Support for Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court is falling, a new poll finds, as he and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford prepare to tell their sides of the story to the world.
Only 40 percent of voters would confirm Kavanaugh, a new Fox News poll found, while 50 percent oppose him.
Last month, 45 percent would vote to confirm while 46 percent would not.
Overall, the 50 percent opposition to Kavanaugh is the highest opposition to a Supreme Court nominee in Fox polls going back 13 years.
Before his nomination, the previous high was when 39 percent opposed Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, in March 2017.
Ford (left) is expected to testify against Kavanaugh (right) on Thursday of next week, before the Senate holds vote to determine whether he will be seated on the Supreme Court
The poll found more believe Ford over Kavanaugh as the two prepare to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week on Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were at a high school party in the 1980s.
Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the allegation.
But more voters believe Ford’s claims than his denials by a 6-point margin, 36 percent to 30 percent the poll found.
The poll also found, however, that about one-third, 34 percent, are unsure who is telling the truth.
Women believe Ford by 10 points while men believe her by one point.
The biggest degree of separation is among political party: Democrats believe her by a 59 percent to 9 percent margin. It’s the reverse among Republican with 60 percent believing him, 14 percent believing her.
Since August, support for Kavanagh’s confirmation dropped 12 points among independents, 11 points among suburban women, and 10 points among voters under age 45, according to Fox News.
Ford, meanwhile, has agreed to testify about her sexual assault claims against Kavanaugh next week, her lawyers have revealed.
In a 15-minute phone call between the Senate Judiciary Committee and Ford’s attorneys on Saturday night, a source claimed to Politico the panel tentatively agreed to a Thursday hearing in private, despite publicly trying to rush the confirmation of Kavanaugh along.
Negotiations are expected to continue over the weekend, with Ford’s team and the panel still not able to agree on crucial details of the hearing.
While all parties have agreed on only using pool cameras, keeping Ford and Kavanaugh separate and providing police security for the renowned psychologist, there is still no consensus on whether alleged witness Mark Judge will be subpoenaed.
Ford’s complaint centers around an incident that took place at a high school party in the 1980s, where she alleges Kavanaugh and Judge, his friend, followed her upstairs when she went to the bathroom and pushed her into a bedroom.
There, she alleges the Supreme Court nominee held her down, covered her mouth, groped her and tried to rip off her swimsuit .
‘I thought he might inadvertently kill me,’ she told the Washington Post.
Her escape came only when Judge, who was in the room with them, jumped on top of the pair, she says.
Kavanaugh denies the allegations and has said he would testify to clear his name. Judge has denied any recollection of the event.
News of Ford’s decision to testify at all came just as the Senate Judiciary Committee’s extension ran out at 2.30pm EST Saturday.
A statement from Ford’s lawyers, posted on Twitter by Washington Post reporter Emma Brown, said: ‘Dr Ford accepts the Committee’s request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct next week.
‘Although many aspects of the proposal you provided via email, on September 21, 2018, at 2:33 pm, are fundamentally inconsistent with the Committee’s promise of a fair, impartial investigation into her allegations, and we are disappointed with the leaks and the bullying that have tainted the process, we are hopeful that we can reach an agreement.’
The statement is signed by attorney’s Debra Katz and Lisa Banks.
Dr Christine Blasey Ford has agreed to testify about her sexual assault claims against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the accusers lawyers have revealed
The White House also released a statement in response to the announcement on Saturday night.
They said the Kavanaugh is looking forward to testifying so he can clear his ‘good name’.
‘Brett Kavanaugh has been clear from the beginning—he categorically and unequivocally denies this allegation and is eager to testify publicly to defend his integrity and clear his good name.
‘On Monday, Brett Kavanaugh met with Committee counsels to answer questions subject to criminal penalties and offered to testify publicly Tuesday morning.
‘Since then, we have heard about different dates, conditions, and ever changing schedules, but today we appear no closer to a fair hearing. But one thing has remained consistent: Brett Kavanaugh remains ready, willing and eager to testify as soon as possible.’
Committee Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley reluctantly granted Ford an extension Friday night, writing in a string of tweets: ‘With all the extensions we give Dr Ford to decide if she still wants to testify to the Senate I feel like I’m playing 2nd trombone in the judiciary orchestra and [Senator Chuck] Schumer is the conductor.’
This came after Grassley rejected Ford’s key concessions under which she would testify and then gave her until 10pm Friday night to come to a ‘reasonable resolution’.
He said if Ford and her lawyers failed to reach a decision his Republican-run panel would vote on sending Kavanaugh’s nomination for Supreme Court Justice by Monday.
But before the 10pm deadline, Ford’s lawyer said her client wants another day to consider terms for testifying about her allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teens.
Attorney Debra Katz called Friday’s deadline ‘arbitrary’, saying ‘its sole purpose is to bully Dr Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision that has life-altering implications for her and her family.’
Now a 53-year-old California psychology professor, Ford says an inebriated Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed, muffled her cries and tried removing her clothes when they were teens in the 80s
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley gave Dr Christine Blasey Ford an extension to decide if she wants to testify against Judge Kavanaugh
Senator Chuck Grassley tweeted to Brett Kavanaugh that he is granted Dr Ford an extension
Earlier Friday he gave Dr Ford until 10pm Friday to decide
He appeared reluctant to grant the extension to decide if she wants to testify against Brett Kavanaugh
Meanwhile, Ford’s family has expressed their continued support of the accuser.
During an appearance on Good Morning America, Ford’s sister-in-law Deborah Ford Peters spoke out on why she wants her story to be heard.
‘I assume that she was very concerned about Judge Kavanaugh being considered for the Supreme Court,’ Peters said.
‘I think she doesn’t want her story misrepresented, in the way that it leaked, but she also strongly believes that story needs to be heard by the American public, that they need to know what this man did in his youth so that he can be held responsible.’
Peters insisted that Ford is telling the truth about the alleged encounter with Kavanaugh 36 years ago, saying she’s sure she has the right guy.
‘I can’t imagine any reason that it would be a mistaken identity,’ she said on GMA. ‘Specifically working with people who have been through traumas, the details of the traumas are often etched in their minds forever.’
She added: ‘I feel very proud and kind of impressed and amazed that she has the courage to come out and face whatever consequence she has to face. But she’s a strong person. She’s showing us she’s capable of doing it.’
Peters’ comments came days after several members of Ford’s family wrote a public letter of support, telling senators ‘her honesty is above reproach’.
Disney star Bridgit Mendler, Ford’s niece, posted the letter on her Twitter page with a note praising her ‘Aunt Chrissy’.
‘Dr Christine Blasey Ford, or Aunt Chrissy as I know her is the person who patiently helped me with my college application, she was the first to give me a hug when I saw my family on vacation. Please remember her humanity. This is a message from our family,’ Mendler wrote.
Deborah Ford Peters spoke in support of her sister-in-law Christine Blasey Ford on Good Morning America Friday
Earlier this week several members of Ford’s family wrote a public letter of support, telling senators ‘her honesty is above reproach’. Disney star Bridgit Mendler, Ford’s niece, posted the letter on her Twitter page with a note praising her ‘Aunt Chrissy’
For days the public has been anxiously waiting for Ford to decide if she wanted to relive her alleged trauma in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee as Grassley imposed several deadlines.
In Friday’s tweet storm he wrote: ‘Five times now we [have] granted extension for Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed [with] her desire stated one [week] ago that she wants to tell senate her story Dr Ford if u changed ur mind say so so we can move on I want to hear ur testimony. Come to us or we to u.’
In a follow-up tweet, Grassley wrote: ‘Judge Kavanaugh, I just granted another extension to Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed w the statement she made last week to testify to the senate She [should] decide so we can move on I want to hear her. I hope u understand. It’s not my normal approach to [be] indecisive.’
The latter tweet confused some Twitter users, who speculated the tweet was meant to be a direct text.
Ford met with the FBI for several hours about death threats she has received and wants to consider her response until at least Saturday.
Grassley had said if no agreement is reached the panel may vote Monday on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
He turned down Ford’s request that only senators, not attorneys, be allowed to ask questions.
He also rejected her proposal that she testify after Kavanaugh, a position lawyers consider advantageous because it gives them a chance to rebut accusations.
‘We are unwilling to accommodate your unreasonable demands,’ Grassley said earlier Friday.
Grassley sent Ford’s attorneys a proposal earlier Friday offering a Wednesday hearing – Ford preferred Thursday – and said: ‘It is not fair to him or to his family to allow this situation to continue without a resolution and without an opportunity for him to clear his name.’
In this Sept. 4, 2018, file photo Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh stands with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley R-Iowa, during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill
Grassley said he was rebuffing Ford’s proposals that she testify after Kavanaugh and that only senators, not outside counsel, be allowed to ask questions.
The committee’s 11 Republicans – all men – have been seeking an outside female attorney to interrogate Ford, mindful of the election-season impression that could be left by men trying to pick apart a woman’s assertion of a sexual attack.
He also refused to call additional witnesses.
Ford wants an appearance by Mark Judge, a Kavanaugh friend who Ford asserts was at the high school party and in the bedroom where Kavanaugh’s assault occurred. Ford eventually escaped.
Grassley said he’d consented to several other Ford demands, including that she be provided security and that Kavanaugh not be in the hearing room when she testifies.
Friday was the latest in a string of tumultuous days for Kavanaugh, whose ascension to the Supreme Court seemed a sure bet until Ford emerged last weekend and provided details of the alleged assault.
Kavanaugh, a District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals judge, has repeatedly denied the accusation.
News of Ford’s decision to testify broke just hours after Senate Judiciary Committee press adviser Garrett Ventry announced his resignation amid reports that he was fired from a previous political job for sexually harassing a female coworker.
Ventry denied any past ‘allegations of misconduct’ in a statement to NBC News Saturday.
When asked about the allegations against the committee aide, spokesman Taylor Foy responded in a statement: ‘While [Ventry] strongly denies allegations of wrongdoing, he decided to resign to avoid causing any distraction from the work of the committee.’
NBC reports that Republicans familiar with the situation were concerned that Ventry could not lead an effective communications response to the Ford allegations because of his history.
However, insiders have remained quiet following the news of his resignation.
North Carolina House Majority Leader John Bell, who fired Ventry from his role of social media adviser in 2017, told NBC: ‘Mr Ventry did work in my office and he’s no longer there, he moved on.’
Sources say Ventry was booted from Bell’s office after a female coworker accused him of sexual harassment.
He was also found to have embellished parts of his resume, according to NBC.