The accusations have roiled a confirmation process that once seemed smooth for Kavanaugh, who if confirmed could consolidate the conservative grip on the top United States court.
Anita Hill, whose allegation Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her prompted a similar hearing in 1991, told ABC on Wednesday that the Judiciary Committee could be holding "just a sham proceeding" next week without the FBI investigation Ford wants. Kavanaugh has denied the incident, and he and Judge both deny being at the party in question. He has been meeting with White House officials this week.
The woman, Christine Blasey Ford, alleges Kavanaugh attempted to force himself onto her at a party in the early 1980s.
Eshoo said her actions were dictated by Ford's desire for complete confidentiality about her allegations as she worked through whether and how to bring them to the attention of those vetting Kavanaugh and, potentially, the public.
"It is imperative the Judiciary Committee move forward on the Kavanaugh nomination and a committee vote be taken as soon as possible".
Chairman Chuck Grassley is also setting deadlines. Both Kavanaugh and Ford were called to testify before the committee on Monday, but Ford says she wants an FBI investigation first. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Judiciary Committee Democrat.
"The FBI does not make a credibility assessment of any information it receives with respect to a nominee".
Sen. Patrick Leahy, a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told CNN that an additional FBI investigation "would be done" if the current committee chairman, Sen.
In his response, Grassley argued that such an investigation would fall beyond the jurisdiction of the FBI.
The White House under President George W Bush ordered that inquiry.
Ford's request for discretion was observed to the point, Eshoo said, that in her office only she and one other senior aide were fully aware of Ford's claims.
I've reached out to Ford's lawyers and will update if I hear back. However, that classmate is a writer named Mark Judge who wrote a book about being a blackout drunk in his youth, Wasted: Tales of a GenX Drunk, and liberals are saying that disqualifies his account.
Schumer insists such a probe is "essential" to prevent Monday's proceedings from degenerating into a "he said, she said affair".
"Doing so would not only signal that sexual assault accusations are not important".
Trump and his Republican Party have been careful to express readiness to give the judge's accuser a fair hearing.
He added: "I can only say this, he is such an outstanding man, very hard for me to imagine that anything happened". "If she shows up and makes a credible showing, that would be very interesting".
Others, like Sen. Lindsey Graham, have speculated that the request to delay is a politically motivated effort to stall out the confirmation process, as Democrats have independently been attempting to do for weeks. The Kavanaugh confirmation has been unfolding for nearly three months, he's been a well-known figure in Washington for two decades, and this allegation has been in the headlines for a week now. "I think they're going to do a good job". Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) went a step further, asking Grassley to allow Ford's counsel to cross examine Kavanaugh.
Some GOP senators including Bob Corker of Tennessee and Lindsey Graham of SC say they see no reason to wait beyond Monday for Ms Ford's testimony, and that they want the Senate to vote next week.