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Senate GOP leaders have argued that they have been very accommodating to Ford's requests, while Democrats say Republicans have bullied Ford with unreasonable deadlines. Ford has also not provided a date, time, or specific house, making any criminal investigation unlikely.

Moreover, the West Wing aides who had urged Trump to remain muted in his response to the accusations anxious about how the president might react to an hourslong, televised hearing.

After several days of restraint by the president, Trump attacked Ford's credibility on Twitter Friday, saying she should have filed charges decades ago if the alleged attack was " as bad as she says". "In the event that we can come to a reasonable resolution as I've been seeking all week, then I will postpone the committee vote to accommodate her testimony".

Friday's hashtag is the latest echo of the #MeToo movement, which was itself started by a hashtag, encouraging victims of sexual misconduct to speak out following the allegations that have toppled Weinstein and other powerful men. John Cornyn of Texas, a member of the committee.

Among the issues still being ironed out are how long senators will have to ask questions, the person said.

It was unclear whether Grassley would permit more negotiations Saturday, with patience among Republicans is running thin. A spokesman for the committee, Taylor Foy, noted the denial of wrongdoing but said that Ventry had chose to step aside "to avoid causing any distraction from the work of the committee". Bromwich joins long-time Democratic attack strategist Ricki Seidman advising Ford. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the committee, had insisted that she appear to testify on Monday.

Republicans will be forced to walk a careful line in questioning Ford's account without alienating female voters before the November congressional elections.

The committee earlier Friday had set a deadline of 5 p.m. ET for Ford to decide, later extending that to 10 p.m.

Graham said there's no way Kavanaugh could be prosecuted based on the evidence presented so far. Her family has been moved out of their home.

"Bring it forward, I will listen", Graham said. I hope you understand. "It's not my normal approach to b indecisive", Grassley wrote.

The clinical psychology professor accused Judge Kavanaugh - Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee - of pinning her to a bed at a party in Maryland in the early 1980s when she was 15.

Kavanaugh, 53, an appellate court judge, has denied the allegation and said he wanted to testify as soon as possible to clear his name.

In backing away from his deadline, Grassley underscored the sensitivity with which Senate Republicans have tried handling Ford.

Keyser separately clarified to the Washington Post she believes Ford, but does not have any personal knowledge of the assault.

"Republican committee staff told Ford's attorneys that they would be unwilling to accept what they characterized as a "demand" that only senators be permitted to ask questions of the witnesses".

Talks continue between the GOP-run committee and Christine Blasey Ford's lawyer over details of a tentative agreement for a hearing Thursday.

Kavanaugh's confirmation would solidify conservative control of the Supreme Court and advance Trump's goal of moving the high court and the broader federal judiciary to the right.

A senior White House official deemed it a stalling tactic and an effort to "push off" the confirmation vote.

Democratic senators were expected to ask their own questions. Aides to Grassley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.