Grassley reaches out to alleged witness to alleged sexual assault

Mark Judge, high school friend of embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh said he has nothing to add to a planned Sept. 24 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on allegations Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman in high school.

The accuser, Professor Christine Blasey Ford, has said Judge was in the room when the alleged assault took place and Hill Democrats have called for him to be included in the hearing.

But in a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the committee Tuesday (Sept. 18), said Judge had no memory of the alleged incident or the party described by Ford. "I have no more information to offer the committee and I do not wish to speak publicly regarding the incidents described in Dr. Ford's letter."

Taylor Foy, communications director for Committee Chairman Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) made it clear in an email that the chairman was doing his due diligence in trying to interview witnesses for the hearing.

He said staffers have "begun conducting those interviews." 

"Americans will have the opportunity to hear both from Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh," he said. "Interviews with committee counsel are typically transcribed and witnesses are informed that it is a federal crime to provide false testimony and can result in up to five years in prison."

Some Democrats have been critical of interviews as opposed to having them testify in a public hearing. 

"The first interview was with Judge Kavanaugh yesterday," said Foy. "We’ve also called and emailed Dr. Ford’s lawyer to arrange a similar interview, but we haven’t received a response."

He said Grassley's office has also reached out to witnesses based on the reporting of The Washington Post, which first identified Ford after she agreed to be interviewed on the record.

Fox said ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has been invited to participate in the interviews he is conducting, but had so far declined to do so. 

"Unlike the Ranking Member, the committee’s majority is taking swift action after receiving new information," said Foy.

Kavanaugh is well known in communications circles as a judge on the D.C. federal appeals court, which oversees FCC decision challenges. Kavanaugh is on the record saying the FCC's 2015 Open Internet order was illegal and should have been overturned.

While the FCC has repealed that order, a request that the Supreme Court hear the ISP appeal of the 2015 regulatory order remains before the High Court, though it is unclear whether that court will grant that hearing. If so, and if Kavanaugh's nomination is confirmed, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), has asked him to recuse himself, though Kavanaugh was not willing to agree to that, saying at his hearing that he would not comment on any decision that could come before the high court.

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