Democratic senators Hirono and Gillibrand express solidarity with Kavanaugh accuser

Democratic senators Hirono and Gillibrand express solidarity with Kavanaugh accuser

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), left, and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) spoke out Thursday in support of Christine Blasey Ford, the California professor who has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. The senators are pictured at a news conference on Nov. 1, 2017 discussing domestic violence in the military. (Anthony Jackson/TMN Intern)

WASHINGTON — Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono and Kirsten Gillibrand expressed solidarity with Christine Blasey Ford, the California psychology professor who has leveled an allegation of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

“We have not created an environment where women like Dr. Ford can come forward and be supported in a respectful way,” Hirono, of Hawaii, said at a news conference on Thursday.

She added: “What is happening with the [Senate] Judiciary Committee, is really, what I would call it — is a railroad job.”

“This is about basic fairness…And I do hope every woman in America is paying very close attention to what is happening in this body, in the U.S. Senate, today,” said Gillibrand, of New York.

The senators spoke alongside students from Holton-Arms School, an all-girls private school in Bethesda, Md. The students presented the lawmakers with a letter expressing support for Ford signed by nearly 600 alumnae. Ford is a Holton graduate.

Earlier this week Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced the committee will hold a hearing on Monday in which both Kavanaugh and Ford are invited to testify.

The announcement was preceded by bipartisan requests for a hearing as well as a declaration by Ford’s attorney in a CNN interview that her client is willing to publicly testify before the panel.

But Ford’s legal team told the committee their client will not testify until the FBI has thoroughly investigated the allegation, according to a CNN report.

President Donald Trump has said the FBI should not investigate the allegation.

Grassley has said the hearing will proceed as planned and that Ford must inform the committee by Friday morning if she intends to testify. Ford has been given the option of privately testifying.

One of Ford’s lawyers, attorney Lisa Banks, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Tuesday evening that her client has received death threats and that she and her family had to vacate their home. A GoFundMe webpage set up to cover Ford’s security costs has raised over $100,000, according to media reports.

Kavanaugh has stringently denied Ford’s allegation.

The allegation became public last week. However, the public did not know Ford was Kavanaugh’s accuser until she came forward in an interview with the Washington Post that was published on Sunday.

Ford told the Post the allegation dates back to a high school party in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh was then a student at Georgetown Prep.

In July Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) received a letter from Ford containing the allegation from Ford. Eshoo gave the letter to Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

Feinstein announced last week that she received a letter in July referencing an allegation against Kavanaugh but she did not provide specifics. Feinstein said she gave the letter to the FBI and asked that they investigate the matter. Feinstein said she had not come forward sooner to protect the identity of Ford, who had stressed in the letter that she wanted the matter to be handed confidentially.

Feinstein’s announcement was preceded by an Intercept report that relayed the existence of the letter.

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