‘I’ve got to cast a vote’: Sen. Kennedy pushes for Kavanaugh tally, with accuser testimony uncertain

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Sen. John Kennedy said Wednesday that come Monday morning, he will arrive at the Hart Senate Office Building ready to vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh — with or without testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing the Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault.

“I plan on being there by 10 a.m.,” said Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I’ve got a vote to cast here.”

The Republican lawmaker’s remarks echo those from others in his party, after Ford’s attorneys said Tuesday that she will not testify unless the FBI investigates her claim that a 17-year-old Kavanaugh held her down and tried removing her swimsuit at a 1980s pool party.

After the lawyers aired their condition, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley offered to discuss the claims privately with Ford, now a research psychologist at Palo Alto University. Kennedy argued that she and her lawyers are “moving the goalposts” of precedent, but said a discussion away from the spotlight would be acceptable.

“If she wants to do it privately, we’ll do it privately,” he said. “We’re really trying to accommodate her.”

Ford’s legal team has yet to accept Grassley’s offer. Kennedy said they have not returned interview requests from his staffers.

In a phone call Tuesday, Kavanaugh told Kennedy that he’s ready to testify.

“If Chairman Grassley called him right now and said ‘be here in 15 minutes for the hearing,’ he’d say, ‘I’ll be there in 10,'” the senator told reporters Wednesday.

Kennedy, who said earlier this month that he would vote “happily and proudly” for Kavanaugh, said his stance now hinges on hearing from both the judge and his accuser.

“I think the American people need to hear from Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh,” he said. “I trust the American people to draw their own conclusions.”

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