacks corroborating evidence backing up Ford’s claims.
In addition to Judge, the FBI has interviewed two other people Ford said were in the house she was assaulted in. One of them is another friend of Kavanaugh’s who has denied knowing anything about the alleged incident. Another is a friend of Ford’s who Kavanaugh has falsely claimed said the incident never took place. In fact, the friend said she didn’t recall the event but believes Ford’s account.