Mazie Hirono has been thrust into the spotlight as she has unexpectedly become one of the most outspoken senators in defense of a woman who says she was assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
US President Donald Trump on Friday questioned the credibility of the woman who has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assaulting her when they were teenagers, saying she would have reported the attack to law enforcement at the time if it were as bad as she has said.
Blasey Ford's lawyers have told the committee she can not appear at its hearing scheduled for Monday, calling the date Republicans set "arbitrary", according to The Washington Post and The New York Times. Kavanaugh has denied all parts of the allegation.
Republicans have pushed to proceed with Kavanaugh's confirmation vote, which should originally have taken place on Thursday.
It's not the first time Flake and Trump Jr. have tangled on Twitter.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley had scheduled a hearing for Monday, and said if Ford wanted to appear she must notify the committee by 10 a.m. on Friday.
Ford's lawyers have signaled she is open to testifying before the committee, but said that a Monday appearance was a nonstarter. The Judiciary Committee reportedly also has volunteered to send investigators to Palo Alto, Calif., where Ford lives, to talk with her there outside the view of TV cameras.
Now, Ford's willingness to negotiate to appear later next week sets up the most dramatic and politically significant she-said-he-said since Anita Hill testified at the reopened Senate hearings on Justice Clarence Thomas' nomination to the court.
"There are multiple witnesses whose names have appeared publicly and should be included in any proceeding", Ford's lawyer Lisa Banks said. But nothing makes a memory rush back faster than questioning under oath, after the witness has just heard the words "under penalty of perjury". On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said the Democrats' handling of the Ford accusations has been "a drive-by shooting when it comes to Kavanaugh".
Why did you make that decision?
He added that "if she does not show up it would be unfortunate". "But I don't think you can delay it any longer". In earlier media interviews, Banks had said Ford would be willing to testify. Grassley said he was disturbed to learn of the threats.
"Even more nominees will be confirmed".
As the week has proceeded, Republicans have seemed to regain momentum toward approving Kavanaugh though his prospects have remained uncertain.
Democrats, who opposed the conservative federal appeals court judge even before Ford made her allegation, have accused Republicans of rushing the nomination before the November 6 congressional elections. Her lawyer told CNN she's now receiving death threats over the allegation.
On Friday the White House said that it "had no knowledge" of Whelan's theory before his Thursday night tweets.
Professor Blasey Ford says Mr Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed and tried taking off her clothes during the high school party.
Palo Alto University issued a statement supporting Ford. In the call, she said Ford needs time to secure her family, prepare her testimony and travel to Washington.
If Ford opts not to participate, Republicans could well dispense with the hearing to avoid giving Democrats a forum for peppering Kavanaugh with embarrassing questions.