Republicans are terrified of the truth.
Republicans are publicly trying to pressure Christine Blasey Ford into appearing at a sham hearing on her harrowing story of sexual assault at the hands of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. But in private, they hope Ford stays away and spares them a damaging political spectacle.
Well-sourced political correspondent Robert Costa reports that a pair of senior national GOP operatives say that the Kavanaugh scandal has elected Republicans worried about the midterms.
"One of those Republicans said several top GOP lawmakers have told colleagues that they hope Ford declines to show up for the hearing even as they issue statements urging her to do so," Costa writes, adding that Republicans hope to "avoid a risky televised drama and making it easier for Senate leaders to hold a vote next week."
Outwardly, Republicans have paid (often poor) lip-service to wanting to hear Ford's story. For example, Trump told reporters he wanted to hear Ford's testimony, but also compared her allegations to the "Russian witch hunt."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) dismissively told the Washington Post, "I'll listen to the lady, but we’re going to bring this to a close," and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) said the Kavanaugh allegations a "little hiccup" in his confirmation process.
But Republican actions speak even louder than their insincere words. After Ford went public, Republicans first tried to arrange private phone calls to hear out the allegations, but Democrats shut them down.
Then, without any consultation or agreement from Ford, Republicans scheduled a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Monday to hear testimony from Kavanaugh and Ford, and no one else. Such a hearing would pit Kavanaugh's word against Ford's, and ignore evidence like contemporaneous therapy notes and witnesses like Mark Judge, the Kavanaugh classmate who was allegedly present during the assault.
Almost immediately, Ford demanded that the FBI complete an investigation of the allegations before she would appear at any hearing. Trump and Republican Judiciary committee chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have refused.
Even after stacking the deck so heavily against Ford, Republicans are still hoping she won't show up so they can ram the nomination through without Americans hearing her story. In order to do so, they'll have to convince at least four Republican senators who have said they want to hear from Ford before they vote.
Unfortunately for Republicans, confirming Kavanaugh without hearing from Ford could carry significant political risks as well. Kavanaugh was historically unpopular from the minute he was announced, and opposition to his nomination has shot up over the past month.
The American people deserve a full investigation of these allegations, and so does Christine Blasey Ford. Anything less is a disgrace.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.