Trading accusations, Democratic and Republican senators quarreled Tuesday over who will testify at what promises to be a dramatic and emotional hearing next Monday with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the woman who says he sexually assaulted her when they were in high school.
He added that he not spoken to Mr Kavanaugh about Christine Blasey Ford's accusation that he assaulted her at a party in 1982 but said the allegations "should've been brought up long ago".
Ford has stated through her attorney Debra Katz that she is willing to testify publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding her allegations.
Grassley said Tuesday that he will invite only two witnesses to the hearing to testify before the committee next Monday: Kavanaugh and his accuser Ford.
The letter revealed Tuesday evening confirmed The New York Times' earlier reporting about threats Ford has received, saying Ford has "been the target of vicious harassment and even death threats".
"All of this is really something that I don't think can be avoided if you really want to get to the truth, if that's the objective of this hearing", Hill said Wednesday, after writing a similar New York Times op-ed this week urging lawmakers not to repeat the mistakes they made 27 years ago.
Democratic committee members say their request to the FBI is not for a criminal investigation, but "appropriate follow-up" to the FBI's background investigation.
Mr Kavanaugh has "categorically and unequivocally" denied the allegations. Ford was 15 at the time of the alleged incident.
Alex Conant, a former aide to Republican Senator Marco Rubio, said there remains risk to Donnelly and the other red-state senators if they oppose Kavanaugh on any grounds, given they have boasted of their ability to work with Trump.
Brett Kavanaugh's friend Mark Judge declines to testify about alleged sexual assault
So far, there are no contemporaneous witnesses to bolster the allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford against Kavanaugh. But she ultimately decided not to come forward with her allegation.
If the Judiciary committee's timetable slips further, it would become increasingly hard for Republicans to schedule a vote before the November 6 elections, in which congressional control will be at stake.
Sen. Dick Durbin of IL, the No. 2 Democrat, said Judge is needed "specifically and personally as an eyewitness to the occurrence".
In her column, Hill said that the committee had failed to "demonstrate its appreciation for both the seriousness of sexual harassment claims and the need for public confidence in the character of a nominee to the Supreme Court" when she testified in 1991 against then-nominee Clarence Thomas. "I'm not concerned about tanking the nomination", he said. What needs to happen is there shouldn't be a rush to a hearing here. In the last decade, we have seen the Supreme Court legalize gay marriage, reshape campaign finance laws and uphold the Affordable Care Act and Trump's travel ban.
Democrats say they want the FBI to investigate Ford's claims.
None of this makes the case clear-cut, and we may never get definitive answers as to whether Kavanaugh was at the party or whether Ford's allegation is true.
Democrats have said that Ford asked for anonymity in a letter she sent to her congresswoman, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., detailing the incident. They say the hearing should not move forward until that investigation is completed. "The invitation for Monday (Sept. 24) still stands".
Republicans had hoped Trump's second Supreme Court nomination would galvanize conservative voters while placing incumbent Democrats in a tough position of having to back Kavanaugh to reassure Trump's base. But don't be held hostage to the idea that if Kavanaugh doesn't wind up on the court - no matter what he and Ford say next week - it will be curtains for Senate Republicans. According to the Journal: "The more relevant question is why go to such lengths if Ms. Ford really wanted her name to stay a secret?"