Politics

Rep. Eshoo Reveals Her First Conversation with Kavanaugh Accuser

‘At the end of the meeting, I told her I believed her,’ California Democrat says of Christine Blasey Ford

Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo of California said her constituent Christine Blasey Ford has come forward “for all the right reasons.” (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Christine Blasey Ford, the California clinical psychology professor who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school, did not first share her story with Congress in the widely reported anonymous letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

A week before she wrote that letter on July 30, Ford sat down at a conference table in Palo Alto, California, to share her story with Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo, her congresswoman.

Eshoo described that conversation — which took place over coffee, tea, and cookies on July 20 — to the San Jose Mercury News in a 45-minute interview this week.

“At the end of the meeting, I told her I believed her,” Eshoo told the Mercury News.

Watch: Hirono on Kavanaugh Accusation: Men Need to ‘Shut Up and Step Up’

Eshoo hand-delivered Ford’s now-infamous letter  to Feinstein, her longtime California Democratic senator.

Ford told the Washington Post she was afraid Kavanaugh might “inadvertently kill” her during a party in the early 1980s, alleging that the Supreme Court nominee pinned her to a bed and groped her over a one-piece bathing suit.

Kavanaugh has categorically denied the accusation. President Donald Trump has said he is “anxious” to defend himself in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees judicial appointments.

In an interview with ABC News, Eschoo dismissed claims that Ford was a political prop being used to railroad Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the bench.

“My constituent is not a creature of Washington, D.C.,” Eshoo said. “That’s not who she is.”

She described Ford as a “gentle, honest person who may change people’s minds” about whether or not the Senate should confirm Kavanaugh.

Lawyers for Ford are rejecting the proposal from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley of an open hearing next Monday where Ford and Kavanaugh would testify about the alleged episode and answer lawmakers’ questions.

“The hearing was scheduled for six short days from today and would include interrogation by Senators who appear to have made up their minds that she is ‘mistaken’ and ‘mixed up,’” the lawyers wrote on Ford’s behalf.

Ford is willing to cooperate with a Judiciary Committee inquiry, and her lawyers are encouraging an FBI review before any sort of hearing might be scheduled, suggesting a similar process to what committee Democrats have called for.

Republicans are unlikely to acquiesce to that condition, if their comments criticizing Democrats for withholding the information for roughly six weeks as senators met with Kavanaugh and held open confirmation hearings are any indication.

It’s been 70 days since President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh, and the Senate has spent more than two months poring through his background, including hundreds of testimonials from people who know him, McConnell said.

“Now an accusation of 36-year-old misconduct dating back to high school has been brought forward at the last minute in an irregular manner,” the Kentucky Republican said.

Democrats have accused Republicans of overlooking the contents of the allegations as they criticize Democrats for releasing the letter at “the eleventh hour,” as McConnell put it.

“She’s a courageous woman, and she has come forward for all the right reasons,” Eshoo told the Mercury News of Ford. “What I’d like to see more than anything else is that she be treated with the respect that she should have — and that there not be a rush to judgment but a transparent process that really seeks the truth.”

Correction 3:55 p.m. | An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the date of Ford and Eshoo’s meeting. The story has been updated with the correct timeline.

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