Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Photo: Leigh Vogel/WireImage

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley said Wednesday that allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh can and should be investigated by his committee, but resisted calls by Democrats and the accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, for the FBI to launch an investigation into the claims.

The details: Ford has ruled out appearing at a Senate hearing scheduled for next week, insisting that the FBI should investigate first. But in a letter to Democrats on the committee, Grassley said the "FBI does not make a credibility assessment of any information it receives with respect to a nominee. Nor is it tasked with investigating those matters that this Committee deems important."

"We have no power to commandeer an Executive Branch agency into conducting our due diligence. The job of assessing and investigating a nominee's qualifications in order to decide whether to consent to the nomination is ours, and ours alone."
— Grassley writes.

Other Republicans seem support Grassley's argument, including Sen. Susan Collins, who's being targeted by liberal groups to vote against Kavanaugh.

  • "I hope that Dr. Ford will reconsider and testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. It is my understanding that the Committee has offered to hold either a public or a private session, whichever would make her more comfortable," Collins tweeted.

Meanwhile, Ford’s attorney Lisa Banks told the Washington Post in a statement that Republicans “rush to a hearing is unnecessary, and contrary to the Committee discovering the truth.” Banks added that there are multiple witnesses who should be included in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing set for Monday.

Go deeper: Only the White House can order the FBI to investigate Kavanaugh allegations

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