Christine Blasey Ford, who accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when the two were high school students, will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday in a hearing that could decide the fate of Kavanaugh’s nomination to the high court.
Kavanaugh will also appear before the committee on Thursday after Ford's testimony is completed. He has strongly denied Ford’s allegations.
>> Jamie Dupree: LIVE UPDATES from inside the Kavanaugh-Ford hearing room
In the audience, tears streaming down the face of Rep Carolyn Maloney D-NY as she listens to Ford pic.twitter.com/nIezV2CW6N— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) September 27, 2018
Update at 6:48 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
The hearing is adjourned.
Update at 6:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Kennedy questions Kavanaugh
Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, asks Kavanaugh if he believes in God and if he will swear to God that he did not do what Ford said he did. Kavanaugh swears to God he did not assault Ford.
Update at 6:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Sen. Harris is questioning Kavanaugh
Sen. Harris asks if Kavanaugh believed men can be friends with some women and act badly toward other women.
Kavanaugh says he was not someone who would do that.
Harris asked if he watched Dr. Ford’s testimony. “I did not. I planned to, but I did not. I was preparing my testimony.”
Update at 6:36 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Sen. Cruz questions Kavanaugh
Sen. Cruz, R-Texas, tells Kavanaugh that “watching your mother’s pained face has been heart-wrenching.” He wonders aloud how the letter and Ford’s name was leaked. Feinstein asks to speak. “I did not release the letter ... I held it confidential.” Now a Cruz asks if there is a process to keep things confidential in the confirmation process. Grassley said there is a process for that. Feinstein now says that a friend of Ford’s likely leaked her name and the fact she sent a letter to Feinstein.
Update at 6:22 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Sen. Booker questions Kavanaugh
Sen. Booker starts out his questioning by asking Kavanaugh, “You drank on weekdays as well as weekends, is that correct?” Booker asks if he wished Ford had never testified. Kavanaugh says he and his family hold no ill-will toward Ford.
Update at 6:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Sen. Tillis questions Kavanaugh
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, asks what Democrats wanted from the process because all they are doing is messing obstructing the process.
Update at 6:09 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Sen. Hirono questions Kavanaugh
Sen. Hirono asks if he believes character is important in being a Supreme Court justice. He says he does believe that. Hirono reads a statement from a college roommate who said Kavanaugh drank heavily at times and could become belligerent when he did. Kavanaugh denied it. “So you were not a sloppy drunk and your roommate was lying,” Hirono said.
Update at 5:52 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Sen. Blumenthal asks about the Clintons
Sen. Richard Blumenthal asks Kavanaugh if he really believes the motivation for the hearing was a “left-wing conspiracy.”
Democrats in coming days/months/years seem likely to revisit Kavanaugh's opening statement, especially his "revenge of the Clintons" and a few other lines— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) September 27, 2018
Update at 5:48 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Sen. Sasse gets angry
Sen. Ben Sasse takes the remainder of Sen. Lee’s time to take Feinstein to task over not making Kavanaugh aware of Ford’s allegations.
Update at 5:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Sen. Lee questions Kavanaugh
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, points out that Kavanaugh cannot call for an FBI investigation.
Update at 5:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Sen.Coons is questioning Kavanaugh
Sen. Coons asks Kavanaugh why he doesn’t request a delay in the confirmation process and call for an FBI investigation. Kavanaugh says he wanted a hearing on the day the accusations came to light.
Update at 5:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Sen. Hatch questions Kavanaugh
Republican senators on the Committee have abandoned the idea of using Mitchell to question Kavanaugh. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, says he can’t believe the Democrats are focusing on Kavanaugh’s yearbook. He asked if the ranking member -- Dianne Feinstein -- had ever told Kavanaugh about the allegations against him during their meeting in August. Kavanaugh said no.
Update at 5:28 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
The hearing is resuming now.
Update at 5:09 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
The Committee takes a 15-minute break.
Update at 4:44 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Graham goes off on Democrats
After Sen. Durbin asks why Kavanaugh doesn’t ask that the conformation be put on hold and call for an FBI investigation, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, asks for the floor and lays into the Democrats.
He asks Kavanaugh if he knew that 23 minutes after he was nominated Sen. Chuck Schumer said he would not vote for him.
He then asked if Kavanaugh met with Feinstein. Did she tell you her staff suggested a lawyer to Ford, Graham asks? He said the staff did not.
Graham gets more angry saying, “I would never do to them what you have done to this guy,” Graham said to the Democrats. “If you really wanted to know the truth you wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy.”
Sen. @LindseyGrahamSC: “This is not a job interview. This is hell. This is going to destroy the ability of good people to come forward because of this crap.” https://t.co/RETTCxbYwJ pic.twitter.com/LOspQMZu4e— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) September 27, 2018
Update at 4:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Leahy questions Kavanaugh
Leahy is asking him about Mark Judge – “Would you want him called as a witness.” “He’s already offered a sworn statement,” Kavanaugh says. He raises his voice at Leahy saying the allegation was “sprung on me.”
Mark Judge developed an addiction problem, Kavanaugh says. As part of his sobriety, Kavanaugh says, he wrote a fictionalize book, borrowing the names of his friends, he said.
He questions Kavanaugh about his yearbook as the two raise their voices again. Kavanaugh begins to talk about his high school career and Leahy interrupts to ask if the yearbook reflects who he is. They argue and Kavanaugh says it was part farce and didn’t represent the core of the school.
Update at 4:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Mitchell wants to know about beer
Mitchell asks him if he has ever passed out after drinking too many beers. Kavanaugh said he hasn’t. Did you ever wake up in a different location, or have fewer clothes on, Mitchell asked. Again, he says no.
After drinking did anyone ever tell you about something you did that you don’t remember doing, Mitchell asks. He answers no again.
Mitchell asks if he was ever at a party like the one Ford described. He says he was never at such a party. She asks him if he was ever in a room with Ford. He says never.
Update at 4:08 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Feinstein questions Kavanaugh
Feinstein asks why didn’t he want an FBI investigation into the accusations. Kavanaugh loudly tells her he wanted to clear his name, but wasn’t allowed. Slams the fact it took 10 days to get a hearing. She asked about the other women’s accusations. Kavanaugh says, “The Swetnick thing is a joke, that’s a farce.”
Update at 4 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Mitchell asks Kavanaugh about Mark Judge
Mitchell wants to know what Kavanaugh’s relationship with Judge. He said he has had some email contact, but not much.
Update at 3:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Kavanaugh swears he is innocent
“I swear before this committee, family, our nation and God, I am innocent of these charges,” Kavanaugh says.
Update at 3:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
“Explaining this to our daughters has been a nightmare,” Kavanaugh says as he tears up again. “I thank God every night for Ashley (his wife).”
Update at 3:44 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Charges are not consistent with who he is
Kavanaugh says Ford’s charges are “radically inconsistent with my character.” He says he has many female friends.
He admitted he did like beer and still does. “I drank beer with my friends. Sometimes I had too many beers. I did not drink beer until I passed out and sexually assaulted someone. … I never committed sexual assault.”
Update 3:42 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Kavanaugh having a tough time
Kavanaugh is having a difficult time with his opening statement. He has cried on several occasions and has had to stop and drink water to try to regain his composure.
Update 3:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Kavanaugh says he never assaulted anyone
Kavanaugh refutes Ford’s testimony. “I an innocent,” he tells the Committee. He is choking up talking about his family. He says his dad influenced him to keep up with events by using calendars. “I’ve kept calendars for the last 38 years.” He says his calendar shows he could not have been at the party Ford is talking about.
Update 3:26 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Kavanaugh gets emotional
Amid unloading on Democrats on the Senate Judicial Committee, Kavanaugh tears up as he talks about his 10-year-old daughter saying that she and her sister should pray for “the woman,” Christine Ford.
Update at 3:10 p.m EDT Sept. 27
Kavanaugh gives statement
An angry Kavanaugh goes after the Democrats – “You’ve sowed the wind, I fear for decades to come the entire country will reap the whirlwind.”
“Some of you were lying in wait and had it ready.” This has destroyed my family and my good name. This has been a calculated political hit.”
“This is a circus.”
Update at 3:08 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Kavanaugh seated in the hearing room
Judge Kavanaugh is in the hearing room and ready to testify.
Update at 2:17 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
The hearing adjourns; Judge Kavanaugh will be testifying next.
Per pool, Trump was watching Dr. Blasey testify aboard Air Force One en route to Washington from NYC, according to @PressSec— Julie Davis (@juliehdavis) September 27, 2018
Update at 2:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Mitchell’s last questions
Mitchell says that the three others that Ford said were at the party have all said they have no memory of it. Ford says she’s not surprise, ‘it wouldn’t be a party they would remember. Nothing happened to them.”
Update at 2:10 p.m.EDT Sept. 27
Harris questions Ford
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, suggests an FBI investigation would have been helpful.
Update at 2:00 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Mitchell asks about Ford’s lawyers
Mitchell asks if Ford had any help in choosing her lawyers. She says some, then says Feinstein’s office offered some help and suggested one of the attorneys she chose. She asked when Ford asked for an FBI investigation. She said around the time the possibility of a hearing was suggested. She asked if she had seen any questions that were asked today in advance.
Update at 1:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Booker questions Ford
Sen. Corey Booker, D-New Jersey, brings Ford to tears complimenting her courage. He asks if she wished there had been more of an investigation into the allegations. She said yes.
Update at 1:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Mitchell asks about polygraph; tangles with Ford attorney
Mitchell asks Ford again if she paid for the polygraph. Ford’s attorney interrupts saying, “Let me end this misery, her attorneys have paid for it.” Mitchell asks, “Do you expect the cost to be passed on to you.” She says there are Go Fund Me accounts available to her, but she doesn’t yet know how to use those accounts.
Asking about the letter she sent to Congress, Mitchell asks, “Was it your understanding that your name would be kept confidential?”
“It was my understanding it was going to be kept confidential, period,” Ford said.
“Do you know how the letter became public,” Mitchell asks. “No.”
Update at 1:42 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Sen. Hirono questions Ford
Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, asks Ford if there is a political reason that compelled her to testify. No, Ford answers. Hirono slams Trump and thanks Ford for coming to testify.
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is forcing us to look the question square in the face: does character matter? I believe it does. And I believe the reaction we have seen to Dr. Blasey Ford's courage shows us that we're not alone. pic.twitter.com/W5attSESYh— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) September 27, 2018
Update at 1:37 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
The hearing has resumed.
Update at 1 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
The hearing is adjourned for a lunch break.
Update at 12:45 p.m. Sept. 27
Mitchell asks about the polygraph
Mitchell asks, “Were you advised to take a polygraph?” Ford’s attorney interrupts Mitchell’s questioning saying the answer to what she wants to know is privileged. “Based on the advice of counsel, I underwent the exam,” Ford says. When was the test, Mitchell asks? Ford said the test was on the day of her grandmother’s funeral. “He administered the polygraph on the day of your grandmother’s funeral,” Mitchell says. “Yes, or it may have been the next day,” Ford says. Mitchell asks if she got tips on taking the polygraph? “No,” she says. Mitchell asks her if she paid for the polygraph? “No,” Ford says. “Do you know who paid for it? Ford says she doesn’t. Were you audio or video recorded for the test.” I remember being hooked to the machine and crying a lot.” He had a computer, so I assumed he was recording me.”
Update at 12:40 p.m. Sept. 27
Blumenthal questions Ford
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, asks if Ford wants Judge to be questioned. Ford says yes, it would be helpful. Blumenthal goes on to say President Donald Trump’s failure to order an FBI investigation is tantamount to a coverup.
Update at 12:39 p.m. Sept. 27
Mitchell asks about who Ford reached out to
Mitchell asks if Ford contacted any Republican about the incident. “No.” Did you ask anyone about the letter you sent to Feinstein. Ford says no, except for trying to find a lawyer.
Did you ever give Feinstein or anyone else the permission to release that letter, Mitchell asks. “Not to my knowledge.”
Did you speak to anyone else about the letter. “No.”
Did you talk to your parents about it. “Definitely not.”
Update at 12:33 p.m. Sept. 27
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, questions Ford
Coons asks if it’s true she notified Congress before Kavanaugh was nominated. “Yes.”
How did she feel that night? “I was definitely experiencing the fight or flight mode ... to get out of the situation.
Update at 12:12 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Klobuchar asks what she remembers
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, asks if she used Kavanaugh’s name when she talked about being attacked. She asks about the polygraph test she took.She asked Ford what she remembers. Ford says she remembers the layout of the house, the stairwell and the bedroom.
Update at 12:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Mitchell asks about her fear of flying
Mitchell asked Ford how she got to Washington? “In an airplane,” Ford said. Mitchell asks if she has a fear of flying. Ford said she “got up some gumption” to get on an airplane to come to Washington. “You fly frequently for your hobbies and your work, correct?” Mitchell asks more questions about her willingness to fly.
Update at 12:01 p.m. EDT Sept. 27
Whitehouse questions Ford
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, asks if Ford asked for an FBI investigation and why. Ford said she did because “I could be more helpful in providing details people are wanting to know about.” Whitehouse slams the Republicans for not launching an FBI investigation. Grassley fires back.
Update at 11:50 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Testimony resumes with Mitchell continuing questions
Mitchell asked if anyone has come forward to say, “Hey, I drove you home" from the party. Ford said no. Mitchell asked Ford if she showed therapy records to the Washington Post. Ford said she wasn’t sure if the reporter saw the records or if she summarized the records.
Mitchell asked if Kavanaugh’s name was in those records. Ford said no.
Update at 11:40 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Dick Durbin asks Ford about her memory
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, ask “to what degree of certainty” is she sure Kavanaugh had something to do with the alleged attack. “One-hundred percent,” Ford says. Durbin also says that “Mark Judge should be subpoenaed from his Bethany Beach hide-away to testify” at the hearing. He renews the Democrats’ call for an FBI investigation. Grassley angrily slammed Durbin for his comments that Republicans were trying to rush the process. Grassley says it was the Democrats who held the letter from Ford back until after the confirmation hearings had been completed.
Update at 11:30 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Mitchell continues question
Mitchell asks Ford to clear up who was at the party. Ford says Judge, Kavanaugh, PJ Smyth, another boy, she doesn’t remember his name, another another girl and herself. She says it wasn’t a party as has been reported, but rather a “gathering” that was likely, she thought, to lead to a party later in the evening. Mitchell asks her if there was loud music from anywhere else in the house.
Update at 11:20 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Leahy is questioning Ford
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, asks what do you remember most about that night? “Indelible in the hippocampus is the uproarious laughter,” Ford says. “I was underneath one of them” while they were laughing.
Update at 11:12 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Mitchell continues questioning Ford.
Mitchell asks if Ford was drinking the day of the alleged attack. “No.” Taking any drugs, “No.”
Update at 11:10 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Could it be a mistake
Feinstein asks Ford if she could be mistaken about Kavanaugh’s participation in the alleged attack that evening. “Absolutely not.”
Democratic @SenatorDurbin asked Christine Blasey Ford if she was certain that her attacker was Supreme Court nominee #BrettKavanaugh.— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) September 27, 2018
"100 percent," Ford told the Senate panel.
In his prepared testimony for the panel, Kavanaugh denied Ford's allegation. pic.twitter.com/Ufj5THliVA
Update at 11:01 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Feinstein asks why she didn’t come forward
Feinstein wants to know why Ford didn’t tell anyone about the alleged attack. Ford says she did tell friends about the attack. She says she has suffered from PTSD and claustrophobia due to the attack. She said she struggled with coming forward with her story. She said reporters hounded her at her home and in her classroom at Sanford, and the “mounting pressure” led her to come forward.
Update at 10:54 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Rachel Mitchel begins questioning Ford
Prosecutor Rachel Mitchell is questioning Ford now. Mitchell says she was struck by the fact Ford is “terrified.” “I’m sorry for that,” Mitchell said. “That’s not right.” She tells Ford if there is something she asks that Ford doesn’t understand to let her know.
Update at 10:50 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Ford says she is ‘no one’s pawn’
Ford testifies about how her story became public. “My hope was that providing the information confidentially would be sufficient to allow the Senate to consider Mr. Kavanaugh’s serious misconduct without having to make myself, my family, or anyone’s family vulnerable to the personal attacks and invasions of privacy we have faced since my name became public. In a letter on August 31, 2018, Senator Feinstein wrote that she would not share the letter without my consent. I greatly appreciated this commitment. All sexual assault victims should be able to decide for themselves whether their private experience is made public.”
Update at 10:46 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Ford continues telling about her experiences
Ford says the alleged assault “drastically altered” her life. She testified, “During this assault, Mark came over and jumped on the bed twice while Brett was on top of me. The last time he did this, we toppled over and Brett was no longer on top of me. I was able to get up and run out of the room. Directly across from the bedroom was a small bathroom. I ran inside the bathroom and locked the door. I heard Brett and Mark leave the bedroom laughing and loudly walk down the narrow stairs, pin-balling off the walls on the way down. I waited and when I did not hear them come back up the stairs, I left the bathroom, ran down the stairs, through the living room, and left the house. I remember being on the street and feeling an enormous sense of relief that I had escaped from the house and that Brett and Mark were not coming after me.
“Brett’s assault on me drastically altered my life. For a very long time, I was too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone the details.”
Update at 10:38 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Ford tells about the night of the alleged assault
Ford’s voice continues to quiver as she testifies about what happend on the night she was alleged assaulted.
“When I got to the small gathering, people were drinking beer in a small living room on the first floor of the house. I drank one beer that evening. Brett and Mark were visibly drunk. Early in the evening, I went up a narrow set of stairs leading from the living room to a second floor to use the bathroom. When I got to the top of the stairs, I was pushed from behind into a bedroom. I couldn’t see who pushed me. Brett and Mark came into the bedroom and locked the door behind them. There was music already playing in the bedroom. It was turned up louder by either Brett or Mark once we were in the room. I was pushed onto the bed and Brett got on top of me. He began running his hands over my body and grinding his hips into me. I yelled, hoping someone downstairs might hear me, and tried to get away from him, but his weight was heavy. Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes. He had a hard time because he was so drunk, and because I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit under my clothes. I believed he was going to rape me. I tried to yell for help. When I did, Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from screaming. This was what terrified me the most, and has had the most lasting impact on my life. It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me. Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack. They both seemed to be having a good time. Mark was urging Brett on, although at times he told Brett to stop. A couple of times I made eye contact with Mark and thought he might try to help me, but he did not.”
Update at 10:34 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Ford is beginning her testimony
Ford has been sworn in and is beginning her testimony. Her voice is breaking as she tells senators, “I am terrified.”
Update at 10:27 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Judge should be there
Feinstein says Mark Judge, a friend of Kavanaugh’s, should have been called to testify. Ford said that Judge was in the room during the 1982 party when she was allegedly assaulted by Kavanaugh.
Update at 10:23 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
She will explain her actions
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the committee’s ranking member, says she will explain why she held the letter from Ford as she did. She reiterated that Ford did not want to come forward with her allegations.
Update at 10:18 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Can’t get information
Grassley says his office has tried to get additional information from two other women who have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct..
Update at 10:13 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Grassley slams Democrats
Grassley says the Democrats grandstanded during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing and it is their fault that the hearing has become so divisive.
Update at 10:06 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Grassley begins his opening statement
Grassley begins the hearing by apologizing to Ford and Kavanaugh. He is now explaining how today’s hearing came about. He says that six FBI investigations of Kavanaugh failed to turn up any hint of accusations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh.
Update at 10:03 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Ford is in the room now
Ford is seated and is gathering her papers. She is sighing deeply.
Update 10:01 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Grassley, most other senators in their seats
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is taking his seat now. Most other senators are in the room now, as well.
Update 9:52 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Mitchell arrives at the hearing
Rachel Mitchell, who will ask questions for the Republicans today, is in her chair in the room.
Update 9:15 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Ford’s chair is ready for her
Ford will testify first Thursday. She has arrived on Capitol Hill according to her attorneys.
Update 8:55 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
Five minutes each
Senators will get five minutes each to ask questions of Ford and Kavanaugh. However, you likely will not hear many Republican voices. The Republican members of the committee have decided to let Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona prosecutor, to ask their questions of both Ford and Kavanaugh.
Update 8:30 a.m. EDT Sept. 27
No room in the room
C-SPAN is reporting that no one from the public will be seated in the hearing room since all the seats are taken by those testifying and their supporters. During Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, members of the public often interrupted testimony..
C-SPAN producer note in Dirksen hearing room:— CSPAN (@cspan) September 27, 2018
6 rows 8 chairs each (4 to each side aisle). 1st 3 rows marked stickers "Testifying Witness" or "Witness," last 3 rows marked "RESERVED"
***no seats*** for public
48 print reporter seats reserved spread over 2 long tables flank room
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