Kavanaugh accuser wants Federal Bureau of Investigation probe before she will testify

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The development came after President Donald Trump showered sympathy on his embattled nominee and as Senate Republicans and Democrats fought determinedly over who should testify at a high-stakes hearing on the allegation just six weeks before major congressional elections.

Mr Trump was answering reporters' questions about Mr Kavanaugh, whose nomination is now in jeopardy in the Senate, as he left to visit hurricane-ravaged areas in North Carolina and SC.

The accusations have roiled a confirmation process that once seemed smooth for Kavanaugh, who if confirmed could consolidate the conservative grip on the top USA court.

"I thought he might inadvertently kill me", she said. "And really it's up to the Senate". "I feel so badly for him that he's going through this, to be honest with you", Reuters quoted Trump as saying. There, she alleges, Kavanaugh pushed her onto the bed, tried to take her clothes off and put his hand over her mouth when she screamed.

On Tuesday, Ford's lawyers sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is handling Kavanaugh's confirmation, insisting that the FBI investigate her charge before she testifies to the committee.

"If she shows up, that would be wonderful".

Christine Blasey Ford, a professor based in California, has accused Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge, for attempting to rape her in a Maryland suburb outside Washington back in 1982 when they were teenagers.

On Tuesday night, Senator Grassley said there's no reason for any further delay of the hearing, even if Dr. Christine Blasey Ford does not testify. "I am friends, I've been friends with him for years", said Meghan McCaleb. "They did not raise it in the thousand-plus follow-up questions that senators sent to Judge Kavanaugh in writing".

He also defended longtime pal Kavanaugh, saying: 'I never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford described'. Her lawyers said Tuesday night that Christine Blasey Ford wants the FBI to investigate her claim first before any Senate hearing. Coming across as insensitive to an alleged sexual assault victim could imperil their majorities in Congress, since a Washington Post-ABC Poll show a majority of registered female voters already favor Democrats for Congress over Republicans.

Grassley told reporters Wednesday he's working on planning this hearing the rest of the week.

Asked directly by ABC News' Jonathan Karl if Blasey Ford's allegation is disqualifying for Kavanaugh if true, the president didn't directly answer, except to say he needs to hear her story first. Feinstein said. "What about individuals who were previously told about this incident?"

But the senator said Tuesday that he has been unable to get in contact with Ford and that she has yet to agree to testify before the committee.

Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who is on the committee, said she believes Ford is telling the truth, and emphasized that "the American public deserves to know the character of someone who will serve for his entire life on the highest court in our country".