Faced with a GOP deadline on Friday morning to say if she will testify at a Monday hearing about sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a lawyer for Kavanaugh's accuser told Senate Republicans on Thursday that her client was willing to appear for testimony next week, but not on Monday as originally scheduled. Republicans said late Thursday night they were considering their options.
"Chairman Grassley’s staff had a call with Dr. Ford’s attorneys today to discuss receiving her testimony in the Judiciary Committee, and will consult with his colleagues on the committee. He remains committed to providing a fair forum for both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh," a spokesman for Grassley told reporters.
That came several hours after lawyers for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford said their client did not want to appear on Monday, but was ready to offer her story, in which she alleges that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party in the 1980's.
"She wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety," read a letter sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee by lawyers for .
Republicans had given Ford until 10 am on Friday to either accept - or refuse - the offer to testify at a Monday hearing of the committee. It wasn't immediately clear if the GOP would be open to any delay.
The developments came as a group of women who graduated from Ford's high school joined to support her, bringing a letter signed by hundreds of graduates of the private Holton-Arms school outside of Washington, D.C.
"We believe Dr. Blasey Ford," said Sarah Burgess, who graduated in 2005, some 20 years after Ford attended the school.
"I hope that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford gets the message that we have her back," said Kate Gold, another 2005 graduate.
"We are so proud to be here, but we are mostly proud of her, and her courageousness," said Alexis Goldstein, who graduated from Holton-Arms in 1999.
Ford has claimed that at a high school party involving students from the all-girls Holton-Arms, and the all-boys Georgetown Prep, that Kavanaugh attacked her in an upstairs bedroom in the early 1980's.
The alums of Holton-Arms arrived on Capitol Hill as dozens of protesters were arrested by police on Thursday in the halls of the Senate office buildings, as some chanted, "We believe Anita Hill! We believe Christine Ford!"
Echoing Ford's call for a further investigation, Democratic Senators said like Anita Hill - Ford's accusation deserved an official review by the FBI, before any hearing is held.
"What is happening with the Judiciary Committee is really what I would call, a railroad job," said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), who has become more and more outspoken in recent days about the Kavanaugh nomination.
"She is asking the FBI to investigate her claim," added Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
"I believe her because she is telling the truth," Gillibrand insisted.
Republicans see the story much differently, arguing Kavanaugh is the victim of a massive smear campaign by Democrats.
"Enough is enough," said Rep. Lynn Cheney (R-WY), who urged GOP Senators to go ahead and hold the vote on Kavanaugh as soon as possible.
As for the judge, Kavanaugh told Senators on Thursday evening that he is ready to testify on Monday.
"I will be there," Kavanaugh wrote in a letter released by the White House. "Since the moment I first heard this allegation, I have categorically and unequivocally denied it. I remain committed to defending my integrity."
At a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada on Thursday night, President Trump left no question that he's still behind the Kavanaugh nomination.
"Brett Kavanaugh is one of the finest human beings you will ever have the privilege of knowing or meeting," the President said to cheers, calling his Supreme Court pick a man of 'impeccable reputation.'