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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

Go deeper

4 hours ago - World

Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai detained on fraud charge

An activist holds a placard highlighting China's Tiananmen Square massacre as pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrives at West Kowloon Magistrates' Court in Hong Kong in November. Photo: Isaac Wong/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai is being detained until an April court hearing after the pro-democracy supporter was charged Thursday with fraud, per his Apple Daily news outlet.

Why it matters: The 72-year-old's arrest and denial of bail is another blow for the pro-democracy movement in the former British colony amid concerns about a fresh crackdown on activists.

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.