- Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, of sexual assault, delivered emotional and steadfast testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
- Ford said she was “100%” certain that Kavanaugh assaulted her – and that his friend Mark Judge was a witness.
- Democrats praised Ford’s courage, thanked her for coming forward, and criticised Republicans’ handling of the allegations of misconduct against Kavanaugh.
- The 11 Republicans on the committee – all of them men – said very little during Ford’s questioning, opting to turn their time over to the female prosecutor asking questions on their behalf.
Christine Blasey Ford delivered emotional testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday in which she said she was “100%” certain that Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, sexually assaulted her when they were in high school.
Ford, a research psychologist at Palo Alto University, at times spoke with emotion in her voice and tears in her eyes but remained calm and stalwart through several hours of questioning from senators and an independent counsel, Rachel Mitchell, a sex-crimes prosecutor.
Ford repeatedly said she had no doubt that Kavanaugh assaulted her and that his friend Mark Judge was a witness, and she delivered a detailed account of the incident.
At one point, Sen. Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, brought up the suggestion made by some Republicans and their allies that Ford is confused about the identity of the person who assaulted her.
“I am asking you to address this new defence of mistaken identity directly,” Durbin said. “Dr. Ford, with what degree of certainty do you believe Judge Kavanaugh assaulted you?”
Ford replied without hesitation: “100%.”
Ford’s experience as a psychologist was evident in many moments throughout her testimony, particularly when she described the anxiety and other long-term effects she felt.
When Ford was asked how she knows it was Kavanaugh and not another teenager who attacked her, she responded: “Just basic memory functions, and also just the level of norepinephrine and the epinephrine in the brain that sort of, as you know, encodes – that neurotransmitter that codes memories into the hippocampus, and so the trauma-related experience is locked there, whereas other details kind of drift.”
Democrats praise Ford’s ‘profound public service’
While the 11 Republicans on the committee – all of them men – said very little during Ford’s questioning, opting to turn their time over to Mitchell, every Democrat praised Ford’s courage and thanked her for coming forward.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut at one point stated the obvious: “The senators on the other side of the aisle have been silent.”
He then quoted something his Republican colleague Sen. Lindsey Graham wrote in his 2015 book about his prosecutions of rape cases: “I learned how much unexpected courage from a deep and hidden place it takes for a rape victim or sexually abused child to testify against their assailant.”
Blumenthal said Ford had “inspired and given courage to women” while encouraging men “to listen respectfully to women survivors and men who have survived a sexual attack.”
He added: “That is a profound public service, regardless of what happens with this nomination.”
Democrats also defended Ford at points during the hearing.
“You are not on trial,” Sen. Kamala Harris, a former prosecutor and California attorney general, told Ford after a bout of questioning by Mitchell.
Sen. Jon Tester, one of the handful of red-state Democrats seen as a swing vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, told reporters that he thought Ford is credible but that he was still undecided on his vote.
“My reaction is that I think that proper questions have been asked, and I’ll be interested to see what Kavanaugh has to say this afternoon,” he said. “I want to hear the other side of the argument.”
‘She’s pleasing’: Republicans assess Ford’s credibility
During breaks in the hearing, some GOP senators suggested to reporters that they believe Ford to be credible.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said of Ford, “She’s pleasing.”
“I don’t find her un-credible,” he said. “I think she’s an attractive – good witness.”
Notably, hosts and commentators on Fox News appeared to sympathize with Ford.
“This was extremely emotional, extremely raw, and extremely credible,” the Fox News host Chris Wallace said during a break in the hearing, adding, “This is a disaster for the Republicans.”
Read Business Insider’s full coverage of the Ford-Kavanaugh hearing:
- Watch live updates of the Ford-Kavanaugh hearing here
- ‘I am terrified’: Ford details her sexual-assault allegation in gut-wrenching opening statement
- ‘I will not be intimidated into withdrawing’: Kavanaugh defiant in prepared remarks for Senate hearing
- Ford says the strongest memory she has of Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault was ‘the uproarious laughter’
- Ford says she decided to come forward after reporters were sitting outside of her house and showing up in her classroom where she taught
- Here is the polygraph test Ford took following her sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh
- Meet Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s high-school friend and the other man who’s becoming central to the allegations
- Here are all the allegations against Kavanaugh
- How the Ford-Kavanaugh hearing compares to the 1991 Anita Hill hearing
- Meet Rachel Mitchell, the woman questioning Ford about her Kavanaugh allegations
- Meet Brett Kavanaugh, ‘the Forrest Gump of Republican politics’
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