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Live Updates: Brett Kavanaugh Angrily Denied Assault Allegations, Calling The Process A "Disgrace"

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual misconduct by Christine Blasey Ford. They both testified Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Last updated on September 27, 2018, at 6:54 p.m. ET

Posted on September 27, 2018, at 7:26 a.m. ET

Win Mcnamee / Getty Images

Here's what's happening

  • Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh forcefully and tearfully testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee after Christine Blasey Ford, who accused him of sexual assault in high school in the early 1980s, delivered emotional and compelling testimony.
  • Ford testified that she was "100% sure" that Kavanaugh was her attacker and she remembers "uproarious laughter" from him during the alleged assault.
  • Kavanaugh denied the allegations, calling it a "well-funded effort to destroy my good name and destroy my family" and criticizing the confirmation process as "a national disgrace."
  • Ford is the first of three women who have publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Deborah Ramirez said Kavanaugh stuck his penis in her face in college. Julie Swetnick said Kavanaugh was present when she was gang-raped in college.
  • The Republican majority on the Senate committee is all white men, and, conscious of the appearance and possible gaffes that could come with that, they hired Arizona sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Ford.
  • President Trump's allies thought Ford's testimony was "horrible" for Kavanaugh, but Trump is standing by him and calling for the Senate to vote.
  • Check out this complete run-down of the biggest moments from the hearing.

Updates

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Trump reaffirmed his support for Kavanaugh as the hearing ended, calling for a vote

President Donald Trump weighed in just as the hearing ended, calling on the Senate to vote to confirm Kavanaugh. The president called the nominee's testimony "honest" and accused Democrats of trying to delay his confirmation.

Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!

Senators concluded the hearing just before 7 p.m., after nearly nine hours of testimony. The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a possible vote on Kavanaugh's nomination for Friday and the full Senate could vote as soon as Tuesday.

Senate Republicans plan to huddle later Thursday night to take members' temperature on the vote. They can only lose two Republicans and still confirm Kavanaugh.

—Sarah Mimms

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Sen. Jeff Flake, a swing vote, says “as much doubt as certainty” will leave the hearing room

Pool / Reuters

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who is widely seen as the most likely Republican swing vote, only took a moment to speak and asked Kavanaugh no questions.

Instead he gave a short speech to his colleagues about the importance of humility, and said they were not going to end up getting hard answers. “In the end there is likely to be as much doubt as certainty coming out of this room today,” he said.

Flake added that he hoped that senators would keep in mind "that there is doubt, we'll never move beyond that" in the language they use moving forward.

In the end, Flake gave little sign which way he was leaning. While not crucial, his vote would have a massive impact on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Republicans hold a narrow 11–10 majority on the Judiciary Committee. If Flake voted with Democrats it would swing the committee against recommending Kavanaugh.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could still schedule a vote in the full Senate on Kavanaugh, despite a thumbs down from the committee. But it would be an extreme move, and just one more Republican senator voting no would sink Kavanaugh’s nomination.

—Paul McLeod

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People kept calling C-SPAN to share their own sexual assault stories during the Kavanaugh hearing

Brenda from Missouri calls C-SPAN "I'm a 76-year-old woman who was sexually molested in 2nd grade. This brings back so much pain. Thought I was over it but it's not. You will never forget it. You get confused & you don't understand it but you never forget what happened to you." https://t.co/uCgroeQ4B5

During Thursday's Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's alleged sexual misconduct, C-SPAN fielded opinions and statements from viewers from across the country and political spectrum. The calls quickly became powerfully personal.

After Christine Blasey Ford took her first break during her emotional testimony, a 76-year-old woman named Brenda from Missouri called the organization and shared her own story of when she was "sexually molested in the second grade."

"This brings back so much pain," she said, her voice breaking. "I thought I was over it, but it's not. You will never forget it. You get confused and you don't understand it, but you never forget what happened to you."

Read the full story. —Brianna Sacks

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Booker presses Kavanaugh on whether Ford is part of the political smear campaign he alleges

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

Democratic Sen. Cory Booker tried to pin Kavanaugh down on a new line of questioning — if this is all an orchestrated smear against him as he claims, is Christine Blasey Ford part of it?

“You have problems with the senators up here and how we conducted it, but are you not saying in any way that she is a political pawn, political operative?" he asked.

Kavanaugh insisted he bears no ill will to Ford. When Booker pressed him, asking if Kavanaugh wished Ford had never come forward, he would not directly answer.

“I said all allegations should be taken seriously. You should listen to both sides,” he said.

Booker described Ford as giving “credible, meaningful testimony” and rejected that she was a political pawn. Kavanaugh ended up making no claims about Ford’s honesty or motives, but did continually urge senators to consider both sides before making a decision.

“The evidence was not corroborated at the time. Witnesses who were there say it didn’t happen,” said Kavanaugh.

—Paul McLeod

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Brett Kavanaugh apologized after asking Amy Klobuchar whether she had ever been blackout drunk

C-SPAN

In heated questioning about his drinking habits, Brett Kavanaugh responded by turning the question back on Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar and asking her if she had ever been blackout drunk.

“So you're saying there's never been a case where you drank so much that you didn't remember what happened the night before or part of what happened?” asked Klobuchar.

“You're asking about, yeah, blackout,” said Kavanaugh. “I don't know — have you?”

“Could you answer the question, Judge? Just so you have — that's not happened? Is that your answer?” Klobuchar pressed.

“Yeah, and I'm curious if you have,” said Kavanaugh.

“I have no drinking problem, Judge,” said Klobuchar.

The tense back-and-forth came after Klobuchar questioned Kavanaugh about reports that he had been binge drinking in college and high school, and referenced her own father’s struggles with alcoholism.

“So, most people have done some drinking in high school and college, and many people even struggle with alcoholism and binge drinking,” said Klobuchar. “My own dad struggled with alcoholism most of his life and he got in trouble for it and there were consequences.”

“We have heard your college roommate say that you did drink frequently, these are in news reports, that you would sometimes be belligerent,” Klobuchar continued. “Another classmate said it’s not credible for you to say you didn't have memory lapses.”

Kavanaugh suggested that the comments from his college classmates may not be accurate, making reference to material that had been redacted from the public hearing.

“Drinking is one thing, but the concern is about truthfulness and in your written testimony,” said Klobuchar. “You said sometimes you had too many drinks.”

Kavanaugh later apologized to Klobuchar saying, “This is a tough process. I’m sorry I did that.”

“I appreciate that,” Klobuchar replied. “I would like to add when you have a parent that’s an alcoholic, you're pretty careful about drinking.”

—Otillia Steadman

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Sen. Orrin Hatch said the Kavanaugh hearing is worse than what happened to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch invoked Anita Hill.

Hatch, who voted to confirm Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court back in 1991, said Kavanaugh’s process has been worse than what Thomas went through.

Thomas was famously accused of sexual harassment by Hill. At the time, Hatch said Hill had been “coached by special-interest groups” and her allegations were “too contrived.” He would not say recently whether he still feels that Hill was lying.

But Hatch did lash out at the allegations against Kavanaugh. “This is worse than Clarence Thomas. I didn’t think it could get any worse than that,” he said.

Hatch also decried the allegations against Kavanaugh, saying “immaturity does not equal criminality.”

He then asked several questions about when Kavanaugh found out about the letter containing allegations from Christine Blasey Ford that Democrats had kept secret at her request. Kavanaugh said he only found out the contents of the letter after they were reported in the Washington Post after his confirmation hearings had concluded.

“I think it’s a disgrace,” Hatch concluded.

Republicans seem to have abandoned using Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona lawyer they hired to question witnesses, and are now asking their own questions.

—Paul McLeod

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This is Brett Kavanaugh's heated opening statement to senators on Christine Blasey Ford's allegations against him

Saul Loeb-Pool / Getty Images

“This onslaught of last-minute allegations does not ring true. I'm not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person in some place at some time. But I have never done this, to her or to anyone. That's not who I am. It is not who I was. I am innocent of this charge.”

Watch Kavanaugh's full remarks.

—Jim Dalrymple II

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Brett Kavanaugh explained his yearbook entry

Pool / Getty Images

In an exchange with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh went through a Georgetown Prep yearbook page that became the object of focus.

“Let's look at ‘Beach Week Ralph Club Biggest Contributor.’ What does the word ‘ralph’ mean in that?" Whitehouse asked.

“That probably refers to throwing up. I'm known to have a weak stomach and always have. In fact, the last time I was here, you asked me about having ketchup on spaghetti. I always have had a weak stomach," Kavanaugh said.

“I don’t know that I asked about ketchup on spaghetti, but…" Whitehouse responded.

"You didn't. Someone did. This is well known. Anyone who's known me, like a lot of these people behind me, have known me my whole life, know, you know, I got a weak stomach, whether it's with beer or spicy food or anything,” Kavanaugh said

After a terse back-and-forth about whether the vomiting referenced in the yearbook was related to alcohol, which Kavanaugh refused to directly answer, Whitehouse moved on to another yearbook quote.

“Next one is, 'Judge — have you boofed yet.'" How do you pronounce that?"

"That refers to flatulence," Kavanaugh said. "We were 16.”

“Okay. And so when your friend, Mark Judge, said the same — put the same thing in his yearbook page back to you, he had the same meaning, it was flatulence.”

“I don't know what he did, but that's my recollection. We want to talk about flatulence at age 16 on a yearbook page, I'm game.”

Whitehouse then asked Kavanaugh about the words "Renate Alumnius" in the yearbook entry and, after establishing that Renate was the name of a female high school friend, what "Alumnius" meant in that context.

"I explained that in my opening statement," Kavanaugh said. "She was a great friend of ours. Bunch of us went to dances...she hung out with us as a group. The media circus that has been generated by this thought and reported that it referred to sex. It did not. Never had any — she herself said on the record — any kind of sexual interaction with her and I'm sorry how that's been misinterpreted and sorry about that, as I explained in my opening statement, because she's a good person and to have her name dragged through this hearing is a joke, and really an embarrassment."

"Devil's triangle?" Whitehouse asked.

"Drinking game," Kavanaugh responded.

"How’s it played?"

"Three glasses in a triangle."

"And?"

"You ever played quarters?" Kavanaugh asked.

"No."

"Okay, it’s a quarters game," Kavanaugh responded.

Kavanaugh then explained that "Ann Daugherty's" referred to a female friend who threw a Fourth of July party on a Delaware beach, and the extra "Fs" before Fourth of July was an inside joke about how one of his friends wound up before saying the "f-word."

Whitehouse ended by asking Kavanaugh about sports games referenced in his yearbook page.

"'Orioles versus Red Sox, who won that game anyway?' Should we draw any conclusion that a loss of recollection associated with alcohol was involved in you not knowing who won the games that you attended?"

"No," Kavanaugh said. "First of all, the Georgetown-Louisville was watching on TV, a party, and the —"

"That’s not inconsistent with drinking and not remembering what happened," Whitehouse countered.

"I'm aware," Kavanaugh said. "And the point of both was we, in essence, were having a party and didn't pay attention to the game, even though the game was the excuse we had for getting together. I think that's very common. I don't know if you've been to a Super Bowl party, for example, senator, and not paid attention to the game and just hung out with your friends. I don't know if you've done that or not, but that's what we were referring to in those two occasions."

Ellie Hall

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“I’m telling the truth. I’m innocent of this charge.”

Win Mcnamee / Getty Images

In a moment straight out of an an Aaron Sorkin film, Kavanaugh declared he was telling the truth in a tense back-and-forth with Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin.

Durbin had urged Kavanaugh to turn to White House Counsel Don McGahn, who was sitting behind him, and call on the confirmation to be delayed until the FBI could investigate.

That sparked an angry interjection from Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley. “Stop the clock. This committee is running this hearing, not the White House, not Don McGahn, not even you as the nominee,” said Grassley, referring to Kavanaugh.

Durbin kept pushing Kavanaugh to call for an FBI investigation. Kavanaugh pushed back that FBI background checks do not find guilt. As the two went back and forth, Kavanaugh started loudly shouting, “I’m telling the truth. I’m telling the truth. I’m innocent of this charge.”

Kavanaugh ultimately said he would cooperate with any process, but did not take Durbin’s bait and call for an investigation.

—Paul McLeod

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Sen. Lindsey Graham: “The most unethical sham since I've seen in politics”

Win Mcnamee / Getty Images

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham blasted Democrats for their handling of accusations against Brett Kavanaugh as “the most unethical sham since I've seen in politics.”

Choosing not to yield his time to prosecutor Rachel Mitchell — the first Republican senator to do so — Graham blamed Democrats for trying to destroy Kavanaugh’s life.

“If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could have come to us,” an emotional Graham said. “What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020. You've said that. Not me.”

“You got nothing to apologize for,” he told Kavanaugh. “This is the most unethical sham since I've been in politics.”

The senator went on to say that Democrats never wanted to protect Christine Blasey Ford, telling Kavanaugh, “She's as much of a victim as you are.”

He then asked Kavanaugh if he’s “been through hell.”

“I've been through hell and then some,” Kavanaugh said.

video-player.buzzfeed.com

Graham then cast doubt on the accusations against Kavanaugh, saying he hasn’t faced a single accusation in his professional life.

“You're supposed to be Bill Cosby when you're a junior and senior in high school. And all of a sudden you got over it,” Graham said. “It's been my understanding that if you drug women and rape them for two years in high school, you probably don't stop.”

He proceeded to address Republican senators, saying if they vote no, they’d be “legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics.”

Graham said he'd be voting to confirm Kavanaugh.

—Mary Ann Georgantopoulos

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First comments out of the White House

Kellyanne Conway and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders both tweeted shortly after Sen. Lindsey Graham finished expressing his support for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and excoriating Democrats for their treatment of him, in the first public comments out of the White House on the hearing.

After excoriating the outrageous and unfair treatment of him, “I intend to vote for you and I hope everyone who’s fair-minded will”. @LindseyGrahamSC to Judge Kavanaugh

.@LindseyGrahamSC has more decency and courage than every Democrat member of the committee combined. God bless him.

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Kavanaugh said his focus in high school was on academics and sports

Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

In a tense exchange with Sen. Patrick Leahy over his high school years, Brett Kavanaugh insisted on listing his academic accomplishments while the Vermont senator accused the Supreme Court nominee of filibustering.

Kavanaugh said he “busted [his] butt” in high school in class, sports, and service projects, adding that he and his friends did attend parties.

Leahy mentioned Kavanaugh about his yearbook entry, asking if it reflected his focus on academics?

“If we want to sit here and talk about whether a Supreme Court nomination should be based on a high school yearbook page, I think that’s taking us to a new level of absurdity,” he said.

Having run out of time, Leahy complained, “We got a filibuster but not a single answer.”

—Mary Ann Georgantopoulos

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People were struck by how polite Christine Blasey Ford was during her testimony

Jim Bourg / Reuters

Christine Blasey Ford gave emotional testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday about her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her.

Throughout it the hearing, Ford was polite to the lawmakers and an attorney brought in to question her, at some point even making jokes, which many saw as an effort to put the senators at ease.

Ford's behavior — her politeness and small jokes — struck many on social media.

The fact that Christine Ford is testifying about the worst day of her life and she still made a polite little joke about coffee to try to set people at ease damn near broke my heart. #IBelieveChristineBlaseyFord

What's incredible is how Dr. Blasey Ford keeps repeating that she just wants to be "helpful" - it says so much about her & gender politics in America

More reaction focused on the way Ford acted was similar to how other women comfort themselves as a means of protecting themselves.

—Remy Smidt

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Here are all the questions Christine Blasey Ford had to answer about her alleged sexual assault

Win Mcnamee / Getty Images

“You do remember what happened, do you not?”

“Were you on any sort of medication?”

“How has it affected your children?”

“You would not mix up somebody else with Brett Kavanaugh, correct?”

Read more.

—Julia Reinstein

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Kavanaugh claims to have always kept his memories while drinking in his youth

Pool / Getty Images

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh​ claimed to have never had any sort of memory lapses when he drank in his youth.

​Repeatedly, Kavanaugh responded “no” when asked questions by ​Rachel Mitchell, an Arizona sex crimes prosecutor who is asking questions on behalf of Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee​.

​“D​id you ever wake up in a different location than you remembered passing out or going to sleep​?” Mitchell asked. ​

​“No. No​,” Kavanaugh responded. ​

​“Did you ever wake up with your clothes in a different condition or fewer clothes on than you remembered when you went to sleep or passed out​?”​ Mitchell asked.

​“No. No​,” ​he said again. ​

​“​Did you ever tel​l...​ did anyone ever tell you about something that happened in your presence that you didn't​ ​remember during a time that you had been drinking?​” Mitchell asked.​

​“​No. We drank beer. And​, ​you know, so did I think the vast majority of people our age at the time. In any event, we drank beer. Still do. So whatever​,” he said.

​“During the time in high school, when you would be drinking did someone tell you about something that you did not remember?​” Mitchell asked. ​

​“No​,” Kavanaugh said again. ​

—Talal Ansari

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California Sen. Dianne Feinstein questioned why Kavanaugh didn't seek an FBI investigation

Pool / Reuters

Sen. Dianne Feinstein questioned Brett Kavanaugh on why he didn’t seek an FBI investigation in response to allegations that he sexually assaulted multiple women.

Kavanaugh dodged the question, saying instead that he had asked for a hearing immediately after Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations became public.

“Senator, I’ll do whatever the committee wants. I wanted a hearing the day after the allegation came up. I wanted to be here that day,” said Kavanaugh.

When pressed a second time, Kavanaugh diminished the importance of the FBI investigation altogether, saying that any investigation would not yield a firm conclusion even if it had been conducted.

“Senator, the committee investigates — it's not for me to say how to do it, but just so you know, the FBI doesn't reach a conclusion,” said Kavanaugh. “So I'm here. I wanted to be here. I wanted to be here the next day. It's an outrage that I was not allowed to come immediately.”

In a tense exchange, Kavanaugh insisted that his testimony before the Judiciary Committee should be sufficient.

“I'm talking about getting the evidence and having the evidence looked,” said Feinstein. “We hear from the witnesses but the FBI isn't interviewing them and isn't giving us any facts.”

“You're interviewing me! You're interviewing me!” said Kavanaugh.

“You're doing it, Senator. I'm sorry to interrupt, but you're doing it. That's — there's no conclusions reached.”

—Otillia Steadman

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People are sharing this photo of male Republican senators sitting behind their female prosecutor

Tom Williams / Pool

A lot of people are sharing this photo of Rachel Mitchell, who was brought on by Republican senators to question Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The picture was taken by Tom Williams, a photographer for Roll Call.

Pictured behind Mitchell from left to right are Sens. Mike Crapo, Jeff Flake, Ben Sasse, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and John Cornyn. (The other Republicans not pictured are Sens. John Kennedy, Thom Tillis, Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, and chair Chuck Grassley.)

In sharing the photo, some people made reference to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's initial description of Mitchell's role as a “female assistant.”

The Republicans and their “female assistant.” 📷 credit @pennstatetom

We gathered more responses on Twitter. Read more here.

—Krystie Lee Yandoli

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Kavanaugh responds to yearbook claims

Win Mcnamee / Getty Images

Kavanaugh addressed a lot of the reporting about his behavior during his high school years, including a New York Times report deciphering an odd line on a photo of him in a yearbook: “Renate Alumni.”

The Times reported that the line referred to Renate Dolphin, one of Kavanaugh’s longtime friends, who signed a letter this month attesting to his good character after Ford first came forward. Nine football players, including Kavanaugh, were featured in Georgetown Prep's 1983 yearbook with the “Renate Alumni” line, which was meant to imply a “conquest,” as the Times put it, citing two fellow graduates of the high school.

Kavanaugh insisted Thursday that the reference was more innocent than that. “That yearbook reference was clumsily intended to show affection and that she was one of us. But in this circus, the media has determined the team was related to sex. It was not related to sex. As the woman herself noted in the media on the record, she and I never had any sexual interaction at all. [I am] so sorry to her for that yearbook reference,” he said, growing emotional.

But Dolphin told the Times that, while she wasn’t aware that her name was featured in Kavanaugh’s yearbook at the time, she didn't take it that way. “The insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue,” she told the paper. “I pray their daughters are never treated this way.”

A lawyer working on Kavanaugh’s nomination told the Times at the time that he and Dolphin had kissed in high school, thus the alumnus reference. But Dolphin denied that to the Times. “I think Brett must have me confused with someone else, because I never kissed him,” she told the Times through her lawyer.

—Sarah Mimms

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Sen. Kamala Harris told Christine Blasey Ford she will be remembered as a “true profile in courage”

Pool / Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris delivered a powerful address to Christine Blasey Ford at her Senate hearing Thursday, calling her a "true patriot in fighting for the best of who we are as a country."

Harris was among the many Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee who used their time allotments to praise Ford for coming forward and testifying in public about her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were high school.

Republican senators, on the other hand, ceded their question time to Rachel Miller, an experienced prosecutor of sexual assault cases.

But Harris told Ford that no matter what happens as a result of her testimony, she would be remembered in history books as a "true profile in courage at this moment in time."

Read Harris's full statement to Ford.

—Blake Montgomery

Watch her full statement:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com
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“You'll never get me to quit. Never.”

Kavanaugh delivers his opening remarks.
Saul Loeb / AP

Kavanaugh delivers his opening remarks.

A defiant and angry Brett Kavanaugh deviated from his planned opening remarks that had been released Wednesday to eviscerate the Senate Judiciary Committee and again deny Ford’s allegations, this time under oath.

“This is a circus,” he said. “The consequences will extend long past my nomination. The consequences will be with us for decades. This grotesque character assassination will dissuade confident and good people of all political persuasions from serving our country.”

“You may defeat me in the final vote, but you'll never get me to quit. Never,” Kavanaugh said.

While Kavanaugh had been firm in his denials before, he went much further Thursday, accusing Democrats of taking part in a “grotesque” hearing to destroy him. He said Democrats held back Ford’s letter until they realized they could not defeat his nomination based on the merits, so then released it at the last moment. He also speculated that Democrats may have planned a series of recent allegations that have come out against him.

“Your coordinated and well-funded effort to destroy my name and destroy my family will not drive me out,” he said defiantly.

Kavanaugh emphasized that he “categorically and unequivocally” denied not only all of Ford’s allegations but the circumstances around them. “I never had any sexual or physical encounter of any kind with Dr. Ford,” he said. “I never attended a gathering like the one Dr. Ford describes in her allegations. I've never sexually assaulted Dr. Ford or anyone.”

Kavanaugh’s testimony stood in stark contrast to his Ford, who over four hours never raised her voice and was consistently deferential to those questioning her.

“This has destroyed my family and my good name. A good name built up through decades of very hard work and public service at the highest levels of the American government,” Kavanaugh said.

Kavanaugh broke down in tears when he talked about his daughter proposing they pray for Ford. “We mean no ill will,” he said, before going quiet for several seconds.

Kavanaugh said he was angry with the committee for not allowing him to testify sooner to try to clear his name. “Unfortunately, it took the committee 10 days to get to this hearing. In those 10 long days, as was predictable and as I predicted, my family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false additional accusations. The 10-day delay has been harmful to me and my family, to the Supreme Court, and to the country,” he said.

—Ellie Hall and Paul McLeod

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Ford used her psychology expertise to explain her own trauma to senators

Pool / Getty Images

Ford is a professor of psychology at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Here are all times she used her scientific expertise to patiently and methodically explain her own trauma and the effects the alleged assault had on her.

—Tasneem Nashrulla

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Graham lashes out, saying Ford's allegations are a political ploy

Pool / Getty Images

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham went on a tirade against Democrats after Christine Blasey Ford finished her testimony and suggested she hadn’t done enough to dissuade him from supporting Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

A visibly angry Graham accused Democrats of using Ford, who testified under oath Thursday that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school, as part of a political plot.

“Here’s what I’m more convinced of: My friends on the other side set it up to be just the way it is. I feel ambushed,” Graham told reporters.

An animated Graham said the hearings were part of a Democratic plan to push the nomination past the midterms so that they can win the Senate and block Trump from filling the Supreme Court seat. Asked if he found Ford credible, he said he believes something happened to her but her memory had holes and her story was uncorroborated.

“That’s the facts I’m left with, a nice lady who’s come forward to tell a hard story that’s uncorroborated. [If] this is enough, God help anybody else who gets nominated,” he said.

—Paul McLeod

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High schoolers showed support for Christine Blasey Ford as she testified

For a look at Christine Blasey Ford supporters gathering on high school campuses across the country, to women demonstrating outside the hearing on Capitol Hill, go here.

—Remy Smidt

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Images from across the world show people captivated by Christine Blasey Ford's testimony

To say the hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh captivated the country is an understatement.

According to photos and tweets shared to social media on Thursday, people around the world stopped to watch the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, the first of three women who've publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

From airports to commuter trains, here are some of the images of people watching and listening in to the hearing.

Looks like I’m not the only one in an airport today still finding a way to watch today’s hearings.

Couple listening to the #KavanaughHearings on the uptown 1 train @wnyc

Read more here.

—Tanya Chen

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A woman told Sen. Lindsey Graham she was raped

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

As he got into an elevator during a break from the hearing, Sen. Lindsey Graham was approached by a woman who said she was raped, reporters from McClatchy and NBC News tweeted.

Graham told her he was “sorry,” the reporters said, and then added, “You needed to go to the cops," according to NBC News.

Robyn Swirling identified herself as the woman who approached Graham in a tweet not long after the incident. “[Graham] said he did not believe Dr. Ford because she couldn’t recall the exact date of the assault. I told him I was raped 13yrs ago but don’t know the date. So would he believe me?” she tweeted.

If @LindseyGrahamSC had paused to talk with me, instead of rushing into the elevator, I’d have told him the cops can’t do anything about it now, but that doesn’t make it any less true and doesn’t make me any less credible.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Swirling and to Graham’s office for comment.

—Sarah Mimms

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Sen. Cory Booker called Ford “heroic” for deciding to testify

Pool / Reuters

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker criticized the treatment of sexual assault survivors who choose to go public with their stories, and called Christine Blasey Ford “heroic” for deciding to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“How we deal with survivors who come forward right now is unacceptable,” Booker said. "And the way we deal with this, unfortunately, allows for the continued darkness of this culture to exist. And your brilliance, shining light onto this, speaking truth, is nothing short of heroic.”

Booker thanked Ford, who has faced harassment after her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh became public, for her “courage and bravery.”

Booker also thanked Ford for creating a space in the public conversation for survivors to share their stories, and said he had been overwhelmed by comments from people watching Ford's testimony.

“There are literally hundreds of thousands of people watching your testimony right now and note after note that I got, people in tears, feeling pain and anguish,” he said. “Not just feeling your pain, but feeling their own, who have not come forward. You are opening up to open air hurt and pain that goes on across this country.”

“You are speaking truth that this country needs to understand,” he added.

—Otillia Steadman

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“You are not on trial.”

Pool / Reuters

California Sen. Kamala Harris spent her five minutes praising Christine Blasey Ford and denouncing Republicans for not bringing in the FBI to investigate, but did not ask any questions.

“I want to thank you for your courage and I want to tell you I believe you,” said Harris.

A former prosecutor, Harris said it is well-established that sexual assault survivors almost always delay reporting, if they report their assaults at all. She also contrasted Ford’s credibility favorably to Kavanaugh’s because Ford has taken a polygraph test and called for an FBI investigation. Harris told Ford repeatedly “You are not on trial" after several Democrats compared the tone of the questions presented by the Republicans' lawyer to a criminal proceeding.

Harris ended by calling Ford “a true patriot” and saying she had nothing to gain by coming forward.

“I believe history will show you are a true profile in courage,” said Harris.

—Paul McLeod

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Ford says she “was hoping that there would be a more thorough investigation”

Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

In response to questioning from Rachel Mitchell, the attorney for Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee, Christine Blasey Ford said that she would happily cooperate with an FBI investigation.

She added that she first requested that the FBI investigate her claims against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when it looked like there would be a hearing.

“I was hoping that there would be a more thorough investigation,” Ford said.

“Would that investigation have been something that you would have submitted to an interview?” Mitchell asked.

“I would be happy to cooperate with the FBI, yes,” Ford said.

“Would you have been happy to submit to an interview by staff members from this committee?”

“Absolutely,” Ford answered.

Ellie Hall

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“Let me put an end to this mystery. Her lawyers have paid for her polygraph.”

video-player.buzzfeed.com

As Mitchell resumed her questioning after a breaking in the hearings, she resumed asking about the polygraph, specifically who paid for the test.

Before Ford could provide an answer her lawyer, Debra Katz, grabbed the microphone and said, “Let me put an end to this mystery. Her lawyers have paid for her polygraph.”

After a very brief moment Ford's other lawyer, Michael Bromwich, grabbed the microphone and said, “As is routine.”

Debra Katz grabbed the mic again and said, “As is routine.”

—Talal Ansari

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A photo shows male Republicans behind the female prosecutor speaking for them

Tom Williams / AP
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Republicans say they haven't heard any corroborating evidence yet

Sen. Lindsey Graham listens to Christine Blasey Ford.
Pool / Reuters

Sen. Lindsey Graham listens to Christine Blasey Ford.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, told reporters during a break that he hadn’t yet heard what he was looking for from Christine Blasey Ford.

“I’m looking for time and places. I'm looking for corroboration. I haven't found any yet,” Graham said.

Sen. John Cornyn, a member of Republican leadership who also sits on the committee, echoed Graham's thoughts: “The basic problem is Dr. Ford is repeating her allegations. ... And there's no corroboration,” he said.

Several reporters tweeted that Sen. Orrin Hatch, another Republican on the committee, called Ford “an attractive person” after the hearing broke for lunch. Hatch's communications director defended his boss on Twitter, saying Hatch frequently uses the term “‘attractive’ to describe personalities, not appearances.”

Sen. Ted Cruz told reporters both Ford and Kavanaugh deserved to be heard. “I think it is important that Dr. Ford be given a full and fair opportunity to tell her story. ... I think it’s also important that Judge Kavanaugh be given a full and fair opportunity to defend himself,” he said after leaving the hearing.

Other Republicans both on and off the committee declined to answer most questions from reporters about the hearing. Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, accompanied by security, didn’t take any questions as he leaving the hearing room. Sen. John Kennedy, who is also on the Judiciary Committee, made a zipping lips gesture to reporters.

Asked if he found Ford credible, Sen. John Thune, a member of Republican leadership, said that he didn’t think anyone had learned anything new so far in the hearing.

—Nidhi Prakash and Lissandra Villa

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The Republicans' lawyer honed in on Ford's fear of flying

Pool / Reuters

The closest Rachel Mitchell, the Republicans' lawyer, came to directly questioning Ford’s credibility was when she spent several minutes asking Ford about her fear of flying. Friends of Ford, who lives in Palo Alto, California, had told CNN that she was uncomfortable on planes and in other enclosed spaces, potentially making a hearing in Washington, DC, difficult. Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley later told reporters that her fear of flying was one of the reasons they were having difficulty scheduling the hearing with Ford.

Mitchell asked Ford about personal flights she had taken to places like Hawaii, and she conceded it’s easier to work up the strength to fly somewhere for a vacation than to testify before the Senate.

“I was hoping was to avoid having to get on an airplane,” Ford said.

Of course, Ford did eventually fly to Washington to testify. But that didn’t stop some critics, most notably Donald Trump Jr., from questioning her mindset. “I’m no psychology professor but it does seem weird to me that someone could have a selective fear of flying,” the president’s son tweeted.

Ford said she eventually worked up the courage to fly across the country with the help of friends. When Grassley said committee staff could have come to her home to interview her and save her the trip, Ford said that wasn’t clear to her at the time. “If you had come out to see me I would have happily hosted you,” she said.

—Paul McLeod

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Trump’s allies don’t think the Christine Blasey Ford hearing is going well for Brett Kavanaugh

Reuters

Republicans close to the White House are already skeptical how Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination can move forward after the start of an emotional Senate hearing, where Christine Blasey Ford publicly detailed her allegations about how the judge sexually assaulted her 36 years ago.

Those close to the White House, who have been supportive of Kavanaugh's nomination and have been in contact with others in Trump world, are also questioning Senate Republicans' decision to hire an outside, female prosecutor to do the questioning on their behalf. Rachel Mitchell, a veteran prosecutor, had only five-minutes to speak at a time, based on the negotiated rules for the hearing, as she questioned Blasey Ford on very specific details of her allegations.

Asked how Mitchell's questioning was going, a former White House official responded: "Horrible. It looks like a persecution. I was uncomfortable watching it, so I can't imagine how horrible it was for women to watch."

The source said that Kavanaugh will be under even more pressure to withdraw, even as he seems determined to fight the allegations. “He’s the ‘Sixth Sense’ nominee: he’s dead but he’s the only one who doesn’t know it.”

Read more here.

—Tarini Parti

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Ford on her polygraph test: “I endured it”

Pool / Reuters

Christine Blasey Ford said she “endured” the polygraph test she took to test the validity of her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during another round of questioning by prosecutor Rachel Mitchell.

“I found it extremely stressful. Much longer than I anticipated. I told my whole life story,​ it​ felt like. I endured it. It was fine,” Ford said, revealing that she took the polygraph test on the same trip on which she attended her grandmother's funeral.

“I remember a machine being placed on to my body and being asked a lot of questions and crying a lot. That's my primary memory of that test,” Ford added.

Three separate scoring algorithms prepared by the administrator of the polygraph test, who was a former FBI agent, concluded that Ford's responses were “not indicative of deception.”

“Did you pay for the polygraph yourself?” Mitchell asked at one point.

“I don't think so,” Ford replied.

“Okay. Do you know who did pay for the polygraph?” Mitchell asked.

“Not yet, no,” Ford said.

—Talal Ansari

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Ford held back tears as a senator thanked her for her bravery in coming forward

Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

Christine Blasey Ford was brought to the brink of tears as Sen. Richard Blumenthal praised her courage in coming forward with her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“I want to quote one of my colleagues, Sen. Lindsay Graham, in a book that he wrote in 2015 when he was describing his own service — and very distinguished Naval service — as a trial lawyer,” Blumenthal said. “He said, quote, of 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.’”

“If we agree on nothing else today, I hope on a bipartisan basis, we can agree on how much courage it has taken for you to come forward and I think you have earned America's gratitude,” Blumenthal added.

Ellie Hall

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Amy Klobuchar told Ford, “I actually think you remember a lot”

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Sen. Amy Klobuchar asked Ford to recall the details that she does remember from the alleged assault, saying, “Many people are focused today on what you're not able to remember about that night. I actually think you remember a lot.”

“I'm going to phrase it a little differently,” said Klobuchar. “Can you tell us what you don't forget about that night?”

Ford listed her attempt to escape and the laughter of her assailants, alongside features of the house where she says the sexual assault took place.

“The stairwell, the living room, the bedroom, the bed on the right side of the room as you walk into the room — there was a bed to the right. The bathroom in close proximity. The laughter — the uproarious laughter. And the multiple attempts to escape, and the final ability to do so,” Ford said.

—Otillia Steadman

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Sen. Bernie Sanders' office is hosting a watch party for Ford supporters on Capitol Hill

Protestors watching from Sen. Bernie Sanders office

A group of about a dozen women supporting Christine Blasey Ford is watching the hearing from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ office Thursday.

“I believe they are mostly survivors who asked to watch from our front office this morning. We welcomed them in and set up seats for them,” a spokesperson for Sanders told BuzzFeed News. “Bernie is watching from his office.”

Some of the women wore T-shirts with slogans like “Believe women.”

—Nidhi Prakash

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Ford said a sense of "civic duty" led her to come forward with her allegations

Pool / Reuters

During another round of questioning by prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, Christine Blasey Ford said she came forward, contacting reporters and her congressional representative, before Brett Kavanaugh became the nominee for Supreme Court. She also revealed that she contacted the Washington Post about her allegations because her friends suggested she submit an anonymous tip.

“So I was panicking because I knew the timeline was short for the decision, and people were giving me advice,” Ford said. “And many people told me, you need to hire a lawyer, and I didn't do that. I didn't understand why I would need a lawyer. Somebody said, ‘Call the New York Times,’ ‘call the Washington Post.’ ‘Put in an anonymous tip,’” Ford recounted.

Ultimately, Ford said she “felt like the best option was to try to do the civic route,” so she contacted her congressperson and placed an anonymous tip to the Washington Post.

“Unfortunately, neither got back to me before the selection of the nominee,” Ford said.

“You were motivated by a sense of civic duty and, frankly, a hope that some other highly qualified nominee would be picked, not out of motivation at a late stage to have an impact on the final decision?” Sen. Chris Coons asked Ford about why she made the decision to come forward with her allegations.

“Correct,” she said. “I thought it was very important to get the information directly to you, but I didn’t know how to do it while there was still a short list of candidates.”

—Talal Ansari and Mary Ann Georgantopoulos

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In a tense moment, Democrats and Republicans relitigated the FBI’s involvement in the case

Pool / Reuters

Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a former prosecutor, said Ford had met “all the standards of what I might call preliminary credibility.” This included Ford having clear recollections that are consistent with known facts, prior consistent statements, taking a lie detector test, and her willingness to testify.

Whitehouse also attacked Republicans for not having the FBI investigate Ford’s claims, as she had requested. Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley opted to have committee staff investigate the sexual harassment claims against Kavanaugh, rather than the FBI. Whitehouse said it was unprecedented for the FBI not to investigate further.

“I don’t think this has ever happened in the history of FBI background investigations. Maybe someone can prove me wrong but it’s wildly unusual and out of character,” said Whitehouse.

Grassley shot back by saying his staff took many steps to look into Ford’s allegations, including today’s hearing. “I immediately directed my staff to investigate,” Grassley said, adding that “there’s always some holes” in an FBI background investigation after the time it gets to the Senate that have to be followed up by the committee.

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar interrupted Grassley, noting that President George W. Bush had ordered the FBI to reopen its investigation into Anita Hill’s allegations that now–Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her.

“Can we hear from Dr. Ford?” Grassley asked and moved the questioning on.

—Paul McLeod

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The Republicans' prosecutor asked Ford how she got home after the party

Win Mcnamee / Getty Images

Republican prosecutor Rachel Mitchell questioned Ford at Thursday's hearing on how she got home after she left the party where she alleges the sexual assault occurred. She also asked Ford if she shared notes from her therapist with a reporter at the Washington Post.

Mitchell showed Ford maps depicting the neighborhood of her family's home and the country club where she says she was the day of the alleged assault.

Ford said she did not remember how she got home. Asked if anyone has come forward now to say that they drove her home that day, Ford said no.

Mitchell also asked Ford about her therapist's notes. Ford said she doesn't remember if she gave the records to a Washington Post reporter or if she summarized them.

Emma Brown, the Washington Post reporter, tweeted a quote from the story indicating she reviewed portions of the notes.

—Mary Ann Georgantopoulos

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Ford said she is "100%" certain that Kavanaugh was the person who assaulted her

Sen. Durbin: "I am asking you to address this new defense of mistaken identity directly. Dr. Ford, with what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?" Christine Blasey Ford: "100 percent." https://t.co/paDCdUvwTk

When asked by Sen. Dick Durbin about the two men who recently claimed responsibility for her assault to Judiciary Committee staffers, Ford said that she was "100%" certain that Kavanaugh was her assailant.

Ellie Hall

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Ford recalled “uproarious laughter” from Kavanaugh and Judge during the alleged assault

Pool / Reuters

Christine Blasey Ford said that “uproarious laughter” between Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge was what she remembered most strongly from the alleged assault by Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh.

“Indelible into the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two and having fun at my expense,” said Ford in response to questioning from Sen. Patrick Leahy.

“And you were the object of the laughter? “ Leahy asked.

“I was underneath one of them while the two laughed,” said Ford, visibly shaking. “Two friends having a really good time with one another.”

Leahy criticized the Senate’s failure to call for an FBI investigation into the multiple allegations against Kavanaugh.

“You want to reach the truth. The easy way to do that is ask the FBI to investigate. It’s what we've always done,” said Leahy.

“Chairman, you and I were both here 27 years ago. At that time the Senate failed Anita Hill,” Leahy said, addressing Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. “I said I believed her. But I'm concerned that we're doing a lot less for these three women today.”

—Otillia Steadman

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Women were reportedly huddled over their phones crying watching Ford testify against Kavanaugh

Women across the country took time out of their morning Thursday to tune into the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. They waited with bated breath to hear from Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to publicly accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

Ford opened her testimony by saying she was "terrified" to be on such a national stage. "I am here not because I want to be. I am terrified," she said.

"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."

Read more here.

—Tanya Chen

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Ford said naming Kavanaugh is "absolutely not" a case of mistaken identity

Pool / Getty Images

Facing questions from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Christine Blasey Ford said naming Brett Kavanaugh as her assailant is "absolutely not" a case of mistaken identity.

“It was Brett Kavanaugh that covered your mouth to prevent you from screaming and you escaped. How are you so sure that it was he?” Feinstein asked Ford.

“The same way I am sure that I am talking to you right now. Just basic memory functions,” she said.

When asked if this could be a case of mistaken identity, Ford said, “Absolutely not.”

Two separate men came forward to Judiciary Committee staff and claimed they had had "the encounter" with Ford rather than Kavanaugh, according to a timeline released by the committee. A popular Twitter thread, since deleted, theorized that Ford was mistaking Kavanaugh for another student who looked similar.

Ford specifically rejected that claim, and said the other student named on Twitter was, in fact, the one who introduced her to Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge.

“Some people have suggested you were mixed up,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy. “Is it possible you have mixed them up with someone else?”

“No,” said Ford. “It is not.”

Ford said she felt the “mounting pressure” from reporters to come forward with her story saying it “seemed like it was time to say what I needed to say.”

“I was calculating daily the risk benefit for me coming forward and wondering whether I would just be jumping in front of a train that was headed to where it was headed anyway and that I would just be personally annihilated.”

Ford said that she only discussed the incident in the confines of a therapy session as she saw it as an appropriate place to cope with it.

She said she’s been dealing with the consequences of the alleged sexual assault including anxiety, claustrophobia, and PTSD-like symptoms. She said she struggled in college both academically and socially.

Her claustrophobia has led to her insisting on a second front door when she and her husband remodeled their home.

—Mary Ann Georgantopoulos and Paul McLeod

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The Republicans' special counsel began questioning Ford with hyperdetailed questions

Judiciary Committee Republican special counsel Rachel Mitchell
Pool / Getty Images

Judiciary Committee Republican special counsel Rachel Mitchell

Rachel Mitchell, an Arizona sex crimes prosecutor who is asking questions on behalf of Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, began her very procedural, almost trial-like ​questioning of Christine Blasey Ford​ only to be interrupted at five-minute intervals to allow Democrats to ask their questions.

​​Mitchell began her questioning of Ford by asking her to verify WhatsApp messages between herself and a Washington Post journalist. Ford said she has misused the word "'bystander' as an adjective" when describing one of the people at the party where the alleged attack happened. ​Mitchell then​ ​asked Ford​ about ​the letter ​she originally sent Sen. Dianne Feinstein ​detailing her allegations about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

At that point Mitchell and Ford were subsequently interrupted by committee Chair Chuck Grassley, who informed Mitchell her five minutes had concluded. A confused Mitchell said she did realize her time was ending, while Ford also seem confused about the segmented questioning format that will occur throughout the hearing.

After Feinstein asked her questions, Grassley gave Sen. Hatch's five minutes of time to question Ford back to Mitchell, so that she could continue her segmented line of questioning. Mitchell used her second five-minute segment of time to ask hyperdetailed questions about the day of the alleged sexual assault, starting with who Ford expected to be at the house she attended.

Mitchell's style of questioning contrasted significantly with that of the Democrats, who are allowing their members to ask Ford questions directly, many of whom have used some of their time to express their sympathy to Ford.

—Talal Ansari

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Some people in the audience cried as Ford read her opening statement

In the audience, tears streaming down the face of Rep Carolyn Maloney D-NY as she listens to Ford

Both Republican and Democrat senators on the Judiciary Committee sat stone-faced during Ford’s emotional testimony. The room was silent but for the clicking of reporters typing and some people quietly weeping in the seats behind Ford as she spoke. Among them was Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who was photographed with tears streaming down her face as Ford described what she says happened between her, Brett Kavanaugh, and Mark Judge when they were in high school.

—Paul McLeod

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In her opening statement, Ford, seemingly on the verge of tears, recounted her story of that summer day in 1982

video-player.buzzfeed.com

"I am not here because I want to be. I am terrified," Ford said. "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."

Ford said she spent that day swimming before going to a small gathering with four boys, including Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge.

She said she walked up the stairs of the home alone to use the bathroom when she was shoved by someone into a bedroom. Ford said she then found herself alone in the room with Kavanaugh and Ford, and the boys locked the door. She said Kavanaugh pinned her down to a bed, groping her and trying to take off her clothes.

“I believed he was going to rape me,” said Ford. She said she tried to yell but Kavanaugh put his hands over her mouth. “Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack. They seemed to be having a very good time,” she said.

Ford described Judge as alternatingly encouraging Kavanaugh and telling him to back off. She said she hoped Judge would stop the attack, but he never did. But Judge did eventually jump on the bed, said Ford, sending her and Kavanaugh tumbling and giving her a chance to run out of the room. She says she ran away and hid until she heard Kavanaugh and Ford leaving the bedroom, laughing.

“For a long time I was too ashamed to tell anyone,” she said. She described convincing herself that because Kavanaugh had not raped her she should let it go. She said she told hardly anyone for many years, but years later during couples therapy she did tell her husband she had been sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh.

Paul McLeod

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Grassley began his statements by saying Ford and Kavanaugh both “have been through a terrible past few weeks”

Pool / Reuters

Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley began his opening statement by apologizing to Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh saying they both “have been through a terrible past few weeks.”

“What they have endured ought to be considered by all of us as unacceptable and a poor reflection on the state of civility on the state of democracy,” he said. “I want to apologize to you both.”

Grassley spoke for close to 20 minutes Thursday morning, decrying how the hearing came about. He said that the FBI’s six investigations into Kavanaugh’s background did not turn up a “whiff” of sexual misconduct.

He went on about how Sen. Dianne Feinstein was aware of Ford’s allegations but did not refer them to the FBI until “the eleventh hour.” Feinstein and Ford's attorneys have said they did not make her allegations public at the time because she did not want to come forward.

“I held it confidential, up to a point where the witness was willing to come forward,” Feinstein later responded during her opening statement. “And I think as I make my remarks, perhaps you'll see why — because how women are treated in the United States with this kind of concern is really wanting a lot of reform."

Feinstein also pointed out that Grassley chose not to properly introduce Ford during his statement.

“By the way, I was going to introduce her but if you want to introduce her I'll be glad to have you do that,” Grassley responded. “I want you to know I didn’t forget to do it because I would do that just as she was just about to speak.”

—Mary Ann Georgantopoulos

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Crowds gathered in support of Ford and Kavanaugh ahead of their testimony

This is the line for the overflow room in Dirksen. In wraps well around the corner.

People have begun gathering inside and outside the Dirksen Senate Office Building ahead of Thursday's hearing.

Christine Blasey Ford has arrived with friends, while her husband remained in California with their children, according to CBS.

Deborah Ramirez, the second woman to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, issued a statement of support to Ford.

"Thinking of you today, Christine," she wrote. "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."

Actor Alyssa Milano was also present in the hearing room to show support for Ford. A guest of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Milano told reporters she thinks this will be different than the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas hearing.

"I think we're standing in solidarity more than we were in 1991," Milano said.

Meanwhile, crowds have gathered at the Capitol supporting both Kavanaugh and Ford.

One group is holding signs that read "Confirm Kavanaugh," "Liberal Hypocrisy," and "Women for Kavanaugh."

Meanwhile, others in line for the overflow room were seen holding up signs that read, "I believe you." —Mary Ann Georgantopoulos

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Two men told Senate staffers they, not Brett Kavanaugh, had “the encounter” with Christine Blasey Ford

Alex Wroblewski / Reuters

Senate Judiciary Committee staff interviewed two men who said they believed that they, and not US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, had "the encounter" with the woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, according to new information released Wednesday night by the committee.

The revelation — which came on the eve of much-anticipated public testimony from Kavanaugh and the woman who has accused him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford — included few details. The committee didn't identify the men, offer details about what they said, state whether committee staff found their accounts credible, or indicate whether there would be any further follow-up.

Read more here.

—Zoe Tillman

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Trump said the Brett Kavanaugh allegations are false — but that he could still change his mind

Evan Vucci / AP

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he’s been falsely accused of sexual misconduct and so is inclined to reject the allegations from three women against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh — but, the president added, he could still change his mind.

At a rambling press conference in New York City, Trump said repeatedly the allegations by Christine Blasey Ford and two other women were false and he questioned why they waited decades to come forward. But, Trump said, if Ford’s story is true, he’d withdraw Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

“If I thought he was guilty of something like this, yeah, sure,” Trump said in response to a reporter’s question.

Read more here.

—Claudia Koerner

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Here are the statements Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford will read to senators

Alex Wroblewski / Reuters

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the college professor who alleges he sexually assaulted her in high school, released transcripts of the prepared testimony they plan to give before senators Thursday.

In his prepared testimony, Kavanaugh continues to deny all the allegations, calling them “last-minute smears” that “debase our public discourse.”

In hers, Ford says she came forward because it was her civic duty.

“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,” Ford wrote in her statement.

Read their complete testimonies here.

—Blake Montgomery

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Republicans are aggressively defending Brett Kavanaugh after a third woman accused him of sexual misconduct

Jim Bourg / Reuters

New sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh from a third woman, Julie Swetnick, threw Capitol Hill into disarray Wednesday. But Republicans are refusing to change course and still plan to vote on the nomination early next week. Several of them, including President Donald Trump, said explicitly they do not believe the new accusations.

Swetnick claimed that Kavanaugh was present when she was gang-raped at a party and that he and his friend Mark Judge would regularly spike the drinks at parties to “cause girls to lose inhibitions and their ability to say ‘no.’”

In a press conference Wednesday night, Trump said that Swetnick’s accusations — as well as those of the other two women who have come forward — are “false.”

“These are all false to me,” Trump said, when asked if he thought all three women were lying. “These are false accusations in certain cases and in certain cases even the media agrees with that. “

Republicans also expressed doubts that Swetnick would continually attend parties where gang rapes were occurring without ever contacting the police. Sen. Tom Cotton said the allegations were “not credible,” while Sen. Bill Cassidy described the new developments as “clearly a tactic to delay, hoping we’ll push [the nomination] to after the midterms.”

Read more here.

—Paul McLeod

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A third woman accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, and said he was present when she was gang-raped

Handout; Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

A third woman came forward Wednesday to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct and said in a sworn declaration that the Supreme Court nominee was present when she was gang-raped at a party in 1982.

Julie Swetnick said in the declaration, submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee, that Kavanaugh and his friends, including Mark Judge, helped spike the drinks of girls at high school house parties to “cause girls to lose inhibitions and their ability to say ‘no.’”

“I also witnessed efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh and others to cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so they could then be ‘gang raped’ in the side room or bedroom by a ‘train’ of numerous boys,” she wrote.

Read more here.

—Mary Ann Georgantopoulos

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