Can the Senate Judiciary Committee enlist the FBI to investigate the claims of sexual assault brought by an accuser against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, nominee to the Supreme Court?
A group of women who identified themselves as friends and former colleagues of Brett Kavanaugh defended the embattled Supreme Court nominee who has been accused of sexual assault on Friday at a news conference in Washington.
He speculated Friday on Twitter that if the attack "was as bad as she says" she or her parents would immediately have filed charges.
The president had until Friday taken great pains to avoid challenging Ford by name.
However, Prof Ford has set out conditions for her appearance which have yet to be agreed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Mr Trump, who had been careful in recent days not to criticise Professor Ford as he defends his nominee, told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday that he felt the nomination had been delayed long enough.
Trump's Friday tweets contrasted with comments earlier in the week when he said Ford should be heard, even if it meant a delay in the confirmation process.
In a series of tweets, the president again delivered his full support for Judge Kavanaugh, saying he was a "fine man, with an impeccable reputation".
"I was appalled by the president's tweet", Collins said in Portland. She said she revealed the incident to her husband and therapist at a 2012 couple's therapy session. Patti Davis, the daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, wrote a piece for The Washington Post revealing that she was raped about 40 years ago, and like Blasey, is hazy on the details. On Thursday evening, Ford's lawyers reiterated that she would not testify Monday, but said she "would be prepared to testify next week" if offered "terms that are fair and which ensure her safety".
Just was time was running out, Ford lawyer Debra Katz late Friday requested another day to decide.
Judge Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the claim. Less than seven weeks before elections in which Democrats could capture congressional control, moderate female voters will be pivotal in many races and the #MeToo movement has elevated the political potency of how women alleging abuse are treated. She doesn't want Kavanaugh in the same room, her attorney told the panel's staff in a 30-minute call that also touched on security concerns and others issues, according to a Senate aide.
"She has already been forced out of her home and continues to be subjected to harassment, hate mail, and death threats".
"This is EXACTLY why Dr Ford didn't want to come forward", Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill), said in a tweet.
Collins is an important player because she and a handful of other borderline senators could make the difference in the final vote on Kavanaugh in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell played verbal hardball of his own, drawing a standing ovation when he assured a gathering of evangelical activists that the conservative Kavanaugh would soon be a justice.
"Hopefully he can keep it together until Monday", the White House official told Axios - ostensibly referring to the date Republicans want Ford to testify about her accusations "That's only, like, another 48 hours right?"
Timing in the case, however, has serious implications for Kavanaugh's confirmation. Senate Democrats, meanwhile, say that no matter what Republicans do, they intend to question Blasey themselves.