WASHINGTON — The woman who has accused President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault threw into doubt plans for an extraordinary Senate hearing to air her accusations, charging on Tuesday that some senators have already made up their minds and insisting that the F.B.I. investigate first.
Speaking through her lawyers, Christine Blasey Ford did not explicitly rule out appearing next Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify along with Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. But echoing Senate Democrats, she said an investigation should be “the first step” before she is put “on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident.”
Republicans are unlikely to negotiate an alternative date and could go ahead with the hearing without her or cancel it altogether if Dr. Blasey refuses to appear and move quickly to a vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. They have repeatedly stressed that Monday would be her opportunity to testify, either privately or publicly, and that they then planned to move forward with the confirmation process. They have also rejected the possibility of an F.B.I. investigation.
The apparent standoff was yet another turn in a high-stakes drama that has gripped the Capitol since Thursday, when the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee revealed that she had referred the sexual assault allegations to federal investigators. Dr. Blasey, a research psychologist in Northern California, has accused the judge of sexually assaulting her more than 30 years ago when both were teenagers, a charge that Judge Kavanaugh has categorically denied.
“If she does not come on Monday, we are going to move on and vote on Wednesday,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a member of the committee, told Fox News on Tuesday evening.