Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and described the brutal details of her alleged assault by Brett Kavanaugh. We have more details about her testimony — check back for updates.
UPDATE 5:30pm ET: Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went on a rant during his five minutes of questioning, calling the accusations against Kavanaugh “the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics.” Earlier in the day, during a break in Dr. Ford’s testimony, Graham angrily told reporters that if Kavanaugh’s nomination fails, Republicans will create false accusations of sexual assault against future Democratic SCOTUS nominees.
“To my Republican colleagues,” Graham said at the hearing, “if you can ignore everything in this record, look at an allegation that’s 35 years old, that’s uncertain in time, place, date, and no corroboration—if that’s enough for you, God help us all as Republicans. Because this happens to us. It never happens to them.” Graham declared that Kavanaugh was just as much as victim as Dr. Ford in this situation, and that she was being used as a pawn.
UPDATE — Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony: Kavanaugh came out of the gate literally screaming at his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, crying, sniffing, and chugging water as he vehemently denied all sexual assault accusations. He relied heavily on the calendar defense — that he has calendars that he kept from the summer of 1982, when Dr. Ford’s assault allegedly occurred, that don’t have any house parties scheduled. Kavanaugh is using the curious defense of, “a majority of my law clerks have been women” to prove that he’s apparently not a sexual predator or misogynist.
He’s complained through tears that because of these accusations “from those on this side of the committee” (Democrats), he may never be able to teach law again, or coach sports. He said that explaining what’s happening right now to his daughters is the “worst experience” of his life. He maintains that despite the accusations, “I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process…”This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit.”
Kavanaugh continued his bizarre testimony by screaming at Senator Feinstein that he wanted to testify before Senate the day after the allegations surfaced, and called the investigation a “farce.” Feinstein calmly reminded him that she and the Senate Judiciary Committee couldn’t just do that without some discussion first.
UPDATE 2:15pm ET: several Democratic senators have used their time to praise Dr. Ford for coming forward, and to let her know that they believe her. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) called her “heroic,” and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) told her, “”I believe you. And I believe many Americans across this country believe you.”
UPDATE 2:00pm ET: Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) told reporters during a recess that he does not find Dr. Ford “un-credible. I think she’s an attractive, good witness.” The “attractive” remark drew criticism, and he clarified that he mean it to “describe personalities, not appearances.”
UPDATE 1:45pm ET: Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) told Dr. Ford, “”Bravery is contagious. Indeed, that’s the driving force behind the #MeToo movement. And you sharing your story is going to have a lasting positive impact on so many survivors in our country.”
UPDATE 12:30pm ET: Mitchell seemed to imply in a line of questioning that Dr. Ford was lying about her fear of flying. How that connects to her testimony is baffling. At first, Dr. Ford told senators that she couldn’t come to DC to testify because she was afraid to fly. She said that she realized it was “an unreasonable request” and drummed up the courage to fly out. Mitchell continued to grill her about how frequently she flies.
UPDATE 12:20pm ET: on her hesitance to go public with her allegation against Brett Kavanaugh, Dr. Ford says, “I was worried that I would be jumping in front of a train that was headed where it was going anyway and I would be annihilated.”
UPDATE 11:08am ET: Dr. Ford told Senator Feinstein that this was “absolutely not” a case of mistaken identity. Asked how she was sure it was Kavanaugh, she replied, “The same way that I am sure that I am talking to you right now. Basic memory functions.”
UPDATE 11:00am ET: Dr. Ford was poised and calm as she sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27 and faced questions from prosecutor Rachel Mitchell and senators on the committee. She told Feinstein that the alleged assault left her with “PTSD-like” tendencies and severe claustrophobia. She initially told her husband about it when they were renovating her house, and she begged for a second front door. She said that the alleged assault “dramatically altered my life,” by affecting her friendships — especially with boys — and causing academic problems.
ORIGINAL: Dr. Christine Blasey Ford‘s hearing began with senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee giving opening statements for 30 minutes. While Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) rambled about the difficulty Brett Kavanaugh has faced after being accused of sexual assault, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) expressed her sympathy for Dr. Ford and commended her for coming forward. “This is not a trial for Dr. Ford; it’s a job interview for Mr. Kavanaugh,” Feinstein said before Dr. Ford began her testimony.
“I’m not here because I want to be; I’m terrified. I’m hear for civic duty to tell you what happened between me and Brett Kavanaugh in high school,” Dr. Ford began. She continued to tell the committee what allegedly happened during a high school party during the summer of 1982, which she has described several times before this hearing. “The details about that night that bring me here today are the ones I will never forget. They have haunted me [and] been seared into my memory and have been hard to beat episodically as an adult,” she said through tears.’
“I believed he was going to rape me. I tried to yell for help. This is what traumatized me the most and had the most lasting impact on my life.” She slammed accusations that she came forward against Kavanaugh for political purposes: “I am no one’s pawn. My intention was to be helpful. My responsibility is to tell you the truth.”
Christine Blasey Ford in her opening statement: "I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because i believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school."
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 27, 2018
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 27, 2018
The college professor kept her composure as she described how Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh allegedly sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school. She was accompanied by “at least” 15 friends, according to reporters in the room, including friends who traveled to DC from California for moral support. Her husband, Russell Ford is not there. He stayed behind with their children, as the family has faced multiple death threats since she came forward with her allegations.
On the eve of her testimony, an examination taken by Ford on August 7 was released, showing that she passed a polygraph test over the sexual assault allegations. During the examination, held at a Maryland Hilton Hotel, she was asked two questions: is any part of your statement false? And, did you make up any part of your statement? She answered no to both questions. Her examiner, Jeremiah Hanafin, concluded that both answers were “not indicative of deception,” according to US TODAY. Hanafin noted in the report that two other polygraph tests were conducted, and both indicated that Dr. Ford was not lying. Hanafin said that the probability of deception was less than .02 percent.
Dr. Ford’s report also included a handwritten statement and an interview. Her statement reiterates her sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh: “I was pushed into a bedroom and was locked in the room and rush onto a bed,” she wrote. “Brett laid on top of me and tried to remove my clothes while groping me. He held me down and put his hand on my mouth to stop me from screaming for help.” Dr. Ford and her attorneys also sent four signed declarations on September 25 from people she told about the alleged assault.
One of Kavanaugh’s other accusers, Debbie Ramirez, sent her support to Dr. Ford before the testimony. “Thinking of you today, Christine. They want us to feel alone and isolated but I’m there wrapping my arms around you and I hope you feel the people of this nation wrapping their arms around all of us. Holding you up in spirit,” her attorney, John Clune, tweeted for her. Ramirez claims that while classmates at Yale, Kavanaugh allegedly exposed himself to her, shoving his penis in her face.
HollywoodLife is updating this post as Dr. Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee continues. Keep coming back for more updates