Sep 4, 2018
Brett Kavanaugh & Christine Blasey Ford Testimony Supreme Court Hearing Transcript
Donald Trump SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh & Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate on sexual assault allegations against Judge Kavanaugh on September 4, 2018. Read the transcript of the hearing here.
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Chuck Grassley (00:10:50):
So thank them for their volunteering to testify before we even invited. Both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh have been through a terrible couple of weeks. They and their families have received vile threats. What they have endured ought to be considered by all of us as unacceptable and a poor reflection on the state of civility in our democracy. So I want to apologize to you both for the way you’ve been treated and I intend hopefully for today’s hearing to be safe, comfortable, and dignified for both of our witnesses. I hope my colleagues will join me in this effort of a show of civility. With that said, I lament how this hearing has come about.
Chuck Grassley (00:12:28):
On July the 9th, 2018, the President announced Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to serve on the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh has served on the most important federal appellate court for 12 years. Before that he held some of the most sensitive positions in the federal government. The president added Judge Kavanaugh to his short list of Supreme Court more than nine months ago in November 2017. As part of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the FBI conducted its sixth full field background investigation of Judge Kavanaugh since 1993, 25 years ago. Nowhere in any of these six FBI reports, which committee investigators have reviewed on a bipartisan basis, was there a whiff of any issue, any issue at all, related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior.
Chuck Grassley (00:13:42):
Dr. Ford first raised her allegations in a secret letter to the ranking member nearly two months ago in July. This letter was secret from July 30th until September 13th when I first heard about it. The ranking member took no action. The letter wasn’t shared with me or colleagues or my staff. These allegations could have been investigated in a way that maintained the confidentiality that Dr. Ford requested. Before his hearing, Judge Kavanaugh met privately with 65 senators, including the ranking member, but the ranking member didn’t ask Judge Kavanaugh about the allegations when she met with him privately in August. The Senate Judiciary Committee held its four day public hearing from September 4th to September 7th. Judge Kavanaugh testified for more than 32 hours in public. We held a closed session for members to ask sensitive questions on the last evening, which the ranking member did not attend.
Chuck Grassley (00:15:02):
Judge Kavanaugh answered nearly 1300 written questions submitted by senators after the hearing, more than all prior Supreme Court nominees. Throughout this period, we did not know about the ranking members secret evidence. Then only at an 11th hour, on the eve of judge Cavanaugh’s confirmation void, did the ranking member refer the allegations to the FBI. And then sadly, the allegations were leaked to the press and that’s where Dr. Ford was mistreated. This is a shameful way to treat our witness who insisted on confidentiality, and of course, Judge Kavanaugh, who has had to address these allegations in the midst of a media circus.
Chuck Grassley (00:15:58):
When I received Dr. Ford’s letter on September the 13th, my staff and I recognized the seriousness of these allegations and immediately began our committee’s investigation consistent with the way the committee has handled such allegations in the past. Every step of the way, the Democratic side refused to participate in what should have been a bipartisan investigation. And as far as I know on all of our judgeships throughout, at least the three years, that’s been the way it’s been handled. After Dr. Ford’s identity became public, my staff contacted all the individuals she said attended the 1982 party described in the Washington Post article.
Chuck Grassley (00:16:45):
Judge Kavanaugh immediately submitted to an interview under penalty of felony for any knowingly false statements. He denied the allegations categorically. Democratic staff was invited to participate and could have asked any questions they wanted to, but they declined, which leads me then to wonder. If they’re really concerned with going to the truth, why wouldn’t you want to talk to the accused? The process and procedure is what the committee always does when we receive allegations of wrongdoing. My staff reached out to other individuals allegedly at the party, Mark Judge, Patrick Smith, Leland Kaiser. All three submitted statements to the Senate under penalty of felony denying any knowledge of the events described by Dr. Ford. Dr. Ford’s lifelong friend, Ms. Kaiser, stated she doesn’t know Judge Kavanaugh and doesn’t recall ever attending a party with him.
Chuck Grassley (00:17:50):
My staff made repeated requests to interview Dr. Ford during the past 11 days, even volunteering to fly to California to take her testimony, but her attorneys refuse to present her allegations to Congress. I nevertheless honored her request for a public hearing so Dr. Ford today has the opportunity to prevent her allegations under oath.
Chuck Grassley (00:18:18):
As you can see, the Judiciary Committee was able to conduct thorough investigations into allegations, or thoroughly investigations into allegations. Some of my colleagues consistent with our stated desires to obstruct Kavanaugh’s nomination by any means necessary, porched for FBI investigations into the allegations. But I have no authority to force the executive branch agency to conduct an investigation into a matter it considers to be closed. Moreover, once the allegations became public, it was easy to identify all the alleged witnesses and conduct our own investigations. Contrary to what the public has been led to believe, the FBI doesn’t perform any credibility assessments or verify the truth of any events in these background investigations.
Chuck Grassley (00:19:17):
I’ll call then Chairman Joe Biden during Justice Thomas’ confirmation hearing. This is what Senator Biden said. “The next person who refers to an FBI report as being worth anything, obviously doesn’t understand anything. The FBI explicitly does not in this or any other case reach a conclusion period. They say he said, she said, they said, period. So when people wave an FBI report before you, understand they do not, they do not, they do not reach conclusions. They do not make recommendations.” End of Senator Biden’s quote. The FBI provided us with the allegations. Now it’s up to the Senate to assess their credibility which brings us to this very time. I look forward to a fair and respectful hearing. That’s what we promised Dr. Ford. Some of my colleagues have complained about the fact that an expert on this side is investigating sex crimes will be questioning the witness. I see no basis for complaint other than just plain politics.
Chuck Grassley (00:20:43):
The testimony we will hear today, concerns allegations of sexual assault, very serious allegations. This is a incredibly complex and sensitive subject to discuss and it’s not an easy one to discuss. That is why the senators on this side of the dice believe an expert who has deep experience, and training, and interviewing victims of sexual assault, and investigating sexual assault allegations should be asking questions. This will be a stark contrast to the grandstanding and chaos that we saw from the other side during the previous four days in this hearing process. I can think of no one better equipped to question the witnesses than Rachel Mitchell. Ms. Mitchell is a career prosecutor, civil servant with decades of experience investigating and prosecuting sex crimes. She has dedicated her career to seeking justice for survivors of sex related felonies. Most recently, Rachel was the Division Chief of the Special Victims Division, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, which prosecutes sex crimes and family violence. Then democratic Governor Janet Napolitano previously recognized her as the Outstanding Arizona Sexual Assault Prosecutor of the Year. And she has spent years instructing prosecutors, detectives, and child protection workers on how to properly interview victims of sexual assault and abuse. With her aid, I look forward to a fair and productive hearing. I understand that there are two other public allegations. Today’s hearing was scheduled in close consultation with Dr. Ford’s attorneys and her testimony will be the subject of this hearing. We’ve been trying to investigate other allegations. At this time, we have not had cooperation from attorneys representing other clients, and they have made no attempt to substantiate their claims.
Chuck Grassley (00:22:57):
My staff has tried to secure testimony and evidence from attorneys for both Debra Ramirez and Julie Swetnick. My staff made eight requests, yes, eight requests, for evidence from attorneys, for Ms. Ramirez, and six requests for evidence for attorneys for Ms. Swetnick. Neither attorney has made their clients available for interview. The committee can’t do an investigation if attorneys are stonewalling. I hope you all understand that we have attempted to seek additional information as we do a lot of times when there are holes in what we call the BI reports.
Chuck Grassley (00:23:49):
Additionally, all the witness who should know, by when I say all the witnesses, I mean, Dr. Ford and I mean, Judge Kavanaugh, all the witness should know that they have the right under Senate rule 26.5, to ask that the committee go into a closed session if a question requires an answer that is a clear invasion of their right to privacy. If either Dr. Ford or Judge Kavanaugh feel that Senate rule 26.5 Ought to be involved, they should simply say so. Senator Feinstein.
Senator Feinstein (00:24:28):
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I’ll make just a brief comment on your references to me. Yes, I did receive a letter from Dr. Ford. It was conveyed to me by a member of Congress on an issue. The next day I called Dr. Ford. We spoke on the phone. She reiterated that she wanted this held confidential and I held it confidential up to a point where the witness was willing to come forward. 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. And I’ll get to that for a minute. But in the meantime, good morning, Dr. Ford. Thank you for coming forward and being willing to share your story with us. I know this wasn’t easy for you. But before you get to your testimony, and the Chairman chose not to do this, I think it’s important to make sure you’re properly introduced-
Chuck Grassley (00:25:39):
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. But I want you to know, I didn’t forget to do it because I would do that just as she was about to speak.
Senator Feinstein (00:25:49):
Thank you. I have to say, when I saw your CV, I was extremely impressed. You have a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, two master’s degrees, one from Stanford and one from Pepperdine, and a PhD from the University of Southern California, better known to Senator Harris and I as USC. You are a professor affiliated with both Stanford University and Palo Alto University. You have published over 65 peer reviewed articles and have received numerous awards for your work and research. And as if that were not enough, you are a wife, a mother of two sons, and a constituent from California. So I am very grateful to you for your strength and your bravery in coming forward. I know it’s hard. But before I turn it over, I want to say something about what is to be discussed today and where we are as a country.
Senator Feinstein (00:26:54):
Sexual violence is a serious problem and one that largely goes unseen. In the United States, it’s estimated by the Centers for Disease Control, one in three women, and one in six men, will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. According to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, 60% of sexual assaults go unreported. In addition, when survivors do report their assaults, it’s often years later due to the trauma they suffered and fearing their stories will not be believed. Last week, I received a letter from a 60 year old California constituent who told me that she survived an attempted rape at age 17. She described as being terrified and embarrassed. She never told a soul until much later in life. The assault stayed with her for 43 years. I think it’s important to remember these realities as we hear from Dr. Ford about her experience. There’s been a great deal of public discussion about the Me Too movement today versus the year of the woman almost 27 years ago.
Senator Feinstein (00:28:18):
But while young women are standing up and saying no more, our institutions have not progressed in how they treat women who come forward. Too often women’s memories and credibility come under assault. In essence, they are put on trial and forced to defend themselves, and often revictimized in the process. 27 years ago, I was walking through an airport when I saw a large group of people gathered around a TV to listen to Anita Hill tell her story. What I saw was an attractive woman in a blue suit before an all male Judiciary Committee, speaking of her experience of sexual harassment. She was treated badly, accused of lying, attacked, and her credibility put to the test throughout the process. Today, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has come forward to tell her story of being assaulted and fearing for her life when she was a teenager. Initially, as I said, Dr. Ford did not want to make her story public. Then within 36 hours of coming forward, Republicans scheduled a hearing without talking to her or even inviting her to testify. She was told she had to show up or the committee would move forward with a vote. It took a public outcry from the majority, excuse me, for the majority to back down and give her even a few days to come before the committee. Republicans also scheduled this hearing with Dr. Ford without having her allegations investigated by the FBI. In 1991, Anita Hill’s allegations were reviewed by the FBI, as is the normal process and squarely within its jurisdiction. However, despite repeated requests, President Trump and the Republicans have refused to take this routine step and direct the FBI to conduct an impartial investigation. This would clearly be the best way to ensure a fair process to both Judge Kavanaugh and to Dr. Ford.
Senator Feinstein (00:30:53):
In 1991, the Senate heard from 22 witnesses over three days. Today, while rejecting an FBI investigation, Republicans are refusing to hear testimony from any other witness, including Mark Judge, who Dr. Ford identified as being in the room when the attack took place. And we believe Judge should be subpoenaed so the committee can hear from him directly. Republicans have also refused to call anyone who could speak to the evidence that would support or refute Dr. Ford’s claim, and not one witness who could address credibility and character of either Ford or Kavanaugh has been called. What I find most inexcusable is this rush to judgment, the unwillingness to take these kinds of allegations at face value, and look at them for what they are, a real question of character for someone who is asking for a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court.
Senator Feinstein (00:32:11):
In 1991, Republicans belittled Professor Hill’s experience saying, and I quote, “It won’t make a bit of difference in the outcome.” And the burden of proof was on Professor Hill. Today, our Republican colleagues are saying, this is a hiccup. Dr. Ford is mixed up and declaring I’ll listen to the lady, but we’re going to this to a close. What’s worse, many of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have also made it clear that no matter what happens today, the Senate will plow right through and ensure Judge Kavanaugh would be elevated within a week. In fact, on Tuesday, the majority went ahead and scheduled a vote on the nomination before we heard one word of testimony regarding allegations of sexual assault and misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh. Republican leadership even told senators they should plan to be in over this weekend so the nomination can be pushed through without delay.
Senator Feinstein (00:33:24):
This is despite the fact that in the last few days, two more women have come forward with their own serious allegations of sexual assault involving Brett Kavanaugh. This past Sunday, we learned about Debbie Ramirez, who was a student at Yale with Brett Kavanaugh. She too did not want to come forward, but after being approached by reporters, she told her story. She was at a college party where Kavanaugh exposed himself to her. She recalls pushing him away and then seeing him laughing and pulling his pants-
PART 1 OF 18 ENDS [00:34:04]
Senator Feinstein (00:34:00):
And then seeing him laughing and pulling his pants up. Then yesterday, Judy Swetnik came forward to say that she had experiences of being at house parties with Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge. She recounted seeing Kavanaugh engage and I quote “in abusive and physically aggressive behavior toward girls,” including attempts to “remove or shift girls clothing,” not taking “no for an answer,” grabbing girls “without their consent” and targeting “particular girls so that they could be taken advantage of.” Each of these stories are troubling on their own.
Senator Feinstein (00:34:51):
And each of these allegations should be investigated by the FBI. All three women have said they would like the FBI to investigate. Please do so. All three have said they have other witnesses and evidence to corroborate their accounts, and yet Republicans continue to blindly push forward. So today, we’re moving forward with a hearing and being asked to assess the credibility of Brett Kavanaugh. He’s made several statements about how his focus was on school, basketball, service projects and going to church. He declared that he “never” drank so much he couldn’t remember what happened.
Senator Feinstein (00:35:45):
And he has “always treated women with dignity and respect.” And while he has made these declarations, more and more people have come forward challenging his characterization of events and behaviors. James Roach, his freshmen roommate at Yale, stated Kavanaugh was, and I quote again, “frequently incoherently drunk.” And that was when “he became aggressive and belligerent” when he was drunk. Liz Swisher, a friend of his from Yale, said, and I quote, “there’s no medical way I can say that he was blacked out, but it’s not credible for him to say that he has no memory lapses in the nights that he drank to excess.”
Senator Feinstein (00:36:38):
Lynn Brooks, a college classmate said the picture Kavanaugh is trying to paint doesn’t match her memories of him. And I quote, “he’s trying to paint himself as some kind of choir boy you can’t lie your way onto the Supreme Court. And with that statement out, he’s gone too far. It’s about the integrity of the institution.” Ultimately, members and ladies and gentlemen, I really think that’s the point. We’re here to decide whether to evaluate this nominee to the most prestigious court in our country. It’s about the integrity of that institution and the integrity of this institution.
Senator Feinstein (00:37:27):
The entire country is watching how we handle these allegations. I hope the majority changes their tactics, opens their mind and seriously reflect on why we are here. We are here for one reason, to determine whether Judge Kavanaugh should be elevated to one of the most powerful positions in our country. This is not a trial of Dr. Ford. It’s a job interview for Judge Kavanaugh. Is Brett Kavanaugh who we want on the most prestigious court in our country? Is he the best we can do? Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Grassley (00:38:06):
Yeah. I’m sorry you brought up about the unsubstantiated allegations of other people because we’re here for the sole purpose of listening to Dr. Ford and we’ll consider other issues other times. I would like to have you to rise so I could swear you. Do you swear that the testimony you’re about to give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?
Christine Blasey Ford (00:38:43):
Senator Grassley (00:38:44):
Thank you very much. Please be seated. And before you give your statement, I want to say that to everybody that she has asked for any time you ask for break, you get a break. Anytime there’s something that you need you don’t have, just ask us and you can have as much time for your opening statement as you want. And just generally let us know if there’s any issues. Proceed please.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:39:21):
Thank you, Senator Grassley. I think after I read my opening statement, I anticipate needing some caffeine, if that is available.
Senator Grassley (00:39:29):
Okay. Can you pull the microphone just a little bit closer to you please? Can the whole box go a little bit closer?
Speaker 2 (00:39:40):
I’m trying, Senator. No.
Senator Grassley (00:39:42):
Okay. Well then …
Christine Blasey Ford (00:39:43):
I’ll lean forward.
Senator Grassley (00:39:45):
Thank you. Thank you.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:39:46):
Okay. Is this good?
Senator Feinstein (00:39:48):
Christine Blasey Ford (00:39:49):
Okay. Thank you, Chairman Grassley and ranking member Feinstein, members of the committee. My is Christine Blasey Ford. I am a professor of psychology at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine. I won’t detail my educational background since it has already been summarized. I have been married to Russell Ford since 2002 and we have two children. 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.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:40:33):
I’ve described the events publicly before, I summarize them in my letter to ranking member Feinstein, and again, in a letter to Chairman Grassley. I understand and appreciate the importance of you’re hearing from me directly about what happened to me and the impact that it has had on my life and on my family. I grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC. I attended the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland from 1978 to 1984. Holton-Arms is an all girls school that opened in 1901. During my time at the school, girls at Holton-Arms frequently met and became friendly with boys from all boys schools in the area, including the Landon School, Georgetown Prep, Gonzaga High School, as well as our country clubs and other places where kids and families socialized. This is how I met Brett Kavanaugh, the boy who sexually assaulted me. During my freshman and sophomore school years when I was 14 and 15-years-old, my group of friends intersected with Brett and his friends for a short period of time. I had been friendly with a classmate of Brett’s for a short time during my freshman and sophomore year and it was through that connection that I attended a number of parties that Brett also attended. We did not know each other well, but I knew him and he knew me. In the summer of 1982, like most summers, I spent most every day at the Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland swimming and practicing diving.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:42:17):
One evening that summer, after a day of diving at the club, I attended a small gathering at a house in the Bethesda area. There were four boys I remember specifically being at the house, Brett Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, a boy named PJ and one other boy whose name I cannot recall. I also remember my friend Leland attending. I do not remember all of the details of how that gathering came together, but like many that summer, it was almost surely a spur of the moment gathering. I truly wish I could be more helpful with more detailed answers to all of the questions that have and will be asked about how I got to the party and where it took place and so forth.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:43:05):
I don’t have all the answers and I don’t remember as much as I would like to, but the details about that night that bring me here today are the ones I will never forget. They have been seared into my memory and have haunted me episodically as an adult. When I got to the small gathering, people were drinking beer in a small living room, family room type area on the first floor of the house. I drank one beer. Brett and Mark were visibly drunk. Early in the evening, I went up a very narrow set of stairs leading from the living room to a second floor to use the restroom.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:43:49):
When I got to the top of the stairs, I was pushed from behind into a bedroom across from the bathroom. I couldn’t see who pushed me. Brett and Mark came into the bedroom and locked the door behind them. There was music 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 into me. I yelled hoping that someone downstairs might hear me and I tried to get away from him, but his weight was heavy.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:44:34):
Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes. He had a hard time because he was very inebriated and because I was wearing a one piece bathing suit underneath my clothing. 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 yelling. This is 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.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:45:15):
They seem to be having a very good time. Mark seemed ambivalent at times, urging Brett on and at times telling him to stop. A couple of times, I made eye contact with Mark and thought he might try to help me, but he did not. During this assault, Mark came over and jumped on the bed twice while Brett was on top of me. And the last time that 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 lock the door. I waited until I heard Brett and Mark leave the bedroom laughing and loudly walked down the narrow stairway, 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, went down the same stairwell through the living room and left the house. I remember being on the street and feeling this enormous sense of relief that I escaped that house and that Brett and Mark were not coming outside 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 these details.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:46:47):
I did not want to tell my parents that I at age 15 was in a house without any parents present drinking beer with boys. I convinced myself that because Brett did not rape me, I should just move on and just pretend that it didn’t happen. Over the years, I told very, very few friends that I had this traumatic experience. I told my husband before we were married that I had experienced a sexual assault. I’d never told the details to anyone the specific details until May 2012 during a couples counseling session. The reason this came up in counseling is that my husband and I had completed a very extensive, very long remodel of our home and I insisted on a second front door, an idea that he and others disagreed with and could not understand.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:47:47):
In explaining why I wanted a second front door, I began to describe the assault in detail. I recall saying that the boy who assaulted me could someday be on the US Supreme Court and spoke a bit about his background at an elitist all boys school in Bethesda, Maryland. My husband recalls that I named my attacker as Brett Kavanaugh. After that May 2012 therapy session, I did my best to ignore the memories of the assault because recounting them caused me to relive the experience and cause panic and anxiety. Occasionally, I would discuss the assault in an individual therapy session, but talking about it caused more reliving of the trauma, so I tried not to think about it or discuss it.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:48:41):
But over the years, I went through periods where I thought about the attack. I had confided in some close friends that I had had an experience with sexual assault. Occasionally, I stated that my assailant was a prominent lawyer or judge, but I did not use his name. I do not recall each person I spoke to about Brett’s assault. And some friends have reminded me of these conversations since the publication of the Washington Post story on September 16, 2018. But until July 2018, I had never named Mr. Kavanaugh as my attacker outside of therapy.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:49:22):
This changed in early July 2018. I saw press reports stating that Brett Kavanaugh was on the short list of a list of very well qualified Supreme Court nominees. I thought it was my civic duty to relay the information I had about Mr. Kavanaugh’s conduct so that those considering his nomination would know about this assault. On July 6th, I had a sense of urgency to relay the information to the Senate and the president as soon as possible before a nominee was selected. I did not know how specifically to do this. I called my congressional representative and let her receptionist know that someone on the president’s shortlist had attacked me.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:50:11):
I also sent a message to the encrypted Washington Post confidential tip line. I did not use my name, but I provided the names of Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge. I stated that Mr. Kavanaugh had assaulted me in the 1980s in Maryland. This was an extremely hard thing for me to do, but I felt that I couldn’t not do it. Over the next two days, I told a couple of close friends on the beach in Aptos, California, that Mr. Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted me. I was very conflicted as to whether to speak out. On July 9th, I received a return phone call from the office of Congresswoman Anna Eshoo after Mr. Kavanaugh had become the nominee. I met with her staff on July 18th and with her on July 20th, describing the assault and discussing my fears about coming forward. Later, we discussed the possibility of sending a letter to ranking member Feinstein, who is one of my state senators describing what occurred. My understanding is that Representative Eshoo’s office delivered a copy of my letter to Senator Feinstein’s office on July 30th. The letter included my name, but also a request that it be kept confidential. 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 that we have faced since my name became public.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:52:02):
In a letter dated August 31st, Senator Feinstein wrote that she would not share the letter without my explicit consent and I appreciated this commitment. Sexual assault victims should be able to decide for themselves when and whether their private experience is made public. As the hearing date got closer, I struggled with a terrible choice, do I share the facts with the Senate and put myself and my family in the public spotlight or do I preserve our privacy and allow the Senate to make its decision without knowing the full truth of his past behaviors?
Christine Blasey Ford (00:52:43):
I agonized daily with this decision throughout August and September 2018. The sense of duty that originally motivated me to reach out confidentially to the Washington Post and to Anna Eshoo’s office when there was still a list of extremely qualified candidates and to Senator Feinstein was always there. But my fears of the consequences of speaking out started to exponentially increase. During August 2018, the press reported that Mr. Kavanaugh’s confirmation was virtually certain. Persons painted him as a champion of women’s rights and empowerment. And I believed that if I came forward, my single voice would be drowned out by a chorus of powerful supporters. By the time of the confirmation hearings, I had resigned myself to remaining quiet and letting the committee and the Senate make their decision without knowing what Mr. Kavanaugh had done to me. Once the press started reporting on the existence of the letter I had sent to Senator Feinstein, I faced mounting pressure. Reporters appeared at my home and at my workplace demanding information about the letter in the presence of my graduate students.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:54:11):
They called my bosses and coworkers and left me many messages, making it clear that my name would inevitably be released to the media. I decided to speak out publicly to a journalist who had originally responded to the tip I had sent to the Washington Post and who had gained my trust. It was important for me to describe the details of the assault in my own words. Since September 16th, the date of the Washington Post story, I have experienced an outpouring of support from people in every state of this country. Thousands and thousands of people who have had their lives dramatically altered by sexual violence have reached out to share their experience and have thanked me for coming forward. We have received tremendous support from our friends and our community. At the same time, my greatest fears have been realized, and the reality has been far worse than what I expected. My family and I have been the target of constant harassment and death threats and I’ve been called the most vile and hateful names imaginable. These messages while far fewer than the expressions of support have been terrifying and have rocked me to my core. People have posted my personal information and that of my parents online on the internet. This has resulted in additional emails, calls and threats.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:55:42):
My family and I were forced to move out of our home. Since September 16th, my family and I have been visiting in various secure locales at time separated and at times together with the help of security guards. This past Tuesday evening, my work email was hacked and messages were sent out trying to recant my description of the sexual assault. Apart from the assault itself, these past couple of weeks have been the hardest of my life. I’ve had to relive this trauma in front of the world, and I’ve seen my life picked apart by people on television, on Twitter, other social media, other media, and in this body who have never met me or spoken with me.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:56:32):
I have been accused of acting out of partisan political motives. Those who say that do not know me. I am an independent person and I am no one’s pawn. My motivation in coming forward was to be helpful and to provide facts about how Mr. Kavanaugh’s actions have damaged my life so that you could take into a serious consideration as you make your decision about how to proceed. It is not my responsibility to determine whether Mr. Kavanaugh deserves to sit on the Supreme Court. My responsibility is to tell you the truth. I understand that a professional prosecutor has been hired to ask me questions and I’m committed to doing my very best to answer them.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:57:21):
I have never been questioned by a prosecutor and I will do my best. At the same time because the committee members will be judging my credibility, I do hope to be able to engage directly with each of you. And at this point, I will do my best to answer your questions and would request some caffeine.
Speaker 2 (00:57:42):
A Coke or something?
Christine Blasey Ford (00:57:43):
That sounds good. That’ll be great. Thank you.
Senator Grassley (00:57:47):
Thank you very much. Before I use my five minutes of questioning, I thought that I’d tried to remind my colleagues, and in this case, Ms. Mitchell as well, that the five minutes, the way I traditionally have done. If you ask a question before your time runs out, and even though you go over your time, as long as you aren’t filibustering, I’ll let you ask your question. And I’m going to make sure that both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh as chairman of the committee, I’m know that they’re going to get a chance to answer the questions fully beyond that five minutes.
Senator Grassley (00:58:40):
But either Dr. Ford or Judge Kavanaugh gets done, then we immediately go to the next person. So I hope that that will be done. And Dr. Ford, I’m told that you want to break right now. And if you do, that’s fine.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:59:00):
I’m okay. I got the coffee. Thank you very much. I think I can proceed and sip on the coffee.
Senator Grassley (00:59:05):
Nobody can mix up my coffee right, so you’re pretty fortunate. So now with that, Ms. Mitchell, you have my five minutes to ask questions.
Rachel Mitchell (00:59:24):
Good morning, Dr. Ford. We haven’t met. My name is Rachel Mitchell.
Christine Blasey Ford (00:59:29):
Nice to meet you.
Rachel Mitchell (00:59:30):
I just wanted to tell you the first thing that struck me from your statement this morning was that you were terrified. And I just wanted to let you know, I’m very sorry. That’s not right. I know this is stressful. And so I would like to set forth some guidelines that maybe will alleviate that a little bit. If I ask you a question that you don’t understand, please ask me to clarify it or ask it in a different way. When I ask questions, sometimes I’ll refer back to other information you provided. If I do that and I get it wrong, please correct me.
Christine Blasey Ford (01:00:09):
Rachel Mitchell (01:00:11):
I’m not going to ask you to guess. I know it was a long time ago. If you do estimate, please let me know that you’re estimating. Okay?
Christine Blasey Ford (01:00:19):
Rachel Mitchell (01:00:19):
Okay. We’ve put before you, and I’m sure you have copies of them anyway, five pieces of information, and I wanted to go over them. The first is a screenshot of a WhatsApp texting between you and somebody at the Washington Post. Do you have that in front of you?
Christine Blasey Ford (01:00:40):
Rachel Mitchell (01:00:42):
The first texts were sent by you on July 6th. Is that correct?
Christine Blasey Ford (01:00:47):
Rachel Mitchell (01:00:47):
And then the last one sent by you was on July 10th?
Christine Blasey Ford (01:00:50):
Rachel Mitchell (01:00:51):
Okay. Are those three comments accurate?
Christine Blasey Ford (01:00:57):
I will read them. Yes.
Speaker 2 (01:00:59):
Take your time.
Christine Blasey Ford (01:01:04):
So there’s one correction.
Rachel Mitchell (01:01:07):
Christine Blasey Ford (01:01:08):
I’ve misused the word bystander as an adjective.
Rachel Mitchell (01:01:14):
Christine Blasey Ford (01:01:16):
Bystander means someone that is looking at an assault and the person named PJ was not technically a bystander. I was writing very quickly with a sense of urgency. So I would not call him a bystander. He was downstairs and what I remember of him was he was a tall and very nice person. I didn’t know him well, but that he was downstairs, not anywhere near the event.
Rachel Mitchell (01:01:41):
Okay. Thank you.
Christine Blasey Ford (01:01:42):
I’d like to take that word out if it’s possible.
Rachel Mitchell (01:01:45):
Okay. Thank you for clarifying that. The second is the letter that you wrote to Senator Feinstein dated July 30th of this year.
Christine Blasey Ford (01:01:55):
Rachel Mitchell (01:01:56):
Did you write the letter yourself?
Christine Blasey Ford (01:01:57):
Rachel Mitchell (01:01:58):
And since it’s dated July 30th, did you write it on that date?
Christine Blasey Ford (01:02:06):
I believe so. It sounds right. I was in Rehoboth, Delaware at the time. I could look into my calendar and try to figure that out.
Rachel Mitchell (01:02:16):
Was it written on or about that day?
Christine Blasey Ford (01:02:18):
Yes. I had traveled, I think, the 26th of July to Rehoboth, Delaware, so that makes sense because I wrote it from there.
Rachel Mitchell (01:02:25):
Okay. Is the letter accurate?
Christine Blasey Ford (01:02:28):
I’ll take a minute to read it. I can read fast.
Speaker 2 (01:02:30):
Take your time.
Christine Blasey Ford (01:03:35):
Okay. So I have three areas that I’d like to address.
Rachel Mitchell (01:03:40):
Christine Blasey Ford (01:03:40):
In second paragraph where it says the assault occurred in a suburban Maryland area home …
Rachel Mitchell (01:03:49):
Christine Blasey Ford (01:03:51):
… At a gathering that included me and four others, I can’t guarantee that there weren’t a few other people there, but they are not in my purview of my memory.
Rachel Mitchell (01:04:03):
Would it be fair to say there were at least four others?
Christine Blasey Ford (01:04:05):
Rachel Mitchell (01:04:06):
Okay. What’s the second correction?
Christine Blasey Ford (01:04:10):
Okay. The next sentence begins with Kavanaugh Physically pushed me into the bedroom. I would say I can’t promise that Mark Judge didn’t assist with that. I don’t know. I was pushed from behind, so I don’t want to put that solely on him.
Rachel Mitchell (01:04:25):
Christine Blasey Ford (01:04:26):
Senator Grassley (01:04:27):
Ms. Mitchell, I don’t know whether this is fair for me to interrupt, but I want to keep people within five minutes. Is that a major problem for you in the middle of a question? Because I’ve got to treat everybody the same.
Rachel Mitchell (01:04:40):
I understand that.
Senator Grassley (01:04:41):
Can I go to Senator Feinstein? Are you …
Rachel Mitchell (01:04:45):
Yes, sir. I’m sorry. I didn’t see the light was red. Please do.
Senator Grassley (01:04:48):
Christine Blasey Ford (01:04:50):
I didn’t get to …
Speaker 2 (01:04:52):
So we’re going to come back to that when she comes back [inaudible 01:04:54].
Christine Blasey Ford (01:04:54):
I see. Okay.
Speaker 2 (01:04:56):
Speaker 3 (01:04:56):
Christine Blasey Ford (01:04:57):
Speaker 2 (01:04:59):
Senator Grassley (01:05:05):
For the benefit of Dr. Ford, I think she’ll continue that after the five minutes here.
Christine Blasey Ford (01:05:10):
Thank you. Okay.
Senator Feinstein (01:05:11):
Mr. Chairman, I’d like to begin by putting some letters in the record.
Senator Grassley (01:05:15):
Without objection. So ordered.
Senator Feinstein (01:05:17):
Senator Grassley (01:05:17):
You want to tell me.
Senator Feinstein (01:05:19):
140 letters from friends and neighbors of the witness and a thousand female physicians across the country. Those are what the letters are.
Christine Blasey Ford (01:05:31):
Look at this.
Senator Feinstein (01:05:34):
I want to thank you very much for your testimony. I know how very, very hard it is. Why have you held it to yourself all these years? As you look back, can you indicate what the reasons are?
Christine Blasey Ford (01:05:55):
Well, I haven’t held it in all these years. I did disclose it in the confines of therapy where I felt like it was inappropriate place to cope with the sequela of the event.
Senator Feinstein (01:06:08):
Can you tell us what impact the event’s had on you?
Christine Blasey Ford (01:06:14):
Well, I think that the sequela of sexual assault varies by person. So for me personally, anxiety, phobia, and PTSD-like symptoms are the types of things that I’ve been coping with. So more specifically, claustrophobia, panic and that type of thing.
Senator Feinstein (01:06:34):
Is that the reason for the second door, front door?
Christine Blasey Ford (01:06:37):
Senator Feinstein (01:06:37):
Christine Blasey Ford (01:06:39):
Correct. Our house does not look aesthetically pleasing from the curb.
Senator Feinstein (01:06:45):
I see. And do you have that second front door?
Christine Blasey Ford (01:06:47):
Senator Feinstein (01:06:47):
Christine Blasey Ford (01:06:49):
And it now is a place to host Google interns because we live near Google, so we get to have and other students can live.
Senator Feinstein (01:06:56):
Can you tell us? Is there any other way this has affected your life?
Christine Blasey Ford (01:07:03):
The primary impact was in the initial four years after the event. I struggled academically. I struggled very much in Chapel Hill in college. When I was 17 and went off to college, I had a very hard time, more so than others, forming new friendships and especially friendships with boys and I had academic problems.
Senator Feinstein (01:07:40):
When we spoke and it became very clear how deeply you felt about this and the need that you wanted to remain confidential, can you talk a little bit about that?
Christine Blasey Ford (01:07:56):
Yes. So I was watching carefully throughout the summer. Well, my original intent, I just want to remind-
PART 2 OF 18 ENDS [01:08:04]
Christine Ford (01:08:00):
… summer. Well, my original intent, I just want to remind was to communicate with everyone when there was still a list of candidates who all seem to be, just from my perspective, from what I could read, equally qualified. And I was in a hurry to try to get the information forward, but didn’t quite know how to do that. However, once he was selected, and it seemed like he was popular, and was a sure vote, I was calculating daily the risk benefit for me of 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.
Speaker 4 (01:08:44):
How did you decide to come forward?
Christine Ford (01:08:47):
Ultimately, because reporters were sitting outside of my home, and trying to talk to my dog through the window to calm the dog down, and a reporter appeared in my graduate classroom, and I mistook her for a student, and she came up to ask me a question, and I thought that she was a student, and it turned out that she was a reporter. So at that point, I felt like enough was enough. People were calling my colleagues at Stanford and leaving messages on their voicemails and on their emails saying that they knew my name. Clearly, people knew my address, because they were out in front of my house. And it just… the mounting pressure, it seemed like it was time to just say what I needed to say.
Speaker 4 (01:09:35):
I’m sorry. I want to ask you one question about the attack itself. You were very clear about the attack, being pushed into the room. You say you don’t know quite by whom, but that it was Brett Kavanaugh that covered your mouth to prevent you from screaming, and then you escaped. How are you so sure that it was he?
Christine Ford (01:10:09):
The same way that I’m sure that I’m talking to you right now, just basic memory functions. And also just the level of norepinephrine and epinephrin in the brain that sort of, as you know, encodes that neurotransmitter, encodes memories into the hippocampus. And so the trauma- related experience then is kind of locked there, whereas other details kind of drift.
Speaker 4 (01:10:35):
So what you are telling us is this could not be a case of mistaken identity.
Christine Ford (01:10:40):
Speaker 4 (01:10:43):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Grassley (01:10:45):
Ms. Mitchell for Senator Hatch.
Rachel Mitchell (01:10:52):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. When we were stopped, you were going to tell us a third correction that you wanted to make on the letter to Senator Feinstein.
Christine Ford (01:11:06):
It wasn’t a correction, but I just wanted to comment on it since we were looking at this letter that I did see Mark Judge once at the Potomac Village Safeway after the time of the attack. And it would be helpful with anyone’s resources to figure out when he worked there, if people are wanting more details from me about when the attack occurred. If we could find out when he worked there, then I could provide a more detailed timeline as to when the attack occurred.
Rachel Mitchell (01:11:37):
Okay. So that is not a correction in your statement?
Christine Ford (01:11:41):
Rachel Mitchell (01:11:41):
Okay. You also wrote out a handwritten statement for the polygrapher when you took your polygraph test, is that correct?
Christine Ford (01:11:53):
Rachel Mitchell (01:11:54):
Okay. And I see corrections on that, where you crossed out. So I will go on to the Washington Post article that was originally published on September 16th of this year.
Christine Ford (01:12:08):
And should I just not look at this for accuracy, or we’re just going to leave that be?
Rachel Mitchell (01:12:12):
We may come back to it if we need to refer to it. On the Washington Post article, do you submit to an interview by a reporter with the Washington Post for that article to be written?
Christine Ford (01:12:28):
Rachel Mitchell (01:12:28):
Okay. And then finally, was the statement that you provided this morning, I assume that to the best of your recollection, that that was accurate?
Christine Ford (01:12:40):
That this whole article is accurate?
Rachel Mitchell (01:12:42):
No, no, no. The statement that you made this morning?
Christine Ford (01:12:44):
Rachel Mitchell (01:12:45):
Okay. I want to talk to you about the day that this happened, leading up to the gathering.
Christine Ford (01:12:53):
Rachel Mitchell (01:12:54):
In your statement this morning, have you told us everything that you remember about the day leading up to that?
Christine Ford (01:13:02):
Rachel Mitchell (01:13:02):
Let me ask just a few questions to make sure that you’ve thought of everything, okay? You indicated that you were at the country club swimming that day?
Christine Ford (01:13:16):
That’s my best estimate of how this could have happened.
Rachel Mitchell (01:13:20):
Okay. And when you say best estimate, is that based on the fact that you said you went there pretty much every day?
Christine Ford (01:13:27):
Rachel Mitchell (01:13:27):
Is that a yes?
Christine Ford (01:13:27):
Rachel Mitchell (01:13:28):
Okay. Do you recall prior to getting there, so I’m only talking about up to the gathering. Had you had anything to drink?
Christine Ford (01:13:39):
Not at all.
Rachel Mitchell (01:13:39):
Okay. Were you on any sort of medication?
Christine Ford (01:13:42):
Rachel Mitchell (01:13:43):
Okay. Do you recall knowing before you went who was going to be at that gathering?
Christine Ford (01:13:51):
I recall expecting that Mark Judge and Leland would be at that gathering.
Rachel Mitchell (01:14:00):
Okay. Do you recall an expectation that Brett Kavanaugh would be there?
Christine Ford (01:14:04):
I don’t recall whether or not I expected that.
Rachel Mitchell (01:14:07):
Okay. Now let’s talk about the gathering from the time you arrived, till right when you went up the stairs. Just that period of time, okay? What was the atmosphere like at the gathering?
Christine Ford (01:14:28):
Mr. Kavanaugh and Mr. Judge were extremely inebriated. They had clearly been drinking prior, and the other people at the party were not. The living room was-
Rachel Mitchell (01:14:39):
Can I ask you just a follow-up on that? When you said it was clear that they had been drinking prior, do you mean prior to the time you had gotten there, or prior to the time they had arrived?
Christine Ford (01:14:49):
Prior to the time that they arrived. I don’t recall who arrived first though, whether it was me, or them.
Rachel Mitchell (01:14:55):
Okay. Please continue.
Christine Ford (01:14:57):
Okay. I can sketch a floor plan. I recall that it was a sparsely furnished, fairly modest living room. And it was not really a party like the news has made it sound. It was not, it was just a gathering that I assumed was going to lead to a party later on that those boys would attend, because they tended to have parties later at night then I was allowed to stay out. So it was kind of a pre- gathering.
Rachel Mitchell (01:15:31):
Was it loud?
Christine Ford (01:15:33):
No. Not in the living room.
Rachel Mitchell (01:15:36):
Besides the music that you’ve described that was playing in the bedroom, was there any other music, or television, or anything like that that was adding?
Christine Ford (01:15:47):
Rachel Mitchell (01:15:48):
Okay. So there wasn’t a stereo playing downstairs?
Christine Ford (01:15:51):
Rachel Mitchell (01:15:52):
Patrick Leahy (01:15:53):
Senator Lady, Dr. Ford, thank you for being here, Mr. Chairman, the way make this inquiry truly credible, it’s to do what we’ve always done when new information about a nominee comes to light. To use your words this morning, you want to reach the truth. The easy way to that, ask the FBI to investigate. It’s what we’ve always done. Let them investigate, report back to us, the same applies to the serious allegations made by Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick. Let’s have a nonpartisan professional investigation, and then take the time to have these witnesses testify. Chairman, you and I were both here at 27 years ago. At that time, the Senate failed Anita Hill. I said, I believed her. But I’m concerned that we’re doing a lot less for these three women today. That’s my personal view. Now Dr. Ford, no matter what happens with this hearing today, no matter what happens with this nomination, I know, and I hear from so many in my own state of Vermont, there are millions of victims and survivors out there who’ve been inspired by your courage. I am.
Patrick Leahy (01:17:15):
Bravery is contagious. Indeed that’s the driving force behind the Me Too movement. And you sharing your story is going to have a lasting, positive impact on so many survivors in our country. We owe you a debt of gratitude for that doctor. Now, some senators have suggested you were simply mixed up about who assaulted you. An ally of Judge Kavanaugh in the White House even promoted a wild theory about a Kavanaugh lookalike. You immediately rejected that theory, as did the innocent man who had been called that lookalike. In fact, he sent a letter to this committee forcefully rejecting this absurd theory, and I ask consent to enter that in the record.
Senator Grassley (01:18:07):
Without objection, so ordered.
Patrick Leahy (01:18:11):
Now, how did you know Brett Kavanaugh, and Mark Judge? And is it possible that you would mix them up with somebody else?
Christine Ford (01:18:19):
No it is not. And the person that was blamed for the incident is actually the person who introduced me to them originally. So he was a member of Columbia Country Club, and I don’t want it to talk about him, because I think it’s unfair, but he is the person that introduced me to them.
Patrick Leahy (01:18:38):
But you would not mix up somebody else with Brett Kavanaugh. Is that correct?
Christine Ford (01:18:43):
Patrick Leahy (01:18:44):
Or Mark Judge.
Christine Ford (01:18:46):
Patrick Leahy (01:18:49):
Well then let’s go back to the incident. What is the strongest memory you have? The strongest memory of the incident, something that you cannot forget, take whatever time you need.
Christine Ford (01:19:05):
Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.
Patrick Leahy (01:19:22):
You’ve never forgotten that laughter, you’ve never forgotten them laughing at you.
Christine Ford (01:19:29):
They were laughing with each other.
Patrick Leahy (01:19:30):
And you were the object of the laughter?
Christine Ford (01:19:36):
I was underneath one of them that while the two laughed, two friends having a really good time with one another.
Patrick Leahy (01:19:48):
Let me enter into the record, a statement by the National Task Force to End Domestic Violence.
Senator Grassley (01:19:57):
Without objection, so ordered.
Patrick Leahy (01:19:59):
A letter from 24 members of the House of Representatives urging the committee to use the NTS trauma informed approach in questioning Dr. Ford. And the letter from another 116 members of the House, asking to delay it until all this has been heard.
Senator Grassley (01:20:18):
Without objection, so ordered.
Patrick Leahy (01:20:21):
And Dr. Ford has at times been criticized what she doesn’t remember from 36 years ago. But we have numerous experts, including a study by the US Army Military Police School Behavior Sciences Education that lapses of memory are wholly consistent with severe trauma and stress of assault, and I’d ask consent that that be entered.
Senator Grassley (01:20:46):
Without objection, so ordered.
Patrick Leahy (01:20:48):
And Dr. Ford, I’d just conclude with this. You do remember what happened, do you not?
Christine Ford (01:20:54):
Very much so.
Patrick Leahy (01:20:57):
Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Grassley (01:20:58):
Now, Ms. Mitchell for Senator Graham. And then it’s my understanding that that’s where you’d like to take a break.
Christine Ford (01:21:08):
Does that work for you? Does that work for you as well?
Senator Grassley (01:21:12):
We’re here to accommodate you, not you accommodate us.
Christine Ford (01:21:13):
Oh, thank you. I’m used to being collegial.
Senator Grassley (01:21:17):
Okay, go ahead, Ms. Mitchell for Senator Graham.
Rachel Mitchell (01:21:22):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You told Senator Feinstein in your letter that you and four others were present. You’ve corrected that today to say it was at least four others. When you were interviewed by the Washington Post, you said that there were four boys present at the party. And then in your polygraph statement, you say there were four boys and two girls. When you say two girls, was that you and another, or was that two other girls?
Christine Ford (01:21:54):
That was me and one other girl.
Rachel Mitchell (01:21:56):
And that other girl’s name?
Christine Ford (01:21:58):
Rachel Mitchell (01:22:00):
Leland Kaiser now?
Christine Ford (01:22:02):
Rachel Mitchell (01:22:02):
Okay. So then would it be fair to say at least PJ, Brett Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, Leland Ingram at the time, and yourself were present, and possibly others?
Christine Ford (01:22:18):
And one other boy. So there were four boys. I just don’t know the name of the other boy.
Rachel Mitchell (01:22:24):
Have you been contacted by anybody saying, “Hey, I was at that party too.”
Christine Ford (01:22:30):
No, I haven’t talked with anyone from that party.
Rachel Mitchell (01:22:33):
Okay. Now, you’ve been detailed about what happened once you got up the stairs. And so I don’t need to go through that again. I’m sorry, go ahead.
Christine Ford (01:22:49):
I’m sorry. I just realized that I said something that was inaccurate. I said I hadn’t spoken with anyone from the party since that, I’ve spoken with Leland.
Rachel Mitchell (01:22:57):
Okay. Thank you for correcting that. I appreciate that.
Christine Ford (01:23:00):
Rachel Mitchell (01:23:00):
You’ve gone into detail about what happened once you went up the stairs, so I don’t feel like it’s necessary to go over those things again.
Christine Ford (01:23:07):
Okay. Thank you.
Rachel Mitchell (01:23:09):
Okay. Have you told us everything that you do remember about it?
Christine Ford (01:23:16):
I believe so, but if there are other questions, I can attempt to answer them.
Rachel Mitchell (01:23:20):
Okay. You said that the music was solely coming from that room, is that correct?
Christine Ford (01:23:27):
Rachel Mitchell (01:23:27):
Okay. And it was turned up once the three of you were inside that room, is that correct?
Christine Ford (01:23:33):
Rachel Mitchell (01:23:34):
Okay. At some point, do you recall it being turned down?
Christine Ford (01:23:40):
I don’t remember if it was turned down once I was leaving the house, I don’t remember.
Rachel Mitchell (01:23:44):
Christine Ford (01:23:45):
Likely, since I could hear them walking down the stairs very clearly from the bathroom.
Rachel Mitchell (01:23:50):
Okay. And the bathroom door was closed when you heard this, is that correct?
Christine Ford (01:23:54):
I could hear them very clearly hitting the walls going down the stairwell.
Rachel Mitchell (01:23:59):
In fact, in your letter, you said that they went down the stairs and they were talking with other people in the house.
Christine Ford (01:24:07):
Rachel Mitchell (01:24:08):
Were you able to hear that conversation?
Christine Ford (01:24:10):
I was not able to hear that conversation, but I was aware that they were downstairs, and that I would have to walk past them to get out of the house.
Rachel Mitchell (01:24:18):
Okay. Now let me make sure we’re on the same page. Were you not able to hear the conversation, or not able to understand the conversation?
Christine Ford (01:24:27):
I couldn’t hear the conversation. I was upstairs.
Rachel Mitchell (01:24:29):
Okay. How do you know there was a conversation?
Christine Ford (01:24:33):
I’m just assuming since it was a social gathering, people were talking. I don’t know.
Rachel Mitchell (01:24:37):
Okay. In your letter-
Christine Ford (01:24:39):
I could hear them talking as they went down the stairwell, they were laughing.
Rachel Mitchell (01:24:43):
Okay. In your letter, you wrote, “Both loudly stumbled down the stairwell, at which point other persons at the house were talking with them.” Does that ring a bell?
Christine Ford (01:24:54):
Yes. I had to walk past everyone to leave the house.
Rachel Mitchell (01:25:01):
In your letter-
Christine Ford (01:25:01):
Maybe I’m not understanding, I’m sorry.
Rachel Mitchell (01:25:03):
Okay. Your next sentence, let me try to clarify this. After you said, “Other persons at the house were talking with them,” the letter goes on with the very next sentence, “I exited the bathroom, ran outside of the house and went home.”
Christine Ford (01:25:16):
Rachel Mitchell (01:25:17):
Okay. You said that you do not remember how you got home. Is that correct?
Christine Ford (01:25:27):
I do not remember.
Rachel Mitchell (01:25:28):
Christine Ford (01:25:29):
Other than I did not drive home.
Rachel Mitchell (01:25:30):
Okay. I’m going to show you if somebody could provide to you a map of the various people’s houses at the time. And if you could verify that this is where you were living at the time.
Christine Ford (01:25:44):
Where I was living at the time?
Rachel Mitchell (01:25:46):
Christine Ford (01:25:52):
Senator Harris (01:25:52):
Mr. Chairman, do we have a copy of these documents?
Senator Grassley (01:25:59):
You do not have a copy, but if you want one, we can get you one.
Senator Harris (01:26:00):
Yes, before the questions begin so we can follow the testimony.
Senator Grassley (01:26:04):
Okay. My staff said that we should not provide the copy.
Speaker 5 (01:26:07):
Nope, we will provide the copy. We will provide the copies.
Senator Grassley (01:26:11):
Well, speak plainly with me, please.
Senator Harris (01:26:15):
Sure. I’d like to see she’s looking at.
Senator Grassley (01:26:21):
You have another 30 seconds now because I was rudely interrupted.
Rachel Mitchell (01:26:27):
Mr. Chairman, Senator Harris, we do have a blown up copy of this for the members to view if that’s helpful.
Christine Ford (01:26:35):
Okay. I’m going to put check marks next to homes that I can confirm are the correct locations. And then an X or a question mark when I don’t know where these people live.
Rachel Mitchell (01:26:46):
I’m only asking you to confirm if that map accurately shows where you were living at the time.
Christine Ford (01:26:51):
Where I lived at the time. So I can’t see the street name, but I’m happy to refer to the address or the neighborhood.
Rachel Mitchell (01:26:57):
Okay. Could you tell us that?
Christine Ford (01:26:58):
Yes. It’s River Falls.
Rachel Mitchell (01:27:00):
Christine Ford (01:27:01):
It’s near the… what is the place called? The Naval Research Center on Clara Barton Parkway.
Rachel Mitchell (01:27:11):
Okay. Was that a house, or an apartment?
Christine Ford (01:27:12):
It was my parents’ home.
Rachel Mitchell (01:27:15):
Okay. Yeah. All right.
Senator Grassley (01:27:18):
Senator Durbin (01:27:19):
Mr. Chairman, I ask consent to enter into the record letters of support for Dr. Ford from her classmates at Holton Arms School, 1,200 alumni of the school, 195 of your colleagues, students and mentors, 1,400 women and men who attended DC schools, and 50 members of the Yale Law School faculty who are calling for a full FBI investigation. I ask consent to enter these into the record.
Senator Grassley (01:27:43):
Without objection, so ordered.
Senator Durbin (01:27:45):
Dr. Ford, as difficult as this experience must be, I want you to know that your courage in coming forward has given countless Americans the strength to face their own life shattering past, and to begin to heal their wounds. By example, you have brought many families into an honest, and sometimes painful dialogue that should have occurred a long time ago. I’m sorry for what this has done to you and your family. No one, no one should face harassment, death threats, and disparaging comments by cheap shot politicians simply for telling the truth. But you and your family should know that for every scurrilous charge and every pathetic tweet, there have been thousands of Americans, women and men, who believe you, support you, and thank you for your courage. Watching your experience, it’s no wonder that many sexual assault survivors hide their past and spend their lives suffering in pained silence. You had absolutely nothing to gain by bringing these facts to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senator Durbin (01:28:45):
The fact that you are testifying here today, terrified though you may be, the fact that you have called for an FBI investigation of this incident, the fact that you were prepared to name both Judge Kavanaugh and eyewitness Mark Judge stands in sharp contrast to the obstruction we’ve seen on the other side. The FBI should have investigated your charges as they did in the Anita Hill hearing, but they did not. Mark Judge should be subpoenaed from his Bethany Beach hideaway, and required to testify under oath, but he has not. Judge Kavanaugh, if he truly believes there’s no evidence, no witnesses that can prove your case, should be joining us in demanding a thorough FBI investigation, but he has not. Today, you come before this committee and before this nation alone. I know you’re joined by counsel and family. The prosecutor on the Republican side will continue to ask questions to test your memory and veracity. After spending decades trying to forget that awful night, it’s no wonder your recollection is less than perfect.
Senator Durbin (01:29:57):
A polished liar can create a seamless story, but a trauma survivor cannot be expected to remember every painful detail. That’s what Senator Leahy has mentioned earlier. One question is critical, in Judge Kavanaugh’s opening testimony, which we will hear after you leave, this is what he says. “I never had any sexual or physical encounter of any kind with Dr. Ford. I am not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person, in some place, at some time.” Last night, the Republican staff of this committee released to the media timeline that shows that they’ve interviewed two people who claim they were the ones who actually assaulted you. I’m 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 Ford (01:30:55):
Senator Durbin (01:30:56):
100%. in the letter which you sent to Senator Feinstein, You wrote, “I have not knowingly seen Kavanaugh since the assault. I did see Mark Judge once at the Potomac Village Safeway, where he was extremely uncomfortable in seeing me.” Would you please describe that encounter at the Safeway with Mark Judge, and what led you to believe he was uncomfortable?
Christine Ford (01:31:20):
Yes. I was going to the Potomac Village Safeway. This was the one on the corner of Falls and River road. And I was with my mother, and I was a teenager, so I wanted her to go in one door and me go in the other. So I chose the wrong door, because the door I chose was the one where Mark Judge was. It looked like he was working there, and arranging the shopping carts. And I said hello to him. And his face was white, and very uncomfortable saying hello back. And we had previously been friendly at the times that we saw each other over the previous two years. Albeit, not very many times, we had always been friendly with one another. I wouldn’t characterize him as not friendly. He was just nervous and not really wanting to speak with me. And he looked a little bit ill.
Senator Durbin (01:32:23):
How long did this occur after the incident?
Christine Ford (01:32:26):
I would estimate six to eight weeks.
Senator Durbin (01:32:31):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Grassley (01:32:32):
Before we take a break, I can’t let what Senator Durbin said, by the way, he’s my friend. We work on a lot of legislation together, but you talked about the obstruction from the other side. I cannot let it go by, what you’ve heard me say so many times that between July 30th and September 13th, there were 45 days this committee could have been investigating this situation, and her privacy would have been protected. So something happened here in between, on your side that the whole country, well, not the whole country should have known about it, no, not know about, we should have investigated it. But we’ll take a break now for 15 minutes.
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford there, speaking with her lawyer, Michael Bromwich after about one hour of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Said at the top, it would be consequential, said at the top it would be dramatic. Also incredibly emotional, unlike any Senate testimony in my memory. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, with about a half hour opening statement there saying she was terrified to come before the country, but she felt it was her duty, and saying she, as we just saw in that questioning from Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat, number two Democrat in the Senate saying she is 100% sure that it was Brett Kavanaugh that physically assaulted her back when she was in high school 37 years ago. Cokie Roberts here at the desk, we know people are watching this all across the country. As this began, I got a text from a friend saying she looks like every woman you know.
Cokie Roberts (01:34:04):
She indeed does. She is someone who is completely recognizable to everybody in the country. We know women just like her, and she certainly doesn’t seem to be somebody with an agenda as she is putting herself in this very difficult position. It’s a very odd hearing. And the difference between the Democrats and Republicans has been very striking. But her persona, I think has come off so far as highly credible.
The president said he would be watching.
Cecilia Vega (01:34:35):
And they are, he will be on Air Force One. I think he is right now. We know that the White House, that televisions are already glued to this. Everything is on the line for this administration right now. They need this Supreme Court confirmation. We heard the president yesterday out there trying to make his case. He said he’s keeping an open mind, he could hear things that are believable from her today. I don’t know how you argue against what you’ve heard so far.
Sunny Hostin, you’ve you’ve prosecuted these sex crimes. I mean, one of the interesting things about Dr. Ford’s testimony is the detail, she does remember, and how she explains why she remembers what she remembers. You say that’s quite common.
Sunny Hostin (01:35:13):
It’s quite common, because she is a psychologist. She’s a clinical psychologist. I’ve worked with them throughout my career. And the way she is describing the trauma is very credible and very accurate, given the job that she has, the career that she has had. I will tell you, in Maryland, there is no statute of limitations for attempted rape. And I think I said this to all of you during the examination here, I would take this case to trial. I mean, I’ve examined hundreds of witnesses on the witness stand. She is extremely credible. She is extremely detailed-oriented. There are little things about what she has said, like the fact that she has two front doors. You can’t make that stuff up. It is so unusual, that sort of detail. It makes her testimony extremely credible. And the fact also that she said, “I am terrified to be here. I don’t want to be here, but I feel that this is my civic duty.” I found her to be one of the most credible witnesses I think I’ve seen.
So far. Dan Abrams, you said coming in, this is all about her.
Dan Abrams (01:36:11):
Yeah. And I think so far, this has been an unmitigated disaster for Kavanaugh, both procedurally and substantively. First on the procedural side, you have Rachel Mitchell, this attorney, clearly trying to point out inconsistencies in her account.
Or lay the groundwork for pointing out inconsistencies later.
Dan Abrams (01:36:27):
Correct. But that’s the problem, is that in this kind of proceeding, laying groundwork doesn’t work. You have her laying groundwork, followed by punches from Democrats, where they help support the witness’s credibility. And then more of these sort of detailed questions, which in a typical trial, you would say, “Okay, we’re going to get a chance. We’re going to get a closing argument here.” But each one of the Democrats is getting to make a closing argument at each stop. And so it’s a real problem for Republicans, and I wonder whether they’re going to at this break, start rethinking how they have to move forward here. Are they going to change strategy and say, “You know what? Some of us have to be able to get in and speak.” And then you’ve got the substantive side of it, which is, so far, again, her demeanor as a witness, she comes across credibly. And if that’s going to fail, you’re going to need someone to undermine her credibility, and to point out inconsistencies.
Let’s go to our team on Capitol Hill, David Muir and Mary Bruce are there. That’s what it looks like on TV from up here in New York. David, how about the room?
David Muir (01:37:32):
You know George, I have to say it is unmistakable here how clunky it is the transition between the Republicans on this committee to the Democrats. You’ve talked about Rachel Mitchell there, who’s been brought in by the Republicans so that they would not have to question Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, or Brett Kavanaugh when he appears before us here later today. But that transition back and forth has been bumpy, if you will. But what has not been bumpy is sort of the temperature and tone in that room from the woman who is answering the questions, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Obviously up to the American people at home to make up their own minds about the veracity of what she’s saying. But she has been very consistent, George. She said, “I am here, not because I want to be, I am terrified.” She said the details of that night, I will never forget, as she choked up reading her opening statement.
David Muir (01:38:22):
And then in the questioning that followed, she said, could this be a case of mistaken identity? No was her answer. Is it possible you mixed them up? No. Was her answer? She was just asked by Senator Durbin about the possibility of this being mistaken identity. She said to this question, what degree of certainty was this Brett Kavanaugh, her answer, 100%. And I have to say, George, as Americans, and this has become so political obviously, these allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, as they decide whether or not they believe what they hear today, there is the other major issue in this country in this era of Me Too, in that moment with Senator Patrick Leahy, he looked at her and said, “There are millions of people across this country who are victims of sexual abuse, sexual assault, for whom you have become a hero up here today. They respect you for coming forward with nothing to gain.”
David Muir (01:39:09):
And George, you could see her as she picked up that cup of coffee that she had asked for, she was visibly moved. That was the first moment in the room when her efforts were applauded for representing people around this country whose voices haven’t been heard.
That is one of the big cases the Democrats are trying to make. Mary Bruce, also up on Capitol Hill. You cover it every single day. We know who the most important audience is here, just a few senators haven’t already made up their minds, but you could also see in that room, people visibly tearing up during the testimony.
Mary Bruce (01:39:40):
Incredibly emotional in this room. And we are just getting the first reaction from lawmakers here. I’m standing just down the hall from the hearing, and we just saw all of the members of the committee file by, go into a room here right next to me, and Republican Chairman Grassley, when asked if he finds Dr. Ford’s testimony to be credible, said, “I know we have to take her very seriously.” He later told one of our producers, John Parkinson, that he feels that her testimony is something they need to sleep on. Remember, this committee right now is scheduled to have a vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination tomorrow morning. And George, Republicans here are really trying to walk a fine line. We have heard members of the committee reiterating over and over again that they need to hear Dr. Ford’s testimony. That it’s important to hear her side of the story, yet we’ve also seen Republican leaders here in the Senate, and of course the president himself coming out in recent days, rallying behind Judge Kavanaugh. Republicans in many ways, trying to walk a fine line and have this both ways.
Mary Bruce (01:40:36):
And so much of this today comes down to perception, to how lawmakers will define whether they do find Christine Blosey Ford’s testimony to be credible. In fact, I asked one of the Republican members of this committee that exact question yesterday, Republican John Kennedy. And he told me that’s like asking him to define the Holy Spirit, that it simply will come down to just a feeling. George.
It will be a feeling, it reminds of the old Potter Stewart thing, obscenity is something you know when you see it. I want to bring in Jon Karl as well, picking up the point that Dan Abrams was making about the performance so far, at least the job the prosecutor was given to do to today, our colleague at the white house, John Santucci reporting that a source close to President Trump says that the prosecutor not being as effective as they hoped.
Jonathan Karl (01:41:15):
Well, I mean, how could she be? She’s in doing these five minute increments, every time she starts to get going, she gets interrupted for the Democrats to go. It does not seem to be an effective strategy. But George, there’s a big question, it seems to me that’s raised here in the first part of this hearing, which is, what about Mark Judge? We know we’re going to hear from Brett Kavanaugh after this testimony is over, but Mark Judge, as the other person in that room, clearly is relevant to this, the committee has decided not to subpoena him, not to have him testify.
It does seem like the Democrats have picked up, and working that hard, basically laying the groundwork for how could you possibly have a vote without talking to Mark Judge?
Jonathan Karl (01:42:01):
How can you go ahead, how can you go ahead? I mean, after watching this…
PART 3 OF 18 ENDS [01:42:04]
Terry Moran (01:42:01):
How can you go ahead? After watching this testimony, how can you move ahead with a vote so quickly? But Mark judge is relevant, not only because he was, according to Christine Blasey Ford, in the room and a participant in all of this, but also her very specific memory of approaching him at that Safeway. These are all questions that, it seems to me, would need to be followed up on before this committee can charge ahead with a vote.
Terry Moran, you’ve covered so many of these Senate hearings confirming Supreme Court justices. Of course, the closest thing we’ve ever seen is Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill back in 1991. But this is a very different kind of hearing facing a very different country.
Terry Moran (01:42:47):
A very different country, George. That’s it exactly. And Republicans are in a terrible, terrible bind because of where they are.
Terry Moran (01:42:54):
Look, Brett Kavanaugh is their guy. They feel that he has been unfairly maligned. They are raising what they think is the dirty process that Democrats use to get this allegation out. As people have noted, Christine Blasey Ford did not want to become a public figure. Somebody probably on the Democratic side leaked it so that their political interests could overweigh her personal interests. But in order to make their case that Kavanaugh’s innocent, not only did they need him to make a very persuasive case, they have to somehow undermine this witness: Christine Blasey Ford. I mean, that’s just an… And I’m also thinking of eight other people watching this right now. The justices of the Supreme Court, Washington is hushed right now. You go around, people are looking at their phones, the hallways are empty. In the chambers of the Supreme Court, I guarantee you they’re watching this.
Terry Moran (01:43:43):
They know Brett Kavanaugh. He is a member of the judicial community here in Washington. And at the end of the day, they’re all institutionalists. I’m reminded during the Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas dispute people said, “Who should get the benefit of the doubt, the accuser or the accused?” And Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia, who was going to vote for Clarence Thomas, stood up on the Senate floor and he said, let’s give the benefit of the doubt to the court. And he voted against him.
Voted no. Senator Feinstein said at the outset, “This is not a trial, this is a job interview for elevation to the highest court in land.” So much is going to turn, as we’ve said, on the credibility of Dr. Ford and the details as she lays out her testimony. I want to go back to one moment where she talks about why she remembers what is the most indelible memory of that moment, where she says she was assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh.
Mr. Leahy (01:44:30):
Well, then let’s go back to the incident. What is the strongest memory you have? Strongest memory of the incident. Something that you cannot forget. Take whatever time you need.
Christine Ford (01:44:46):
Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.
Mr. Leahy (01:45:04):
You’ve never forgotten that laughter. You’ve never forgotten them laughing at you.
Christine Ford (01:45:10):
They were laughing with each other.
Mr. Leahy (01:45:15):
And you were the object of the laughter.
Christine Ford (01:45:17):
I was underneath one of them, while the two laughed. Two friends having a really good time with one another.
Speaker 6 (01:45:31):
[inaudible 01:45:31] No cutaway. Camera.
Mary Bruce (01:45:32):
George, just a remarkable moment. And it gets to such a difference between reading her statement and actually hearing her saying it herself, these words coming out of Ford’s own mouth. And it’s part of the reason I think that the emotion in the room is running so incredibly high. One of the other really unusual things about this hearing today is of course the setting it’s a much smaller room, much smaller amount of the public is there. Reporters, of course, are being limited from being in the room. And we each only have, I believe, one reporter actually are in the room. And also the reaction of the members of the committee, themselves. Normally in a hearing, you have members of a committee chatting amongst themselves, coming in and out of the room. Our reporter Tricia Turner in the room says you could hear a pin drop. They all are riveted by her testimony, listening intently. And remember, many of these members of the committee… These are mothers and fathers. They obviously are bringing their own personal experience to consuming this testimony, to digesting all of this, as well.
Christine Ford (01:46:28):
Cokie Roberts, that idea of being laughed at.
Cokie Roberts (01:46:30):
Laughed at. Boys laughing at you while you were in dire stress, is just something that so many women in this country are just going to say, “Oh my God,” because we’ve all experienced it. And there’s not a woman who hasn’t. And so for that to be the thing that is just stuck in her brain: they were having fun and she was scared to death.
Stuck in her brain, indelible in the hippocampus. So we’re seeing the psychologist in her.
Speaker 7 (01:46:58):
Again, we’re seeing the psychologist in her. One thing I’d like to go back to is this notion that this prosecutor is not doing a great job for the Republicans. The problem here is, I’m sure she is extremely skilled, but she’s going at this without the benefit of this investigation that generally prosecutors have. You work with a detective, you work with an FBI agent. So all the groundwork that she has to lay, would have been laid already.
Although, this gets to the question that Dan was asking earlier about what were her marching orders from the Republicans.
Speaker 7 (01:47:25):
It seems to me watching from the outside, I’m not aware, but watching it from the outside, she seems like someone who is taking a deposition. That was laying the groundwork for testimony to come. Now, maybe it’s all building up to some big gotcha moment at the end, but we haven’t seen it yet.
Again, we need to distinguish, this is not a legal proceeding. It is a political proceeding and the Democrats so far are treating it like a political proceeding. And you have Rachel Mitchell going through methodically, as a good prosecutor would.
Speaker 7 (01:47:53):
Yeah, and kindly.
Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with the way she’s doing it. It’s just for this kind of proceeding, it just doesn’t quite work. Also to have to stop every five minutes as she’s asking questions. And you’re right, we’ll see at the end if there’s some grand closing argument, where they say here’s the list of inconsistencies… [Crosstalk 01:48:12]
Speaker 7 (01:48:12):
[crosstalk 01:48:12] Unfortunately…
…because I’m already starting to count the ones that she’s trying to hit on.
Speaker 7 (01:48:15):
Unfortunately, Dan, she’s in the position of conducting an investigation and an examination at the very same time. It’s just not what we do as prosecutors. She’s in a space, unfortunately for her, that she’s just not used to.
Cecilia, this is looking ahead a little bit, but we know that when President Trump saw Brett Kavanaugh on Fox, he didn’t think it was a strong enough… [crosstalk 01:48:34]
Cecilia Vega (01:48:34):
[crosstalk 01:48:34] Right.
…performance. We saw what he said yesterday, about why women come forward, generally, in his own experience. It might be difficult to hold onto that line after today.
Cecilia Vega (01:48:44):
Well, and I keep going back to that very controversial tweet from Friday where the president said, “If this happened, why weren’t charges filed 35, 36 years ago?”
“Why didn’t your loving parents come out?”
Cecilia Vega (01:48:56):
“Why didn’t your loving parents come out?” And this prompted more than 800,000 people on Twitter, tweeting the hashtag, “why I didn’t report.” And you hear her story that is so similar to victims and survivors that we have all heard from. And frankly, that we all know. She was 15 years old, and as you said, she built two doors in her house. These are very credible details at this point, this is going to be… You talk about the political argument, Dan. This is going to be impossible to argue against. I don’t know how they do this tomorrow, on Monday, whenever that vote happens. When we wait to hear from president Trump, if in fact he tweets, what will this first tweet be? It can’t possibly, politically, be against Christine Blasey Ford.
Cokie Roberts (01:49:36):
Also what he said in that press conference yesterday is that, “Women do this for a variety of reasons, fame or money.” [crosstalk 01:49:44]
[crosstalk 01:49:44] “Fame or money.”
Cokie Roberts (01:49:44):
And you look at this woman and do you think she’s doing this for fame or money?
But let’s take one step back. And let’s say for a moment that Brett Kavanaugh does come across also as credible, right?
As Justice Thomas did.
That’s right. So let’s say that that everyone walks out of Dr. Ford’s testimony and we agree she’s a credible witness, she has said things in the right way, the substance fits, et cetera. What happens then if Brett Kavanaugh also performs well?
The answer to that is going to depend on the Republican senators in the room. Right now, we just saw Mike Crapo of Idaho talking to Jeff Flake of Arizona. Of course, Flake has not yet said how he’s going to vote. David Muir, you’ve also heard some reaction from Senator Grassley’s office?
David Muir (01:50:25):
Yeah, Chairman Chuck Grassley, himself, in fact, George and leaving the room was asked, “Do you find her credible?” He actually told reporters, “We need to take her very seriously,” were his words. Later he told her own John Parkinson that they will need to sleep on all of this. That was his reaction coming out. The faces of some of the other Republicans leaving the room for this short break, solemn. Rather stone-faced. And you have to wonder, George, about some of the other Republicans on this committee. I know they made a calculation to bring in Rachel Mitchell out of Arizona to do the questioning for them. So there wouldn’t be a repeat of Anita Hill, 27 years ago. But many of the senators, although some were here, many of them were not here. Ben Sasse, Jeff Flake. And we’ve seen the photographs from Trish Turner, our reporter in the room, where they’re leaning forward in their seats, their hands to their faces, intently, listening to Christine Blasey Ford, in this calculation that they wouldn’t ask the questions themselves in this moment to show that they too have sensitivity and compassion and do want to hear from this witness.
David Muir (01:51:23):
And when you hear from Chuck Grassley, who now says himself, “We need to sleep on this. We need to take this woman seriously.” I wonder if they will be looking back at this discussion of a miscalculation and not allowing some of these senators to show that they do understand this moment we’re in.
And if he’s saying just an hour into her testimony that they’re going to have to sleep on it… This was just a tentative scheduling of the vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee for tomorrow. Again, we’re only an hour into it. Still many more questions for Dr. Blasey Ford. Of course, Brett Kavanaugh is going to have the chance to make his statement and get questioned as well. But it does seem a little more than an hour in, heading into two hours after the opening statements, that it’s going to be difficult to go forward, Cecilia Vega, with that vote so, so quickly and before we even heard from the White House as well.
Cecilia Vega (01:52:06):
Yeah. And George, we’re just getting some word in from our team on the ground that the president was indeed watching the hearing on Air Force One. Of course, he’s coming back from New York, back to the White House. The press secretary, Sarah Sanders, came back to the press cabin during the flight to say that the president had been watching a little bit of delay, according to the pool that’s traveling with the president. He’s watching on Fox News, but we’re also hearing that he’s not spoken to Kavanaugh today. So a bit of an interesting turn of [crosstalk 01:52:31]
[crosstalk 01:52:31] Unlikely that he would necessarily speak to Kavanaugh today. Cokie, we’re hearing the gavel right now. Let’s go back to Senator Grassley.
Chuck Grassley (01:52:48):
Dr. Ford, let me ask you a process question here. We were going to schedule a break for 12:05, this last break came just a little bit later. I didn’t call it at the right time. We’re going to have a vote at 12:40. So would it be possible for you to go from now until 12:40 without a break? Okay.
Christine Ford (01:53:09):
Chuck Grassley (01:53:10):
Yeah. Okay. Now it is Senator Cornyn’s time. So proceed Ms. Mitchell.
Rachel Mitchell (01:53:17):
Thank you, Senator. I have a blow up here to my right of the map that was shown to you. The address that’s indicated on here as belonging to your family is what all the property tax records showed as being your address.
Christine Ford (01:53:33):
Rachel Mitchell (01:53:34):
Just to put it in perspective, I’d like to show you a further zoomed out picture so that we can put it in perspective.
Christine Ford (01:53:41):
Rachel Mitchell (01:53:46):
So we can show the greater Washington area. Of course, you can see the beltway on that, the beltway area.
Christine Ford (01:53:52):
Rachel Mitchell (01:53:54):
Then number three, if we could look at that, we drew a one-mile radius around the country club, and then we calculated from the…
Speaker 8 (01:54:03):
Mr. Chairman. Again, we don’t have these documents.
Speaker 9 (01:54:06):
Speaker 8 (01:54:09):
No, we’re not. That’s why she showed three different documents because they depict three different things. So we’d like to see all three documents please, so we can follow along.
Chuck Grassley (01:54:19):
Rachel Mitchell (01:54:20):
Okay. Looking at number… The third thing here. We calculated the distance from the closest point to your house from a mile radius of the country club. And then the farthest point, you can see it’s 6.2 and, of course, 8.2 miles. And you’ve described this as being near the country club, wherever this house was. Is that right?
I would describe it as somewhere between my house and the country club, in that vicinity that’s shown in your picture. And the country club is about a 20 minute drive from my parents’ home,
Rachel Mitchell (01:55:00):
A 20 minute drive. And of course I’ve marked as the crow flies.
Christine Ford (01:55:05):
Rachel Mitchell (01:55:05):
Would it be fair to say that somebody drove you somewhere, either to the party or home from the party?
Christine Ford (01:55:13):
Rachel Mitchell (01:55:14):
Okay. Has anyone come forward to say to you, “Hey, remember I was the one that drove you home?”
Christine Ford (01:55:20):
Rachel Mitchell (01:55:20):
Okay. In your July 6th texts to the Washington Post that you looked at earlier, you said that this happened in the mid- eighties. In your letter to Senator Feinstein, you said it occurred in the early eighties in your polygraph statement, you said it was a high school summer in eighties, and you actually had written in, and this is one of the corrections I referred to early, and then you cross that out. Later in your interview with the Washington Post, you were more specific. You believed it occurred in the summer of 1982. And you said the end of your sophomore year.
Christine Ford (01:55:57):
Rachel Mitchell (01:55:59):
You said the same thing, I believe, in your prepared statement. How were you able to narrow down the timeframe?
Christine Ford (01:56:06):
I can’t give the exact date and I would like to be more helpful about the date. And if I knew when Mark Judge worked at the Potomac Safeway, then I would be able to be more helpful in that way. So I’m just using memories of when I got my driver’s license, I was 15 at the time and I did not drive home from that party or to that party. And once I did have my driver’s license, I liked to drive myself.
Rachel Mitchell (01:56:35):
I assume the legal driving age was 16.
Christine Ford (01:56:38):
Rachel Mitchell (01:56:38):
Okay. Now you’ve talked about attending therapy in your text to the Washington post dated 7/06, so that’s the very first we have from you, you put in there, quote, have therapy records talking about it. I want to make sure I understand that. Did you already have your therapy records at that time?
Christine Ford (01:57:05):
I had looked at them online to see if they existed. Yes.
Rachel Mitchell (01:57:11):
Okay. So this was something that was available to you via a computer, like a patient portal?
Christine Ford (01:57:17):
Actually, no. I was in the office of a provider.
Rachel Mitchell (01:57:21):
Christine Ford (01:57:22):
She helped me go through the record to locate whether I had record of this conversation that I had remembered.
Rachel Mitchell (01:57:30):
Did you show a full or partial set of those marriage therapy records to the Washington Post?
Christine Ford (01:57:39):
I don’t remember. I remember summarizing for her what they said, so I’m not quite sure if I actually gave her the record.
Rachel Mitchell (01:57:48):
Okay. So it’s possible that the reporter did not see these notes.
Christine Ford (01:57:58):
I can’t recall whether she saw them directly or if I just told her what they said.
Rachel Mitchell (01:58:05):
Okay. Have you shown them to anyone else besides your counsel?
Christine Ford (01:58:10):
Just the council.
Rachel Mitchell (01:58:12):
Okay. Would it be fair to say that Brett Kavanaugh’s name is not listed in those notes?
Christine Ford (01:58:17):
His name is not listed in those notes.
Rachel Mitchell (01:58:19):
Would it also be fair to say that the therapist knows that we’ve been talking about say that there were four boys in the room?
Christine Ford (01:58:28):
It describes the sexual assault and it says erroneously by four boys. So the therapist got the content of it wrong.
Rachel Mitchell (01:58:39):
And you corrected that to the Washington Post reporter, correct?
Christine Ford (01:58:42):
Chuck Grassley (01:58:44):
Senator Whitehouse (01:58:46):
Thank you, Chairman. Thank you, Dr. Blasey Ford. A lot of people are proud of you today. From a prosecutor’s eye view, one of the hardest things that we have to do is to speak to somebody who’s come forward with an allegation of sexual assault and let them know that we can’t provide the evidence to go forward to trial. It’s a hard day for the prosecutor to do that. And so, both because making a sincere and thorough investigative effort is such an important consolation to the victim in that circumstance, and because it’s what you’re obliged to do professionally. Sincere and thorough investigation is critical to these claims in a prosecutor’s world. It may be the most basic thing that we owe a victim or a witness coming forward is to make sure that we give them a thorough and sincere investigation.
Senator Whitehouse (01:59:53):
You have met all of the standards of what I might call preliminary credibility with your initial statement. You have vivid, specific and detailed recollections. Something prosecutors look for. Your recollections are consistent with known facts. You made prior, consistent statements, something else prosecutors and lawyers look for. You were willing to and did take a lie detector test. And you were willing to testify here. Here you are, subject to professional cross examination by a prosecutor. So you’ve met any condition any prosecutor could expect to go forward. And yet there has been no sincere or thorough investigation of your claims. You specifically asked for an FBI investigation. Did you not?
Speaker 10 (02:00:54):
You have to say something. Just say, “Yes.”
Christine Ford (02:00:58):
Senator Whitehouse (02:00:59):
And are you aware that when the FBI begins investigating, they might find corroborative evidence and they might find exculpatory evidence?
Christine Ford (02:01:09):
I don’t know what exculpatory evidence is.
Senator Whitehouse (02:01:12):
Not helpful to your recollection and version of events, helpful to the accused.
Christine Ford (02:01:18):
Senator Whitehouse (02:01:20):
So it could go either way.
Christine Ford (02:01:22):
Senator Whitehouse (02:01:23):
And you were still not just willing but insistent that the FBI should investigate your recollection and your claim.
Christine Ford (02:01:33):
Yes, I feel like I could be more helpful if that was the case in providing some of the details that maybe people are wanting to know about.
Senator Whitehouse (02:01:44):
And as we know, they didn’t. And I submit that never, never in the history of background investigations has an investigation not been pursued when new, credible, derogatory information was brought forward about the nominee or the candidate. I don’t think this has ever happened in the history of FBI background investigations. Maybe somebody can prove me wrong, but it’s wildly unusual and out of character. And in my view, it is a grave disservice to you. And I want to take this moment to apologize to you for that and to report to anybody who might be listening, that when somebody is willing to come forward, even under those circumstances, even having been not given the modicum of courtesy and support of a proper investigation, you’ve shown yourself particularly proud in doing that.
Senator Whitehouse (02:02:48):
And the responsibility for the decision to have this be, I think, the only background investigation in history to be stopped as derogatory information came forward, belongs with 13 men: the president, Director Wray of the FBI, and the 11 members of the majority of this committee. As to the committee’s investigation, the fact that Mr. Kavanaugh’s alleged accomplice has not been subpoenaed, has not been examined and cross examined under oath, has not been interviewed by the FBI, tells you all you need to know about how credible this performance is. The very bare minimum that a person who comes forward is owed is sincere and thorough investigation. And you’ve been denied that, and I will make a personal pledge to you here that however long it takes, in whatever forum I can do it, whenever it’s possible, I will do whatever’s in my power to make sure that your claims get a full and proper investigation. And not just this. Thank you for being here.
Christine Ford (02:03:54):
Chuck Grassley (02:03:57):
Since this issue’s come up so many times, I’d like to comment.
Chuck Grassley (02:04:04):
The New Yorker published an anonymous account of allegations September the 14th, two days later, Dr. Ford identified herself as a victim in a Post article detailing her allegations. I immediately directed my staff to investigate. September the 17th, Dr. Ford’s counsel went on several television shows requesting that our client have an opportunity to tell her story. The same day I scheduled a hearing for Monday, September the 24th, giving Dr. Ford a week to prepare her testimony and come to Washington DC. On September the 17th committee, investigative staff reached out to Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh to schedule followup interviews with Republican and Democrat investigators. Judge Kavanaugh accepted the opportunity to speak to the investigators under criminal penalty. Dr. Ford declined. In his interview on September the 17th, Judge Kavanaugh denied the allegations and requested a hearing as soon as possible. Democratic staff refused to participate in that interview.
Chuck Grassley (02:05:12):
The next day, September the 18th, committee investigative staff contacted Mark Judge requesting an interview. Committee staff also learned the identity of two other alleged party goers and requested interviews. Mark Judge submitted a statement under penalty of felony denying knowledge of the party described by Dr. Ford and states that he never saw Brett in the manner described by Dr. Ford. [Crosstalk 00:23:37].
Some stations may be leaving us now for local news. For our live coverage of the Judge Kavanaugh confirmation hearing.
Chuck Grassley (02:05:40):
And I can go on and on about that, but we got to realize that what we have in this case, all the time you go through a background investigation by the FBI, then it comes to us and there’s always some holes in it that we have to follow up on. And besides…
Senator Klobuchar (02:05:58):
Chuck Grassley (02:05:59):
We’re responding to Dr. Ford’s request to tell her story. That’s why we’re here. [crosstalk 02:06:05]
Senator Klobuchar (02:06:04):
Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman.
Chuck Grassley (02:06:06):
Ms. Mitchell go for Senator… [crosstalk 02:06:08]
Senator Klobuchar (02:06:08):
Mr. Chairman, I just want to point out that to support what Senator Whitehouse said in the Anita Hill case… [crosstalk 02:06:14]
Speaker 11 (02:06:14):
Can we hear from Dr. Ford?
Senator Klobuchar (02:06:16):
George Bush ordered that the investigation be opened again.
Chuck Grassley (02:06:20):
Ms. Mitchell, will you proceed for Senator Lee?
Rachel Mitchell (02:06:25):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Dr. Ford, the Washington Post reported in their September 16th article that you did show them therapist’s notes. Is that incorrect?
Christine Ford (02:06:43):
I don’t remember physically showing her a note.
Rachel Mitchell (02:06:46):
Christine Ford (02:06:47):
Perhaps my counsel did. I don’t remember physically showing her my copy of the note.
Rachel Mitchell (02:06:52):
Christine Ford (02:06:53):
But I just don’t remember. I’m sorry. I have retrieved a physical copy of those medical records.
Rachel Mitchell (02:07:01):
Okay. Thank you. You also attended individual therapy. Did you show any of those notes to the reporter from the Washington Post?
Christine Ford (02:07:13):
Again, I don’t remember if I showed her something that I summarized or if I just spoke about it or if she saw it in my counsel’s office. I don’t know for sure, but I certainly spoke with her about the 2013 record with the individual therapist.
Rachel Mitchell (02:07:30):
And Brett Kavanaugh’s name is not in those notes. Is that correct?
Christine Ford (02:07:34):
Rachel Mitchell (02:07:34):
Okay. In reading the Washington Post article, it mentions that this incident that we’re here about contributed to anxiety and PTSD problems with which you have struggled. The word “contributed”, does that mean that there are other things that have happened that have also contributed to anxiety and PTSD?
Christine Ford (02:08:00):
I think that’s a great question. I think the etiology of anxiety and PTSD is multifactorial. So that was certainly a critical risk… That we would call it a risk factor in science. So that would be a predictor of the symptoms that I now have. It doesn’t mean that other things that have happened in my life would make it worse or better. There are other risk factors as well.
Rachel Mitchell (02:08:29):
So have there been other things then that have contributed to the anxiety and PTSD that you suffered?
Christine Ford (02:08:36):
Well, I think there’s sort of biological predispositions that everyone in here has for particular disorders. So I can’t rule out that I would have some biological predisposition to be an anxious type person?
Rachel Mitchell (02:08:50):
What about environmental?
Christine Ford (02:08:52):
Environmentally not that I can think of.
Rachel Mitchell (02:08:58):
Christine Ford (02:08:59):
Certainly nothing as striking as that event.
Rachel Mitchell (02:09:02):
Okay. In your interview with the Washington Post, you said that you told your husband early in your marriage that you had been a victim of, and I quote, physical abuse. In your statement, you said that before you were married, you told him that you had experienced a sexual assault. Do these two things refer to the same incident?
Christine Ford (02:09:24):
Rachel Mitchell (02:09:25):
And at either point on these two times, did you use any names?
Christine Ford (02:09:32):
Rachel Mitchell (02:09:33):
Okay. May I ask Dr. Ford, how did you get to Washington?
Christine Ford (02:09:40):
In an airplane.
Rachel Mitchell (02:09:41):
Okay. I asked that because it’s been reported by the press that you would not submit to an interview with the committee because of your fear of flying. Is that true?
Christine Ford (02:09:54):
Well, I was willing, I was hoping that they would come to me, but then I realized that was an unrealistic request.
Rachel Mitchell (02:10:00):
It would have been a quicker trip for me.
Christine Ford (02:10:04):
Yes. So that was certainly what I was hoping, was to avoid having to get on an airplane, but I eventually was able to get up the gumption with the help of some friends and get on the plane.
Rachel Mitchell (02:10:18):
When you were here in the mid-Atlantic area, back in August, end of July, August. How did you get here?
Christine Ford (02:10:29):
Also by airplane. I come here once a year during the summer to visit my family.
Rachel Mitchell (02:10:33):
Christine Ford (02:10:33):
I’m sorry, not here, I go to Delaware.
Rachel Mitchell (02:10:36):
Okay. In fact, you fly fairly frequently for your hobbies and you’ve had to fly for your work. Is that true?
Christine Ford (02:10:45):
Rachel Mitchell (02:10:48):
You were a consulting biostatistician in Sydney, Australia. Is that right?
Christine Ford (02:10:53):
I’ve never been to Australia, but the company that I worked for is based in Australia and they have an office in San Francisco, California.
Rachel Mitchell (02:11:00):
Christine Ford (02:11:00):
I don’t think I’ll make it to Australia.
Rachel Mitchell (02:11:04):
It is long. I also saw on your CV that you list the following interest of surf travel and you in parentheses put Hawaii Costa Rica, South Pacific Islands and French Polynesia. Have you been all to those places?
Christine Ford (02:11:18):
Rachel Mitchell (02:11:19):
Christine Ford (02:11:20):
Rachel Mitchell (02:11:21):
And your interests also include oceanography, a Hawaiian and Tahitian culture. Did you travel by air as a part of those interests?
Christine Ford (02:11:30):
Rachel Mitchell (02:11:32):
Thank you very much.
Christine Ford (02:11:32):
Easier for me to travel going that direction when it’s a vacation.
Senator Klobuchar (02:11:39):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for being here, Dr. Ford. In my old job as a prosecutor, we investigated reports like this. So it gave me a window on the types of cases that hurt women and hurt all of us. And I would always tell the women that came before us, that they were going to have to tell their story before a jury box of strangers. And you’ve had to tell your story before the entire nation. For so many years, people swept cases like yours under the rug. They’d say what happens inside a house didn’t belong in the court house? Well, the times have changed. So I just want to thank you for coming forward today and for sharing your report with us. Now, I understand that you’ve taken a polygraph test, Dr. Ford, that found that you were being truthful when you described what happened to you. Can you tell us why you decided to take that test?
Christine Ford (02:12:42):
I was meeting with attorneys. I was interviewing various attorneys and the attorneys asked if I was willing to take it, and I said, absolutely. That said it was almost as anxiety provoking as an airplane flight.
Senator Klobuchar (02:12:58):
Okay. And you’ve talked about your recollections and seeing Mark Judge at that Safeway. If there had been an appropriate reopening of this background check and FBI interviews, would that help you find the time period, if you knew when he worked at that Safeway?
Christine Ford (02:13:14):
I feel like I could be much more helpful if I could be provided with that date through employment records or the IRS or something. Anything. That would help.
Senator Klobuchar (02:13:23):
I would assume that’s true. Dr. Ford, under federal law, and I don’t expect you to know this, but statements made to medical professionals are considered to be more reliable. There’s a federal rule of evidence about this. You told your counselor about this back in 2012. Is that right?
Christine Ford (02:13:41):
My therapist? My individual therapist, correct.
Senator Klobuchar (02:13:44):
Right. And I understand that your husband was also present when you spoke about this incident in front of a counselor and he recalls you using Judge Kavanaugh’s name. Is that right?
Christine Ford (02:13:59):
Yes, I just have to slow down a minute because I might’ve been confusing. So there were two separate incidents… [crosstalk 00:02:14:05].
Senator Klobuchar (02:14:05):
Christine Ford (02:14:05):
…where it’s reflected in my medical record. I talked about it more than those two times, but therapists don’t typically write down contents as much as they write down process. They usually are tracking your symptoms and not your story and the facts. I just happened to have it in my record twice. So the first time is in 2012 with my husband and couples therapy with the quibbling over the remodel. And then in 2013 with my individual therapy.
Senator Klobuchar (02:14:35):
Okay, so if someone had actually done an investigation, your husband would have been able to say that you named his name at that time?
Christine Ford (02:14:42):
Senator Klobuchar (02:14:43):
Okay. I know you’ve been concerned… [crosstalk 02:14:46].
Christine Ford (02:14:45):
Senator Klobuchar (02:14:46):
…with your privacy throughout the process and you first requested that your account be kept confidential. Can you briefly tell us why?
Christine Ford (02:14:57):
Yes. So, as I stated before, once I was unsuccessful in getting my information to you before the candidate was chosen, my original intent was to get the information when there was still a list of other candidates available. And once that was not successful and I saw that persons were very supportive of the nominee. I tracked it all summer… [crosstalk 02:15:31].
Senator Klobuchar (02:15:28):
Christine Ford (02:15:28):
…and realized that when I was calculating that risk benefit ratio, that it looked like I was going to just suffer only for no reason.
Senator Klobuchar (02:15:39):
Okay. You know, from my experience with memory, I remember distinctly things that happened to me in high school or happen to me in college, but I don’t exactly remember the date. I don’t exactly remember the time. I sometimes may not even remember the exact place where it occurred, but I remember the interaction and many people are focused today on what you’re…
PART 4 OF 18 ENDS [02:16:04]
Ms. Klobuchar (02:16:00):
And 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. Can you tell us what you don’t forget about that night?
Christine Ford (02:16:15):
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.
Ms. Klobuchar (02:16:46):
Thank you very much, Dr. Ford.
Senator Grassley (02:16:49):
Dr. Ford, I want to correct the record, but it’s not something that I’m saying that you stated wrongly because you may not know the fact that when you said that you didn’t think it was possible for us to go to California as a committee or our investigators to go to California, to talk to you. We did in fact offer that to you and we had the capability of doing it and we would have done it anywhere or any time.
Christine Ford (02:17:18):
Ms. Klobuchar (02:17:19):
And Mr. Chairman, could I put the polygraph results on the record please? The polygraph results in the record though. [inaudible 02:17:27] Is there any objection?
Senator Grassley (02:17:29):
Well, let us see the chart.
Ms. Klobuchar (02:17:32):
The polygraph? You want to all see it.
Senator Grassley (02:17:34):
Can you hold just a minute please?
Ms. Klobuchar (02:17:36):
I think you may have it.
Senator Grassley (02:17:37):
Yeah. Can we have the underlying charts, too?
Ms. Klobuchar (02:17:42):
The underlying charts? I have the polygraph results that I would just like to put in the record. I’ll deal with the charts after that. Could I put the polygraph tests in the record?
Speaker 12 (02:17:54):
Mr. Chairman, we had proposed having the polygraph examiner testify as you know. If that had happened, the full panoply of materials that he had supporting his examination would have been provided. You rejected that request. So what we did provide was the polygraph report, which is what the members of the committee currently have.
Ms. Klobuchar (02:18:17):
And on September 26, Mr. Chairman, this was actually sent to your Chief Counsel. And I just want to share it with America so that they have this report as well.
Senator Grassley (02:18:26):
Okay. We will accept without objection what you’ve asked us to include, but we’re also requesting and expect the other materials that I’ve just stated.
Ms. Klobuchar (02:18:35):
But Mr. Chairman, you wouldn’t allow the underlying witness who performed the polygraph test to testify, nor would you allow Mark Judge to testify. And so, I would just like to point out, thank you for allowing this report in the record, but that is the reason that we don’t have the underlying information for you.
Senator Grassley (02:18:51):
You got what you wanted and I think you’d be satisfied.
Ms. Klobuchar (02:18:55):
I am satisfied with that.
Senator Grassley (02:18:56):
Senator, go ahead.
Speaker 13 (02:18:58):
When was the polygraph administered?
Ms. Klobuchar (02:19:02):
It was administered on August 7th.
Speaker 13 (02:19:07):
When was it-
Ms. Klobuchar (02:19:07):
2018, and the date of the report is August 10th, 2018, Mr,-
Speaker 13 (02:19:12):
When was it provided to the committee?
Senator Grassley (02:19:15):
Let’s just see if we can’t do this in a more orderly way.
Ms. Klobuchar (02:19:18):
Well, he was asking and I have it right here and you have it as well. It was September 26th.
Senator Grassley (02:19:23):
Ms. Klobuchar (02:19:23):
All right. [inaudible 00:03:27].
Senator Grassley (02:19:28):
Ms. Mitchell for Senator Cruz.
Rachel Mitchell (02:19:32):
Thank you. Dr. Ford, we’ve talked about the day and the night that you’ve described in the summer of 1982 and thank you for being willing to do that. I know it’s difficult. I’d like to shift gears and discuss the last several months.
Christine Ford (02:19:51):
Rachel Mitchell (02:19:54):
In your statement, you said that on July 6th, you had a “sense of urgency to relay the information to the Senate and the President.” Did you contact either the Senate or the President on or before July 6th?
Christine Ford (02:20:15):
No, I did not. I did not know how to do that.
Rachel Mitchell (02:20:18):
Okay. Prior to July 6th, had you spoken to any member of Congress? And when I say Congress, I mean the Senate or the House of Representatives or any congressional staff members about your allegations?
Christine Ford (02:20:33):
Rachel Mitchell (02:20:36):
Why did you contact the Washington Post then on July 6th?
Christine Ford (02:20:41):
So I was panicking because I knew the timeline was short for the decision, and people were giving me advice on the beach, people who don’t know about the processes, but they were giving me advice. 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, go to your congressperson. And when I weighed those options, I felt like the best option was to try to do the civic route, which is to go to my Congressperson who happens to be Anna Eshoo. So I called her office and I also put in the anonymous tip to the Washington Post. And unfortunately, neither got back to me before the selection of the nominee.
Rachel Mitchell (02:21:42):
You testified that Congresswoman Eshoo’s office contacted you on July 9th. Is that right?
Christine Ford (02:21:49):
They contacted me the date that the nominee was announced. So that seems like likely.
Rachel Mitchell (02:21:56):
Had you talked about your allegations with anyone in her office before the date of July 9th?
Christine Ford (02:22:04):
I told the receptionist on the phone.
Rachel Mitchell (02:22:06):
Okay. On July 10th, you texted the Washington Post again, which was really the third time. Is that right? Second date, third time.
Christine Ford (02:22:18):
Let’s see. Correct.
Rachel Mitchell (02:22:23):
And you texted, “Been advised to contact senators or New York Times. Haven’t heard back from Washington Post.” Who advised you to contact senators or the New York Times?
Christine Ford (02:22:36):
Beach friends coming up with ideas of how I could try to get to people because people weren’t responding to me very quickly. So very quickly they responded to that text for what unknown reason that once I sent that encrypted text, they responded very quickly.
Rachel Mitchell (02:22:55):
Did you contact the New York Times?
Christine Ford (02:22:58):
Rachel Mitchell (02:22:59):
Christine Ford (02:23:01):
I wasn’t interested in pursuing the media route particularly, so I felt like one was enough, the Washington Post, and I was nervous about doing that. My preference was to talk with my Congressperson.
Rachel Mitchell (02:23:17):
The Washington Post texted back that someone would get you in touch with a reporter. Did you subsequently talk to a reporter with the Washington Post?
Christine Ford (02:23:26):
Yes. Under the encrypted app and off the record.
Rachel Mitchell (02:23:33):
Okay. Who was that reporter?
Christine Ford (02:23:36):
Rachel Mitchell (02:23:37):
Okay. The person who ultimately wrote the story on September 16th?
Christine Ford (02:23:42):
Rachel Mitchell (02:23:43):
Okay. Did you talk to any member of Congress? And again, remember Congress includes the Senate or the House of Representatives or any congressional staff members about your allegations between July 10th and July 30th, which was the date of your letter to Senator Feinstein?
Christine Ford (02:24:03):
Yes. I met with Congresswoman Eshoo’s staff and I think that’s July 18th on the Wednesday, and then on the Friday I met with the Congresswoman herself.
Rachel Mitchell (02:24:14):
Okay. When you met with her, did you meet with her alone or did someone come with you?
Christine Ford (02:24:21):
I was alone. She had a staff person.
Rachel Mitchell (02:24:23):
Okay. What did you talk about with Congresswoman Eshoo and her staff on July 18th and the 20th?
Christine Ford (02:24:34):
I described the night of the incident and we spent time speaking about that, and I asked her what my options were in terms of going forward and how to get that information relayed forward, and also talk to her about fears of whether this was confidential information, and she discussed the constituent confidentiality principle.
Rachel Mitchell (02:25:03):
Mr. Coons (02:25:07):
Thank you, Chairman Grassley. I’d like to ask unanimous consent to submit for the record five articles, including one title Why Sexual Assault Memories Stick and one entitled Why Didn’t Kavanaugh Accuser Come Forward Earlier? Police Often Ignore Sexual Assault Allegations.
Senator Grassley (02:25:21):
Without objections. Ordered.
Mr. Coons (02:25:23):
Dr. Ford, I want to begin by thanking you for coming to testify in front of us today, that you came forward with very serious and relevant information about a nominee for a lifetime position on our Supreme Court. You didn’t have to, and I know you’ve done it at great personal cost. This is a public service and I want you to know that I’m grateful to have the opportunity to hear from you directly today.
Mr. Coons (02:25:46):
I’d like to just first follow up on that line of questioning Ms. Mitchell was following, because I think a lot of people don’t realize that you chose to come forward with your concerns about Judge Kavanaugh before he was nominated to the Supreme Court. Do I understand correctly that when you first reached out to Congresswoman Eshoo and to the Washington Post tip line, that was when he was on the short list, but before he was nominated to the Supreme Court. Is that correct?
Christine Ford (02:26:11):
Mr. Coons (02:26:12):
And if I understood your testimony earlier, it’s that you were motivated by a sense of civic duty and frankly a hope that some other highly qualified nominee might be picked, not out of a motivation at a late stage to have an impact on the final decision.
Christine Ford (02:26:27):
Correct. I felt it was very important to get the information to you, but I didn’t know how to do it while there was still a short list of candidates.
Mr. Coons (02:26:38):
Thank you, doctor. According to Justice Department data, about two thirds of sexual assault survivors don’t report their assaults. Based on your experience, I’d be interested in hearing from you about this because you bore this alone. You bore this alone for a very long time and it’d be helpful for us to better understand the ways that that’s impacted your whole life.
Christine Ford (02:27:03):
Well, it’s impacted me at different stages of the development of my life. So the immediate impact was probably the worst. So the first four years, I think I described earlier, a fairly disastrous first two years of undergraduate studies at University of North Carolina, where I was finally able to pull myself together. And then once coping with the immediate impacts, the short term impacts, I experienced like longer term impacts of anxiety and relationship challenges.
Mr. Coons (02:27:43):
Thank you for sharing that. And yet you went on to get a PhD from USC. Is that correct?
Christine Ford (02:27:48):
Mr. Coons (02:27:50):
As you predicted, there was a wide range of responses to your coming forward. Some thousands of survivors have been motivated and inspired by your courage. Others have been critical. And as I’ve reviewed the wide range of reactions, I’ve been really troubled by the excuse offered by too many that this was a high school incident and boys will be boys. To me, that’s just far too low a standard for the conduct of boys and men in our country. If you would, I’d appreciate your reaction to the excuse that boys will be boys.
Christine Ford (02:28:26):
I can only speak for how it has impacted me greatly for the last 36 years, even though I was 15 years old at the time. And I think the younger you are when these things happen, it could possibly have worse impact than when your brain is fully developed and you have better coping skills that you’ve developed.
Speaker 13 (02:28:50):
You know, experts have written about how it’s common for sexual assault survivors to remember some facts about the experience, very sharply and very clearly, but not others. And that has to do with the survival mode that we go into in experiencing trauma. Is that your experience and is that something you can help the lay person understand?
Christine Ford (02:29:11):
Yes, I was definitely experiencing the fight or flight mode. Is that what you’re referring to? Yes. So I was definitely experiencing the surge of adrenaline, and cortisol, and norepinephrine, and credit that a little bit for my ability to get out of the situation, but also some other lucky events that occurred that allowed me to get out of the event.
Speaker 13 (02:29:34):
Dr. Ford, we are grateful that you came through it and that you shared your account with us and the American people. And I think you’ve provided important information and I’d like to thank you of meeting your civic duty. I wish we could have provided for you a more thorough hearing today. I think asking for the FBI to investigate this matter thoroughly was not asking too much. I think asking to have the other individual involved in your assault, Mark Judge appear before us today, was not asking too much. I’m grateful you came forward and I’m thankful for your courage which set an important example. Thank you, Dr. Ford.
Senator Grassley (02:30:11):
Ms. Mitchell for Senator Sasse.
Rachel Mitchell (02:30:15):
Dr. Ford, we were talking about you meeting in July with Congresswoman Eshoo. Did you talk about your allegations with any Republican member of Congress or congressional staff?
Christine Ford (02:30:28):
I did not. Where I live, the Congresswoman is a Democrat.
Rachel Mitchell (02:30:33):
Okay. Was it communicated to you by your counsel or someone else that the committee had asked to interview you and that they offered to come out to California to do so?
Speaker 12 (02:30:47):
We’re going to object Mr. Chairman to any call for privileged conversations between counsel and Dr. Ford. [crosstalk 00:14:58].
Speaker 15 (02:30:59):
Could you validate the fact that the offer was made without her saying a word?
Speaker 14 (02:31:03):
Wait, are we going to take turns here?
Senator Grassley (02:31:08):
Is it possible for that question to be answered without violating any counsel relationships?
Christine Ford (02:31:16):
Can I say something to you? Do you mind if I say something to you directly?
Speaker 15 (02:31:19):
Christine Ford (02:31:21):
I just appreciate that you did offer that. I wasn’t clear on what the offer was. If you were going to come out to see me, I would have happily hosted you and had been happy to speak with you out there? It wasn’t clear to me that that was the case.
Senator Grassley (02:31:36):
Okay. Does that take care of your question?
Rachel Mitchell (02:31:39):
Yes. Thank you. Mr. Chair.
Senator Grassley (02:31:41):
Rachel Mitchell (02:31:44):
Before July 30th, the date on your letter to Senator Feinstein, had you retained counsel with regard to these allegations?
Christine Ford (02:31:53):
No. I didn’t understand why I would need lawyers, actually. I just didn’t know.
Rachel Mitchell (02:32:00):
A lot of people have that feeling. Let’s talk about the letter that you wrote on July 30th. You asked Senator Feinstein to main confidentiality “until-
Speaker 12 (02:32:16):
Wait until she retrieves it.
Rachel Mitchell (02:32:20):
Oh, I’m sorry.
Christine Ford (02:32:20):
I’m just trying to look for it.
Speaker 12 (02:32:20):
I think it’s here.
Senator Grassley (02:32:22):
Stop the clock, will you?
Speaker 12 (02:32:23):
It’s in there someplace.
Christine Ford (02:32:28):
Oh, I found it, sorry.
Rachel Mitchell (02:32:29):
Okay. You asked Senator Feinstein to maintain confidentiality “until we have had further opportunity to speak,” and then said you were available to speak further vacationing in the mid Atlantic until August 7th. Is that correct?
Christine Ford (02:32:51):
The last line? I’m now just catching up with you. Sorry. I’m a little slower. My mind is getting a little tired. I am available to speak further should you wish to discuss him. Yes, I was in Delaware until August 7th.
Rachel Mitchell (02:33:04):
Christine Ford (02:33:04):
And after that I went to New Hampshire and then back to California.
Rachel Mitchell (02:33:09):
Did you talk with anybody about this letter before you sent it?
Christine Ford (02:33:15):
I talked with Anna Eshoo’s office.
Rachel Mitchell (02:33:19):
Okay, and why did you talk to Congresswoman Eshoo’s office about that letter?
Christine Ford (02:33:24):
Because they were willing to hand deliver it to Senator Feinstein.
Rachel Mitchell (02:33:29):
Did anyone help you write the letter?
Christine Ford (02:33:31):
Rachel Mitchell (02:33:34):
After you sent your letter, did you or anyone on your behalf speak to Senator Feinstein personally or with any Senate staffer?
Christine Ford (02:33:45):
Yes. I had a phone call with Senator Feinstein.
Rachel Mitchell (02:33:49):
When was that?
Christine Ford (02:33:50):
That was while I was still in Delaware, so before August 7th.
Rachel Mitchell (02:33:55):
Okay. And how many times did you speak with Senator Feinstein?
Christine Ford (02:33:59):
Rachel Mitchell (02:34:00):
Okay. What did you talk about?
Christine Ford (02:34:04):
She asked me some questions about the incident and I answered those questions.
Rachel Mitchell (02:34:12):
Okay. Was that the extent of the gist of the conversation?
Christine Ford (02:34:16):
Yes. It was a fairly brief phone call.
Rachel Mitchell (02:34:20):
Okay. Did you ever give Senator Feinstein or anyone else the permission to release that letter?
Christine Ford (02:34:27):
Not that I know of, no.
Rachel Mitchell (02:34:29):
Okay. Between the letter date July 30th and August the 7th, did you speak with any other person about your allegations?
Christine Ford (02:34:41):
Could you say the dates again?
Rachel Mitchell (02:34:42):
Between the letter date of July 30th and August 7th, so while you were still in Delaware, did you speak with any other person about your allegations?
Christine Ford (02:34:55):
I’m just trying to remember what dates that…
Speaker 12 (02:35:03):
You’re asking her with the inclusion [crosstalk 02:35:04] of any lawyers that she had spoken with, correct?
Rachel Mitchell (02:35:08):
Christine Ford (02:35:10):
Correct. I think correct then. I was interviewing lawyers [crosstalk 02:35:15] but I was not speaking personally about it.
Rachel Mitchell (02:35:20):
Aside from lawyers that you were seeking to possibly hire to represent you, did you speak to anybody else about it during that period of time?
Christine Ford (02:35:28):
Rachel Mitchell (02:35:28):
Christine Ford (02:35:29):
I was staying with my parents at the time.
Rachel Mitchell (02:35:32):
Did you talk to them about it?
Christine Ford (02:35:33):
Rachel Mitchell (02:35:36):
So would it be fair to say that you retained counsel during that time period of July 30th to August 7th?
Christine Ford (02:35:44):
I can’t remember the exact date, but I was interviewing lawyers during that period of time sitting in the car in the driveway, and in the Walgreens parking lot in Rehoboth Delaware, and trying to figure out how the whole system works of interviewing lawyers and how to pick one, et cetera, so.
Rachel Mitchell (02:36:04):
You testified earlier that you didn’t see the need for lawyers, and now you’re trying to hire them. What made you change your mind?
Christine Ford (02:36:15):
It seems like most of the individuals that I had told, which the total number, the total was not very high, but those persons advised me to at this point, get a lawyer for advice about whether to push forward or to stay back.
Rachel Mitchell (02:36:32):
Did that include Congresswoman Eshoo and Senator Feinstein?
Christine Ford (02:36:36):
Senator Grassley (02:36:39):
One thing Dr. Ford for what you said about acknowledging that we had said we’d come to California. Senator Blumenthal.
Mr. Blumenthal (02:36:48):
Thanks, Mr. Chairman. I wanted to join in thanking you for being here today and just tell you I have found your testimony powerful and credible, and I believe you. You are a teacher, correct?
Christine Ford (02:37:08):
Mr. Blumenthal (02:37:10):
Well, you have given America an amazing teaching moment and you may have other moments in the classroom, but you have inspired and you have enlightened America. You have inspired and given courage to women to come forward as they have done to every one of our offices and many other public places. You have inspired and you have enlightened men in America to listen respectfully to women survivors, and men who have survived sexual attack. And that is a profound public service regardless of what happens with this nomination. And so the teachers of America, people of America, should be really proud of what you have done.
Mr. Blumenthal (02:38:11):
Let me tell you why I believe you. Not only because of the prior consistent statements and the polygraph tests and your requests for an FBI investigation, and your urging that this committee hear from other witnesses who could corroborate or dispute your story, but also you have been very honest about what you cannot remember, and someone composing a story can make it all come together in a seamless way. But someone who is honest, I speak from my experience as a prosecutor as well, is also candid about what she or he cannot remember.
Mr. Blumenthal (02:39:08):
The senators on the other side of the aisle have been silent. This procedure is unprecedented in a confirmation hearing, but I want to quote one of my colleagues, Senator Lindsey Graham, in a book that he wrote in 2015 when he was describing his own service and very distinguished [inaudible 00:23:37]. I’m not under oath. 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. I learned how much courage from a deep and hidden place it takes for a rape victim or sexually abused child to testify against their assailants.” 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.
Mr. Blumenthal (02:40:41):
Now there’s been some talk about your requesting an FBI investigation, and you mentioned a point just a few minutes ago that you could better estimate the time that you ran into Mark Judge if you knew the time that he was working at that supermarket. That’s a fact that could be uncovered by an FBI investigation. It would help further elucidate your account. Would you like Mark Judge to be interviewed in connection with the background investigation and the serious credible allegations that you’ve made?
Christine Ford (02:41:34):
That would be my preference. I’m not sure it’s really up to me, but I certainly would feel like I could be more helpful to everyone if I knew the date that he worked at the Safeway so that I could give a more specific date of the assault.
Mr. Blumenthal (02:41:48):
Well, it’s not up to you. It’s up to the President of the United States, and his failure to ask for an FBI investigation in my view is tantamount to a cover up. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Grassley (02:42:04):
Ms. Mitchell for Senator Flake.
Rachel Mitchell (02:42:06):
Thank you. We’ve heard this morning several times that you did take a polygraph and that was on August the 7th. Is that right?
Christine Ford (02:42:17):
I believe so is the day I was flying from BWI to Manchester, New Hampshire.
Rachel Mitchell (02:42:23):
Okay. Why did you decide to take a polygraph?
Christine Ford (02:42:29):
I didn’t see any reason not to do it.
Rachel Mitchell (02:42:33):
Were you advised to do that?
Speaker 12 (02:42:35):
Again? You’re seeming to call for communications between counsel and client. I don’t think you mean to do that. If you do, she shouldn’t have to answer that.
Senator Grassley (02:42:45):
Counsel, could you let her answer the extent to which that doesn’t violate the relationship between you and Dr. Ford?
Christine Ford (02:43:18):
Based on the advice of the counsel, I was happy to undergo the polygraph test. Although I found it extremely stressful, much longer than I anticipated. I told my whole life story. I felt like I endured it. It was fine.
Rachel Mitchell (02:43:37):
I understand they can be that way. Have you ever taken any other polygraphs in your life?
Christine Ford (02:43:43):
Rachel Mitchell (02:43:44):
Okay. You went to see a gentleman by the name of Jeremiah Hanafin up to serve as the polygrapher. Did anyone advise you on that choice?
Christine Ford (02:44:03):
Yes. I believe his name was Jerry.
Rachel Mitchell (02:44:06):
Christine Ford (02:44:08):
Rachel Mitchell (02:44:08):
Okay. Did anyone advise you on that choice?
Christine Ford (02:44:12):
I don’t understand the… Yeah. I didn’t choose him myself. He was the person that came to do the polygraph test.
Rachel Mitchell (02:44:21):
He actually conducted the polygraph, not in his office in Virginia, but actually at the hotel next to Baltimore Washington airport. Is that right?
Christine Ford (02:44:30):
Rachel Mitchell (02:44:31):
Why was that location chosen for the polygraph?
Christine Ford (02:44:35):
I had left my grandmother’s funeral at a Fort Lincoln cemetery that day and was on tight schedule to get a plane to Manchester, New Hampshire. So he was willing to come to me which was appreciated.
Rachel Mitchell (02:44:48):
So he administered a polygraph on the day that you attended your grandmother’s funeral?
Christine Ford (02:44:54):
Yeah, correct. Or it might’ve been the next day. I spent the night in the hotel, so. I don’t remember the exact day.
Rachel Mitchell (02:45:07):
Have you ever had discussions with anyone besides your attorneys on how to take a polygraph?
Christine Ford (02:45:17):
Rachel Mitchell (02:45:19):
And I don’t just mean countermeasures, but I mean just any sort of tips or anything like that?
Christine Ford (02:45:27):
No, I was scared of the test itself, but it was comfortable that I could tell the information and the test would reveal whatever it was going to reveal. I didn’t it to be as long as it was going to be so it was a little bit stressful.
Rachel Mitchell (02:45:44):
Have you ever given tips or advice to somebody who was looking to take a polygraph test?
Christine Ford (02:45:50):
Rachel Mitchell (02:45:51):
Okay. Did you pay for the polygraph yourself?
Christine Ford (02:45:57):
I don’t think so.
Rachel Mitchell (02:45:59):
Okay. Do you know who did pay for the polygraph?
Christine Ford (02:46:01):
Not yet. No.
Rachel Mitchell (02:46:09):
You have the handwritten statement that you wrote out. Did anyone assist you in writing that statement?
Christine Ford (02:46:19):
No, but you can tell how anxious I was by the terrible handwriting.
Rachel Mitchell (02:46:30):
We touched on it earlier. Did you know that the committee has requested not only the charts from the polygraph test, but also any audio or video recording of the polygraph test?
Christine Ford (02:46:44):
Rachel Mitchell (02:46:46):
Were you audio and video recorded when you were taking that test?
Christine Ford (02:46:50):
Okay. So I remember being hooked up to a machine like being placed onto my body and being asked a lot of questions and crying a lot. That’s my primary memory of that test. I don’t know. I know he took laborious detail into explaining what he was going to be doing, but I was just focused on kind of what I was going to say and my fear about that. I wasn’t listening to every detail about whether it was audio or video recorded.
Rachel Mitchell (02:47:24):
Well, you were in a hotel room, right?
Christine Ford (02:47:25):
Rachel Mitchell (02:47:26):
A regular hotel room with a bed and bathroom?
Christine Ford (02:47:29):
No, no, no. It was a conference room. So I was sitting at a chair and he was behind me.
Rachel Mitchell (02:47:34):
Did you note any cameras in the room?
Christine Ford (02:47:38):
Well, he had a computer set up, so I guess I assumed that he was somehow taping and recording me.
Rachel Mitchell (02:47:45):
Okay. So you assumed you were being video and audio recorded?
Christine Ford (02:47:48):
Rachel Mitchell (02:47:49):
But you don’t know for sure.
Christine Ford (02:47:50):
I don’t know for sure.
Rachel Mitchell (02:47:51):
Okay. Thank you.
Senator Grassley (02:47:53):
Oh, we’re going to a recess now for half hour for lunch. Thank you, Dr. Ford.
Christine Ford (02:47:59):
We’re going to keep going. [crosstalk 02:48:12].
George Stephanopoulos (02:48:10):
And Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has finished about another hour and a half of testimony, still considerable amount of senators yet to question her as we head into the third hour of the hearing right now. Democrats consistently trying to make the point that the sexual assault victims don’t always come forward, that she is brave to have come forward. They are both apologizing to her and praising her. Democrats relying again on the Arizona prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, to do their questioning, trying to establish some inconsistencies in Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony, particularly about her travels saying that even though she said she was afraid to fly, which is one of the reasons she said that she did not want to meet with Senate investigators, that she’s actually traveled many other times. But I want to bring this first to David Muir. It’s been an interesting, David, to watch this as they continue with the strategy of having Rachel Mitchell asks their questions, Republican sitting silently behind them. You have to wonder if they’re getting uncomfortable with this over the course of this three hour hearing.
David Muir (02:49:21):
Yeah, no question George. They sit silently, but you know, they speak volumes with their facial expressions. We have a reporter in the room, Trish Turner, and she’s been stamping still photographs that she’s been sending our way. And I wanted to show you one that we captured right there. You can see Jeff Flake, his hand to his face. To the right of him, of course, Ben Sasse there, who at times leans forward in his chair. They are really hanging on every word being offered by Christine Blasey Ford. And George, you and I talked about this a little earlier in the proceedings about whether or not Republicans will look back at this moment and perhaps debate whether or not it was a miscalculation to at least not allow some of these Republican senators to ask questions and to signal to their constituents around the country and millions of people watching-
PART 5 OF 18 ENDS [02:50:04]
David Muir (02:50:00):
… a signal to their constituents around the country and millions of people watching this, that they, too, understand the depth of this moment. There’s something else that’s emerged in this second batch of questioning, and that is what Christine Blasey Ford doesn’t remember. And particularly the Democrats on this committee are trying to make a point that that’s okay. That you can’t poke holes in what she doesn’t remember. And in fact, she was asked about this notion in America from some who say, “Boys will be boys.” And she actually made the point, Christine Blasey Ford, in her answer, to say, “I was 15 years old at the time, and sometimes when you have these memories, they carry even greater weight when you’re younger and you don’t have the maturity, the faculty, to actually handle the depth of what’s been done to you, that sometimes those memories are deeper.”
David Muir (02:50:49):
And again, that plays right into the fact that she’s a psychologist and the areas of study as an adult. And there was one moment, just a moment ago, and it was meant to be a political point made by Senator Blumenthal in talking about something that Lindsey Graham on the other side of the aisle had written himself about prosecuting rape cases, talking about the courage for victims to come forward and the depths of their own memories. And Senator Blumenthal in addressing the Republicans on the other side of the aisle, saying, “If we can agree on nothing else, we can agree on the courage for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford to come forward.” And you could see it in her face, George, this was one of about a handful of moments, three or four moments, where she looks like she is about to perhaps tear up-
David Muir (02:51:31):
… very visibly.
She did visibly tear up at that moment. We want to go to Mary Bruce, who is in the hallway as Senators that had come out, staffers come out, from the hearing as well. Mary, any reaction so far?
Mary Bruce (02:51:44):
George, I’m standing right outside the hearing room, very limited reaction, especially from the Republican’s leaving the room. We heard from Republican Orin Hatch asked if he finds Dr. Ford to be credible, said it’s too early to tell. John Cornyn, the number two Republican in the Senate, simply told us he’ll let you know what he thinks after this is all over. Many of the other members of the committee simply ignored questions, continuing to walk stone-faced, very solemn, out of this hearing. They’re now in a holding room down the hall waiting to continue the questioning.
And we’ve also had from inside the room, Senator Ben Sasse, Republican was caught on camera walking up to the witness table and shaking Dr. Blasey Ford’s hand. Dan, let’s talk a little bit more about the strategy. It did seem like there was a modest shift. Actually now we’re… That’s Chris Coons, Democrat on the committee. Can we hear what he’s saying?
Chris Coons (02:52:32):
… compelling testimony is that literally just in the last hour, three different women have reached out to me who I know from Delaware to share with me their stories of surviving sexual assault. A high school classmate, someone else who’s known to me from home, and someone I’ve known a long time. And I’ve heard from other Senators. This is also happening to their offices and to them personally. So first, it is striking how many survivors of sexual assault are watching and are choosing this moment to come forward with their accounts.
Chris Coons (02:53:10):
And I think that speaks to what a public service is being done here by having a measured and a respectful hearing of Dr. Ford’s allegations.
Senator Patrick Leahy, ranking Democrat.
Patrick Leahy (02:53:26):
… Dr. Ford asked for every single Democrat is that [crosstalk 02:53:30]-
Amy Klobuchar (02:53:29):
Over and over again.
Patrick Leahy (02:53:32):
… we all ask, do what you always do. Have an independent FBI investigation. Because they don’t take sides, they just have something to do.
Amy Klobuchar (02:53:45):
And to not even subpoena the key witness that was in there when they found him in a Delaware beach house. That’s outrageous.
Patrick Leahy (02:53:53):
You’ve got several other people. He had two other women who have come forward. You got the key witness who is there. Why haven’t they asked the FBI to go out and investigate them and to be here? Instead they’re trying to rush it through and when they rush something like that, what are you trying to hide?
Mary Bruce (02:54:11):
What do you make of the questioning coming from the Republicans’ prosecutor? What do you make of the tone and the questions that she is asking?
Patrick Leahy (02:54:22):
She’s very professional. You have to ask the question, why don’t they ask their own questions?
Amy Klobuchar (02:54:25):
Mary Bruce (02:54:25):
Why do you think?
Amy Klobuchar (02:54:28):
I think that they look muted. They’re sitting there. They look like they want to respond, but they made a decision not to really do their constitutional duty and participate in this hearing. That’s their choice. But what I think the big lesson that came out of this is that this woman is extraordinary. She’s calm, she’s honest. And I think that’s what our colleagues on the other side of the aisle are seeing today.
Mary Bruce (02:54:52):
What are you looking hear from Judge Kavanaugh? [crosstalk 02:54:53].
As we continue to see them there, you know, this reminds me, you’ve covered a lot of presidential campaigns, as have I, that after a debate, the side that thinks they want to run out and talk to the cameras, the side that did a little worse hang back and delay a little bit of what we’re seeing right there combined with the silence of the Republicans behind the podium, even after Dr. Blasey Ford said, “I want to engage with you.” John Carl?
Jonathan Karl (02:55:23):
Oh, George. Yeah, George. Exactly. And the silence has been across the board. I mean, I’ve been reaching out as this hearing has gone on to people inside the White House to Trump allies outside the White House. Very little has been said, very little said by the Republicans. I mean nothing, but by the Republicans leaving the room. One person who I was in touch with during the hearing who was very much pro-Kavanaugh, involved in this process, told me, this is a woman, said, it’s hard to imagine any woman watching this not finding Blasey Ford credible. I think they know that they’ve got a big problem. And frankly, for all of the challenges of having this Arizona prosecutor lead the questioning, my sense is the Republicans are very happy that they are not the ones asking the questions and trying to undermine Blasey Ford’s credibility,
Let’s check back in. That is Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat of Oregon.
Ron Wyden (02:56:20):
… survivors everywhere. Thank you.
Again, talking about survivors, how Dr. Blasey Ford is so typical of survivors and Cokie Roberts, we heard Chris Coons, Democratic Senator from Delaware, talk about the calls he’s gotten over the last hour are reporters watching C-SPAN as well as rape survivors spontaneously calling into C-SPAN.
Cokie Roberts (02:56:38):
Which is just overwhelming. I mean, first of all, you hear their stories and you can barely listen to them, because they are so horrible. And to have members of the Senate who I’m sure are getting those same calls, or we have these women calling in, saying, “This happened to me. This happened to me,” it becomes very difficult for them to not pay attention to them.
Let’s listen to Senator Richard Blumenthal, member of the committee.
Richard Blumenthal (02:57:01):
… survivors of sexual assault. And that’s one out of every three women. And for men, who may have belittled or demeaned or disregarded sexual assault as a crime, and she really deserves the gratitude of all America. In my view, Dr. Blasey Ford has been highly believable, and there’s a burden now on Judge Kavanaugh to rebut these very serious, incredible allegations.
Speaker 16 (02:57:37):
Do you think the questioning coming from the Republican senators-
Richard Blumenthal (02:57:42):
Speaker 16 (02:57:43):
What do you make of the questioning coming from the Republican side? What’s your assessment of how their prosecutor’s doing so far?
Richard Blumenthal (02:57:46):
So far, the prosecutor has simply reconfirmed the details of Dr. Blasey Ford’s account without, in any way, shaking or undermining her account of the facts and the evidence here. If anything, the prosecutor has strengthened her claims and allegations, which were credible at the outset. She has been highly believable and powerful in her testimony, and the prosecutor has done nothing but strengthen them.
Speaker 16 (02:58:15):
You’re still set to vote on this nomination tomorrow morning. Do you see a way that that vote can still continue?
Richard Blumenthal (02:58:20):
There is simply no way in good conscience for the United States Senate Judiciary Committee to vote tomorrow on this nomination. There can be no question. Now, if there ever was, that an FBI investigation is necessary, and-
Let me bring Pierre Thomas in on that point particularly, because this is clearly a united talking point for the Democrats right there. It is time at minimum, at a bare minimum for an FBI investigation. You heard Senator Grassley at the beginning of the hearing explain why he thought it wasn’t necessary. It wouldn’t be conclusive. But just walk us through the process for how an FBI investigation would be conducted, why it would be conducted, and whether it is normal practice.
Pierre Thomas (02:58:59):
Well, George, in this case, if there would be further investigation by the FBI, it would have to be the result of a White House request. These are background investigations. These are not criminal investigations. So the FBI does not launch them on their own independently. They are in essence taking on the referral of a client, and then pursuing a further investigation. And that’s what would normally happen in a case like this when there’s derogatory information, if the White House wants that further investigated, they contact the FBI and they get to it.
And thank you, Pierre. Cecilia Vega, as I said at the top of this hearing, we’re about six weeks away from midterm elections heading into those midterm elections, the Republican party was deeply underwater with women.
Cecilia Vega (02:59:44):
Well, exactly, but let’s just quickly go back to this point about the White House has to launch this investigation. That is not going to happen. In the middle of this testimony, as Christine Blasey Ford was just beginning her opening remarks, we were hearing from people in the White House who were sending out Kavanaugh by the numbers, which includes the six cleared FBI background checks. They firmly believe he has been investigated thoroughly. The work here has been done. I mean, talk about politics. I’m struck by this, the deafening silence. We even in Trump world on the Twitter-sphere, we’re not hearing very many people come out right now with the exception of Don Jr. He was- are you about to read that one?
No, no. You can read up the Don Jr. Tweet.
Cecilia Vega (03:00:25):
So you know who’s hanging on what we first started our conversation during this break on this issue of Christine Blasey Ford flying, and he says, “I’m not a psychology professor, but it does seem weird to me that someone could have a selective fear of flying.” In my opinion, they’ve got very little to hang on right now. And that’s the one issue they’re taking. The one thing they’re taking issue with.
And to share some of the difficulty, we now have heard from Republican Senator on the committee, it wasn’t on camera though, so I’m going to read it. It was an exchange with Orrin Hatch, one of the senior Republicans on the committee, and he was asked if he learned anything, does he find Dr. Blasey Ford credible? “I don’t find her uncredible. I think she’s an attractive, good witness.” “What do you mean by attractive, sir?” “In other words, pleasing, she’s attractive, a nice person. I wish her well.” Shows the difficult box, Cokie Roberts, that they’re in right now.
Cokie Roberts (03:01:10):
But it also shows why they’re not asking questions because that word attractive becomes a… [crosstalk 03:01:17] yeah.
Like Joe Biden calling Barack Obama articulate.
Cokie Roberts (03:01:19):
Right, and Orrin Hatch is a gentleman of a certain age, and he doesn’t see any offense in that. And most people don’t, but there are some who would consider that condescending or a form of harassment. And that’s why they’re not asking questions, because they’re going to say things that could get them in trouble.
It does appear, Dan Abrams, that there was a slight shift in the Republican questioning strategy in the course of the last hour, talking about that flying. Also seeming to lay the groundwork with all those questions about the polygraph and why she took the polygraph test of perhaps she was being coached or pushed into coming forward.
Dan Abrams (03:01:54):
I think that’s the overriding focus here, is this essence that her liberal beach friends convinced her to go ahead and move forward with this thing. That she was almost pressured into doing it, then she gets assistance. Remember those questions, a lot about assistance.
Legal counsel, yeah.
Dan Abrams (03:02:13):
Assistance in writing the letter. The whole sort of specter being that this wasn’t her own idea. That she got sort of pushed into this.
Let’s go back, because we’re seeing Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. I thought she was just on the camera there. Standby, see if she’s going to take questions. Is Mary with her? I guess-
Dan Abrams (03:02:34):
One other point that I would make about the FBI investigation, and you heard Cecilia say before that the president doesn’t want an FBI investigation. I think that they’re going to have to make a choice here.
Dan Abrams (03:02:44):
It’s either going to be withdraw this nomination or move forward with it and vote for him. But I don’t think they’re going to say, okay, we’ll agree to have further investigation.
Cokie Roberts (03:02:55):
Oh, no. They’re not going to do that.
Dan Abrams (03:02:56):
So it’s all or nothing at this point.
And that depends on how Brett Kavanaugh does this afternoon.
Dan Abrams (03:03:00):
Exactly. It’s going to depend on Brett. I don’t even know that it’s going to depend on Brett Kavanaugh at this point. I mean, you could make an argument that no matter how well Brett Kavanaugh does, they are going to be certain senators who are going to say, I simply still can’t do it.
Cokie Roberts (03:03:12):
Well, I think it’s going to be a lot of pressure from the Senate leadership and presumably from the White House, depending on what happens today, to move ahead and move ahead fast, because they don’t want this festering in the electorate over the weekend.
That may be… Go ahead.
Sunny Hostin (03:03:27):
I was just going to say that given the climate during the Me Too movement, I think it is shocking in a sense that they’re making this into a partisan issue. I mean, since when is sexual assault or attempted rape a partisan issue. It’s just an issue of right and wrong. It’s an American issue. And that’s why when you look at the stats, you know, that 63% of women do not report a rape. It’s the most under-reported crime in our country. Two out of three women just refuse to come forward and less than 2% of rapists, convicted rapists, are in prison. And so the notion somehow that she was put forth to do this or that this is some sort of Democratic ploy. I don’t know how that reads to Republican women.
We’re going to find that out in the coming days, and that’s where I want to then, on that point, pick up on what Cokie was saying as well, and I’ll press back a little bit, Cokie. I know that was Mitch McConnell’s strategy coming into this hearing.
Cokie Roberts (03:04:19):
I don’t see how it’s possible, and you just heard Richard Blumenthal, right? There’s lay one line in the sand about moving forward tomorrow, how they can move quickly or how they can get 51 votes quickly.
Cokie Roberts (03:04:30):
I think it’s going to be very, very difficult and they’re going to… there are probably major fights going on behind the scenes right now about it. And that has been the strategy. Abandoning the strategy is always tough for the leadership,
Especially, Cecilia, Lisa Murkowski, even before this hearing, the one thing she seemed to be getting towards, we have to have a lot more answers coming forward. She had talked about openly about maybe the need for an FBI investigation. At some level, it seems like, and this picks up on Dan’s point, the Republicans are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Right now, they need the investigation to answer the questions of some of their members. But if they have it-
Cecilia Vega (03:05:09):
They’re not going to get it. They’re not going to get an investigation triggered by an order from this White House, not at this point anyway. And again, President Trump said hours ago yesterday, he is watching this and will be watching this keeping an open mind. Will he? Every comment he’s made until then really didn’t seem like he very much had an open mind coming into this. He just landed back at the White House not long ago, and didn’t answer shouted questions from reporters. There’s still silence from that camp.
I just do a little business right here. Some stations are leaving us now for local news, but our live coverage of the Judge Kavanaugh confirmation hearing is going to continue. Expect to see Judge Kavanaugh again in about 10 minutes. Go ahead.
Dan Abrams (03:05:46):
Well, I was just going to make the point that Kavanaugh can’t respond to the specifics of what she’s alleging, because he says it didn’t happen.
Cecilia Vega (03:05:54):
Dan Abrams (03:05:54):
So unlike a situation where someone says it was consensual or it was a misunderstanding, and we have to hear from the other side, what we’re going to hear from Kavanaugh is I have no idea what she’s talking about. This never happened.
Cokie Roberts (03:06:06):
Which means he has to say she’s a liar.
Sunny Hostin (03:06:08):
Or perhaps the misidentification.
Dan Abrams (03:06:11):
Or that she’s wrong. Right, exactly.
Cecilia Vega (03:06:11):
That’s their argument.
Sunny Hostin (03:06:12):
But I think the Democrats have done a very good job in questioning her. What, are you 100% certain that it was Brett Kavanaugh that sexually assaulted you? And she said, definitively, yes.
Twice, she’s said it twice so far.
Cokie Roberts (03:06:24):
What’s your degree of certainty? 100%.
Sunny Hostin (03:06:26):
Terry Moran, do you think- we have about 10 to 12- 10 more questioners left in the Senate- do you think the Republicans can stick with the strategy of not questioning Dr. Blasey Ford?
Terry Moran (03:06:39):
It’s comical at this point, farcical at this point. They look like potted plants sitting there. So somebody said on Twitter it’s very difficult for Rachel Mitchell to do the job that she’s trying to do professionally, because all those guys are hiding behind her skirts. It is time for them to- they’re in a terrible political bind, but it seems to me they’re underlining that political bind by remaining silent. If they have something to say to this witness, they should say it to her. They should say whatever they want to say. Meanwhile, the Democrats are reading prepared speeches. They’re in a political fight. They know it. They feel they’re winning. They’re entering into the record letters of support. And it looked at one or two times as if almost they were reading a question that Dr. Ford might’ve even been given a heads up about. So they have come into this hearing prepared, and the Republicans are sitting there with paper bags on their heads.
Thank you. Going over to Mary Bruce there, Mary? I believe you have Senator Gillibrand there?
Mary Bruce (03:07:40):
Not at the moment, George. We are hoping to speak with her shortly. We did just see the chairman go back into the hearing room. He did not comment this time, but of course earlier during that break, we heard from the Republican Chairman, Chuck Grassley, making clear that he thinks that Dr. Ford’s allegations need to be taken very seriously. We were discussing earlier again, this fine line that Republicans are trying to walk. On one hand, you have Republican leadership like Mitch McConnell coming out saying the other day that we will win. That he feels confident that Judge Kavanaugh will be confirmed, and yet you have Republicans here clearly taking this testimony very seriously. We’ve seen that look on their faces, sitting behind the Republican prosecutor, some Republican senators looking pained, cringing, as they listen to her very heartfelt, emotional testimony.
And, Mary, as that’s been, we’re starting to hear from more Republican senators, as well as Senator Lindsey Graham, with a crack in their story. So far he’s been saying that even though he knows there are holes in her story, in Dr. Blasey Ford’s story, he does talk about, and I want to bring this to David Muir, the need to hear from other witnesses in the case. And David, if that’s the case, there’s no way there can be a vote tomorrow morning.
David Muir (03:08:49):
Well, it would seem that way, George, and it certainly flies in the face of this argument against any sort of FBI investigation, which obviously is not going to be signed off on by the White House, but certainly a vote tomorrow is what Republicans had been pushing for, including Lindsey Graham, who, for days now has said we need to move this forward, but just to add to what you just reported there, George, Lindsey Graham went on to say that, “there are people who will say others saw this. Someone must’ve taken her from that home that night. Can they help fill in the gaps? We need to hear this to do the best you can.” And he said, “If the trauma did happen on that day, that’s an important event for me to know more about from the people who might have witnessed it,” which again, plays right into the argument that we’ve heard from the Democrats on the committee today, we need to hear from others, most pointedly Mark Judge, who they brought up repeatedly during the course of this hearing today.
John Carl, up until those statements from Lindsey Graham, he had been far and away the strongest supporter of the president and Brett Kavanaugh on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Jonathan Karl (03:09:46):
Sure had been. He’d been directly challenging Christine Blasey Ford’s credibility, the credibility of the accusers. A forceful advocate for Judge Kavanaugh, but I’m sensing a real sea change.
Jonathan Karl (03:09:58):
I just corresponded with somebody in the Senate leadership who, again, very much on the Kavanaugh team, pushing for this nomination, helping prepare for today’s hearing, and this senior Republican aid, when I asked how it’s going, said, “Look, it’s just the first quarter.” In other words, they know that they’re in a deep hole here. They’re going to see how the rest of the day plays out.
So the implication there is it’s just the first quarter. We know we’re behind.
Jonathan Karl (03:10:27):
Yeah, yeah. No attempt to say that this is in any way not going terribly for Republicans and for Judge Kavanaugh.
Expecting to see Dr. Blasey Ford in about five more minutes. We do want to go back to what she said today so far. So far it’s been the details about what she remembers in that encounter with Brett Kavanaugh that have drawn the most attention, drawing the emphasis from Democrats. Republicans pretty silent have been silent on the actual event. We’ll wait to hear what Brett Kavanaugh says when he comes on, but here was Dr. Blasey Ford.
Christine Blasey Ford (03:10:58):
In the summer of 1982, like most summers I spent most every day at the Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland swimming and practicing diving. One evening that summer, after a day of diving at the club, I attended a small gathering at a house in the Bethesda area. There were four boys I remember specifically being at the house: Brett Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, a boy named PJ, and one other boy whose name I cannot recall. I also remember my friend Leland attending. I do not remember all of the details of how that gathering came together, but like many that summer, it was almost surely a spur of the moment gathering. I truly wish I could be more helpful with more detailed answers to all of the questions that have and will be asked about how I got to the party and where it took place and so forth.
Christine Blasey Ford (03:11:59):
I don’t have all the answers and I don’t remember as much as I would like to, but the details that, about that night that bring me here today are the ones I will never forget. They have been seared into my memory and have haunted me episodically as an adult. When I got to the small gathering, people were drinking beer in a small living room, family room type area on the first floor of the house. I drank one beer. Brett and Mark were visibly drunk early in the evening. I went up a very narrow set of stairs leading from the living room to a second floor to use the restroom. When I got to the top of the stairs, I was pushed from behind into a bedroom across from the bathroom. I couldn’t see who pushed me. Brett and Mark came into the bedroom and locked the door behind them. There was music playing in the bedroom.
Christine Blasey Ford (03:13:03):
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 into me. I yelled, hoping that someone downstairs might hear me, and I 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 very inebriated. And because I was wearing a one piece bathing suit underneath my clothing. 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 yelling. This is 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.
Christine Blasey Ford (03:14:04):
Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack. They seemed to be having a very good time. Mark seemed ambivalent at times, urging Brett on and at times telling him to stop. A couple of times, I made eye contact with Mark and thought he might try to help me, but he did not. During this assault, Mark came over and jumped on the bed twice while Brett was on top of me. And the last time that 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 waited until I heard Brett and Mark leave the bedroom laughing and loudly walk down the narrow stairway, 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, went down the same stairwell, 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 that house and that Brett and Mark were not coming outside after me.
Dr. Blasey Ford says she doesn’t remember a lot of that day, but those memories are indelible to some. Cecilia, you brought up this point earlier. We know the president watches Fox News. We know he takes political cues from the analysts on Fox News. Many times he’s retweeted the legal analyst Andrew Napolitano, who’s just gone on Fox News and said that he sees the witness coming off as exceptionally credible. Right now, this is something we’re seeing across the board.
Cecilia Vega (03:15:51):
Yeah, but there may be a shift in some way that’s happening on Fox News right now, at least one anchor, Chris Wallace says, quote, “This is a disaster for Republicans.” And he’s been talking about, according to RGG Chang, who’s reporting that Chris Wallace has two of his daughters shared similar incidents that happened to them in high school. And this just goes back to this cultural moment that we’re living in right now. That hashtag “why didn’t I report.” Nearly 800,000 people coming forward. People portably calling into CSPAN telling stories of them being assaulted. And I certainly know in my own world, the friends and the conversations I have had with family in the wake of this debate that’s happening, and people telling stories of things that happened to them in high school and college that they never felt empowered before until that happening right now.
Cecilia Vega (03:16:36):
And I will say, I’m sitting here in this desk in New York, and I’m following this on Twitter, of course, but you know, you see a division. You see a division between men and women, as we listen to this testimony today, and you see a division, the same division that exists so strongly in our country right now with people whose minds have already been made up coming in to watch this testimony. If you are a Trump Kavanaugh camp, many people think that there is nothing she can say to change their minds and exactly the opposite on the other side. So I don’t know that no matter what happens in there today, she may not and he may not be changing minds of people watching this.
That is true. We are as divided and as hard in our camps as we have ever, or as we’ve been in a long, long time. But, Cokie Roberts, again, at the beginning of this, we all knew coming in, this would be not just a political moment, but a cultural moment that is clearly happening.
Cokie Roberts (03:17:28):
Very clearly happening. And again, partly because of the just normalcy of this woman. Doctor Blasey Ford. She just seems so much like the girl next door. And despite the fact that clearly the Republican argument is to try to make her look like a democratic tool, the fact that the prosecutor who is trying to be kindly and homey herself, but she said to her, “Why didn’t you talk to any Republican Congressman? You just went to your own Congressman and who’s a Democrat.” So that’s going to be their strategy, but she is so credible that women are responding. And it’s a response that, I mean, my tweets today are all from women saying this is just unbelievable. This is finally someone’s saying what we’ve been wanting to say. And if people feel that she’s giving them voice, that’s very difficult for Republicans.
Sunny Hostin (03:18:28):
It’s very, very powerful, I think. I mean, I spent my career listening to women telling me these types of stories over and over and over again. And if you look at the statistics, the statistics are there of the sexual violence crimes not reported to police between 2005 and 2010, which is very recent actually, the victim gave these reasons for not reporting: 20% feared retaliation, 13% believed the police would not do anything, 13% believed it was a personal matter, 8% believed it wasn’t important enough to report, and 7% did not want to get the perpetrator in trouble. I think we’re seeing a real sea change. It was very difficult to prosecute these cases in the nineties, in the eighties, two thousands, but we’re seeing something very different, of course.
Sunny Hostin (03:19:13):
And you see the hashtag, you know, “why I didn’t report.” I think there are going to be many, many women that see themselves in Dr. Ford.
Cecilia Vega (03:19:22):
Can I just add though? I mean, I do think that is the case and that is certainly happening, but going into the White House every day, that is not happening on the grounds of inside this White House. You don’t see minds being changed. I don’t think you see the sensitivity of this cultural conversation happening with the president himself because he’s facing all of these accusers.
Well, and that’s something the president, Kate, goes at it from a very particular point. He said that yesterday-
Cecilia Vega (03:19:45):
It’s his personal experience.
… who’s had that. And that’s what I want to bring it to John Carl as well, John, you know that the president has not been comfortable with the strategy of basically deferring everything that Mitch McConnell wants on this nomination. To be silent for the most part, to let them do the job, to let them ram this through. Do you think it’s conceivable at some point that as these reports come in, that the president will take matters into his own hands? Or is he still willing to defer to the Senate?
Jonathan Karl (03:20:11):
I think the president has been upset about how this process has played out from the beginning. He wanted to push for an earlier vote. It is his style as you well know when accusations come out, you forcefully come out and you counter punch, you counterattack.
Jonathan Karl (03:20:26):
He watched the interview that Brett Kavanaugh did on Fox News Channel and felt that it was ineffective, because Kavanaugh was not as forceful as the president thought he should have been in making the denials. And I would be very surprised that the president watch how this played out, particularly the way the Republicans have ceded the questioning to somebody else and not come out of this deeply unhappy with how this has gone. I thought the president was very disciplined in some ways yesterday in an otherwise very undisciplined press conference in not taking on directly the accusers.
Well, he wouldn’t answer your question about lying.
Jonathan Karl (03:21:05):
I asked him directly, “Are they liars?” And he would not go there.
And that’s exactly right. And, Mary Bruce, I know we’re about to see on the Democratic side at least, the questions coming from those most interested in replacing president Trump.
Mary Bruce (03:21:24):
Yeah. When you think about who’s still left to question. Senator Kamala Harris, Cory Booker. Some of the fiercest questioners on this panel and two people who also happen to be eyeing a run for the White House as well. And also Senator Mazie Hirono just walked behind us. And she has been incredibly vocal in her criticism of the politics around this entire process. She still has left to ask her questions as well. In fact, at one point a few days ago, she used a profanity when talking with us to describe how she thinks it’s ridiculous that Republicans, in her point of view, have not been calling for an FBI investigation. And just a reminder to everyone of the state of play here. This hearing is still- or this committee, excuse me, it’s still slated to have a vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination tomorrow morning. I have been asking lawmakers as they leave the hearing room and walk in this hallway behind me, whether or not they feel that needs to be delayed. No one is saying that they feel it needs to continue right now. In fact, remember Chairman Grassley told our John Parkinson earlier that the testimony is something that he definitely needs to sleep on.
Mary, you may not have an answer to this, but we all know that Mitch McConnell has as an iron grip on his caucus, on his Republican Senate caucus. He held them together by not even allowing a hearing or any kind of consideration of Merrick Garland throughout the entire last year of President Obama’s presidency. Any reaction so far to how his senators are doing or how Dr. Blasey Ford is doing?
Mary Bruce (03:22:45):
I mean, Mitch McConnell is in an incredibly tricky position here. I mean, just a few days ago, he came out and said, quote, “We will win.” That he thinks, that he is confident that Judge Kavanaugh will be confirmed. And yet so many members of his own caucus, it’s clear, are taking this testimony seriously. Those key Republican Senators that we’ve been watching so carefully over the last few weeks and days, Murkowski, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, who is sitting on this committee today, clearly have serious reservations about this. And, of course, it only takes two no votes to sink Kavanaugh’s nomination. How will Mitch McConnell navigate the rest of this day? The coming days after this is going to be really interesting to watch.
Cokie Roberts (03:23:23):
I think the Democrats who might’ve been on the fence who first, when Blasey Ford came out, went against Kavanaugh. Now then got a little wobbly as more people-
Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Cokie Roberts (03:23:36):
… Joe Manchin in West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. But the fact is I think this will shore them up so that it does get to those two Republican women and maybe Jeff Flake. But the other thing I’m sure they’re doing is running, tracking polls as this is going on, and what they’ve had so much trouble with and the polls going into today, showing the women, even Republican women, not as a
PART 6 OF 18 ENDS [03:24:04]
Cokie Roberts (03:24:00):
Even Republican women, not as much behind Kavanaugh as Republican men-
The question is, will he be able to start to turn that around and stem that tide when he has his chance later this afternoon-
Cokie Roberts (03:24:12):
But they’ve got elections to worry about. This is not just about the Supreme Court nomination. They’ve got to worry about what happens in six weeks.
Terry Moran (03:24:20):
Well, they do have to worry about elections. And they also have to worry about this cultural moment, which feeds into that. However, I am reminded, having covered the Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas hearings, myself, how that day went. Anita Hill took the stand with her strength of character, her poise, her courage in spelling out, at a very different time in the mores of our country, explicit things that she said had happened to her. And the sense was, game over. There’s no way Clarence Thomas becomes a justice of the Supreme Court-
That’s true, and I remember that time well as well, Terry. But the difference was that at the end of that testimony, the public believed him, not her.
Terry Moran (03:25:00):
That’s it. But we were a different country then, weren’t we? I think people do forget that fact, George, which is that polls immediately afterwards showed, oddly, that almost by a two to one… Or not, oddly, I suppose, depends on one’s point of view. By two to one margin, the public found Clarence Thomas more believable than Anita Hill. Now, it’s completely shifted. And there was no difference, very little difference, between men and women. It was partisanship, and it was where the public was on that. But also, it was a different country. People were just learning about these issues, which we are hearing so eloquently from our colleagues, and on our Twitter feeds, and our families about, this is a moment of reckoning again, 20, some years later, that I don’t think can be ignored this time.
And David Muir, in that room. In that Senate Judiciary Committee right now, only three members there, the chairman, Senator Grassley the ranking Republican, Senator Hatch, and Senator Leahy, the ranking Democrat, who were actually on the committee during the Anita Hill hearings.
David Muir (03:25:56):
And as you mentioned, George, still ahead in these hearings are the folks who perhaps have 2020 dreams of at least running for the presidency. I’m also struck by the number of senators up here on the Hill, who are watching in their offices, equally as close as the senators, obviously, in that room. There’s been so much attention paid to the Democrats up for reelection in states that Donald Trump won handily in red states. But the focus has really turned, as this week has worn on, and particularly with the testimony today, to these Republicans, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins. There were protests outside her office all this week.
David Muir (03:26:30):
The pressure is mounting for them. Jeff flake, who said just a short time ago, that he is still listening to her every word, has not made up his mind. And George, we saw that quote from Lisa Murkowski earlier this week. And I thought it said it all, about where her head was at going into today’s hearing. She said, “We are in a place where it’s not about whether or not Judge Kavanaugh is qualified. It’s about whether or not, as a woman who has been a victim at some point in her life, will be believed.” And that was a thought that she delivered heading into this hearing.
And so far, no one has wanted to say that they don’t find her credible.
Dan Abrams (03:27:02):
So we’ve been talking about how the senators are watching this, how the president has watching this, how the public is watching this. What about how Brett Kavanaugh is watching this right now? Okay.
In Mike Pence’s office.
Dan Abrams (03:27:12):
Exactly. With advisers there talking about, moment by moment, how this has got to impact exactly how Brett Kavanaugh goes about testifying. And I’ve got to believe that they are saying to him, “You are going to have to be outraged. You’re going to have to be tough. You’re going to have to be vociferous in your denials of this. You’re going to have to have people believe that everything is at stake for you.” It’s the only way-
That’s what worked for Clarence Thomas.
Dan Abrams (03:27:42):
Yeah. And I think we’re going to see something similar here, because again, because he’s not going to be able to talk about the specifics. He’s going to have to talk about how he feels-
Cokie Roberts (03:27:50):
Well, with Clarence Thomas, there was the element of race. And so what you had, was him talking about a high tech lynching. And when you had that, that got a lot of the African American community behind-
Cokie Roberts (03:28:04):
Generally Democrats. And that is a really different situation. I don’t know what Brett Kavanaugh can bring to the table that’s like a high tech lynching.
Sunny Hostin (03:28:11):
And I do also wonder how Prosecutor Mitchell is going to handle his questioning. Because the one thing that I have found irreconcilable with the portrait that he painted for himself and of himself in the Fox news interview, which was, “I was a student athlete most concerned with community service and going to church.” [crosstalk 03:28:28] Well, there are a lot of questions about his alcohol usage. He outlines things in his yearbook. Is she going to question him about those things?
Let’s listen to Bob Corker right now, Republican Senator.
Sen. Bob Corker (03:28:37):
But again, I don’t think it makes a lot sense to make comments until it’s over.
Speaker 17 (03:28:40):
Based on what you’ve seen, do you think that there should still be a committee vote tomorrow?
Sen. Bob Corker (03:28:43):
Again, I’ll wait until I see the whole thing. But thank you for your understanding-
Speaker 18 (03:28:47):
Do you find her credible so far?
He wants no part of that right now. As some of the people have been wondering whether Corker was fully committed to voting for Kavanaugh going into this. Cecelia, Dan brings up the point that Kavanaugh’s going to be surrounded by advisors that are going to be urging him to be forceful, to be strong, as the president had wanted as well. But we do know from some reporting on his practice sessions, coming into this picks up on Sunny’s point, that when he started to be asked about drinking, about other kinds of activity, about the yearbook, not excited about answering them. That’s when he would get irritated and bristle.
Cecilia Vega (03:29:19):
Yeah, exactly. But we also know that these practice sessions went on and on and on, and he is probably getting them right now behind the scenes. I just don’t know how he comes out at this point and responds directly to the testimony that has been laid out.
I’m sorry. We have Senator Leahy. Now he wanted to walk by too.
Cecilia Vega (03:29:41):
The question right now is, I think, will the Republicans and this White House, particularly… How will they respond to this public pressure? As we are all watching this and seeing this cultural moment mount much more so today, I think even, than it has in the days leading up to this-
Cokie Roberts (03:29:56):
Cecilia Vega (03:29:57):
… how can they possibly vote on this tomorrow? And what is the White House going to say when they are faced with this question? So far, they don’t have a comment, and I don’t know that they can get away with not commenting on this in the next few hours.
The flip side, Jon Karl, and the reason they’ve wanted to rush this through so badly, is that Republicans know that Democrats remember what happened to Merrick Garland, that he was not allowed to even get a hearing throughout the last year of President Obama’s presidency. We’re already at the point now, where, if for some reason, Brett Kavanaugh had to withdraw, it’s virtually impossible that you could have a replacement in before the elections. And then you face the prospect, perhaps, that Democrats, the majority flips and President Trump at least has the prospect of not getting a second pick.
Jonathan Karl (03:30:39):
Oh, absolutely. And we’ve heard from Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, worried about how the midterms are looking in terms of the Senate. Remember, it’s a one seat Republican majority. They face a very favorable a map in the midterm elections, but it is not inconceivable that the Democrats could gain control of the Senate and face exactly that, denying a chance to have President Trump nominate a second Supreme Court justice.
Dan Abrams (03:31:11):
For Two years though?
That’s the question, yeah.
Dan Abrams (03:31:11):
We’re not talking about the possibility that for two years? [crosstalk 03:31:12]-
Cokie Roberts (03:31:11):
But maybe you then send up a different type of nominee.
Dan Abrams (03:31:16):
That becomes the issue. But then the question becomes, will this president negotiate. Right? Because that’s the way past presidents have done it. They’ve negotiated with the Senate. They’ve said, “Is this person acceptable? Is this person acceptable?” I don’t know that-
Cecilia Vega (03:31:28):
Do you see that happening in this one?
Dan Abrams (03:31:29):
Well, that’s my point. Now imagine that that’s a Democratic Senate. I don’t know that President Trump would be willing to do that. And then you really do have a stalemate.
Cokie Roberts (03:31:37):
I think they’re also very, very worried about their base. What you had last week in Washington was the Values Voters Summit there with everybody there ginning up the Republicans, pro-Kavanaugh. And don’t you dare step back from him, and don’t you dare, in any way, seem like you’re not going to go full speed ahead-
Well, and that gets to the question of if, for some reason… And again, we have not heard from Brett Kavanaugh here. But if for some reason, this would not go forward, is the reaction on the Republican side, “Oh, this is the reason we have to come out and fight in the midterms-”
Cokie Roberts (03:32:08):
Or is it-
… “or defeat. And we are going to give up.”
Cokie Roberts (03:32:10):
Right. Right. We obviously don’t know the answer.
Terry Moran (03:32:16):
This seat that Justice Anthony Kennedy occupied as a swing vote, sometimes going with liberal, sometimes with conservative, more often with conservative. This is the crown jewel of Republican politics for the better part of the last half century. The Court, shifting it to the right decisively, has been one of the things that unites all Republicans. And that in fact, has driven them to the polls. It’s one of the main reasons Donald Trump is president of the United States. They are not going to back down. There’s a lame duck session in between the election and the new Congress, which will come after the first of the year. They’ll confirm Trump’s nominee then, and they’ll ram it through. They are livid about the way this process has unfolded. If Kavanaugh does withdraw, they’re going to steamroll the next one through-
And that’s going to get to the question too, Jon Karl, of who they are going to blame. Do they blame the president? Do they blame the Republican leadership in the Senate? Do they blame Brett Kavanaugh?
Jonathan Karl (03:33:10):
Well, I think that the first question is, who is the president going to blame on this? I think publicly, you will see him, if this goes down, launch an attack on Democrats. You will also hear him, perhaps publicly as well, blame how Republicans led this. But what I am hearing by folks close to the president, is that he is unhappy with his own team that helped him guide this confirmation process. Don McGahn is his White House council. Leonard Leo, with the Federalist Society. They strongly pushed him in the direction of picking Brett Kavanaugh. And I think that what I am hearing is that he is upset that they didn’t know about this-
Cokie Roberts (03:33:48):
Against Mitch McConnell’s advice.
And you started to hear some early, even before today’s hearing, Jon Karl, some rumblings behind the scenes. “Oh, Brett Kavanaugh is a Bush guy. We don’t pick Bush guys. This is not the guy that I wanted.” And that’s getting a little louder.
Jonathan Karl (03:34:08):
Absolutely. And there were two other names in place. One of those was Amy Coney Barrett, obviously, a woman. Somebody who was seen as the choice of the right and somebody that Trump was tempted to pick, was seen as a riskier pick because she is very, very conservative. Another finalist was Thomas Hardiman, who, our understanding is the president’s own sister, the judge, was in favor of. And he was pushed in the direction of Brett Kavanaugh on the idea that Brett Kavanaugh would be easier to confirm and would be a reliable, conservative vote, but one who was easier to confirm. By the way, on Terry’s point… Terry, if I can disagree a little bit. What I am hearing, in terms of a lame duck confirmation, even Republican leaders, people pushing hard for this, think that the idea of getting a different nominee through on a lame duck is virtually impossible.
The Democrats will find a way to stop. To pick up on one of the points that Jon is making, Cecelia, Don McGahn, the president’s counsel, who we know is a strong ally of Kavanaugh, probably the hardest person pushing for him inside. He was supposed to leave the White House right after the midterm elections, right after Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed. Again, if you look ahead to the possibility after the midterms, that they might have to go through this again, it’s going to be done with an entirely new team in the White House and all kinds of other changes.
Cecilia Vega (03:35:41):
Well oiled machine, George. That’s the go-to line for them, that they’ve got everything in place. Jon Karl is exactly right. President Trump, I guarantee, will come out swinging on this one, and he will be pointing blame. And on the reverse side, the Republicans will quietly and privately point blame right back at him. They will say, and I’ve spoken with sources leading up to this, that he didn’t stick to the plan on this. He was not supposed to get involved. Mitch McConnell had been asking him repeatedly to sort of stay out of this one. And then that tweet on Friday… He had been measured until that point. And in the days since then, sort of measured, but he didn’t stay out of it. And he used those words that really seem to be bashing Christine Blasey Ford and really taking Kavanaugh’s side. And Republicans are going to point the blame at him and say that he added fuel to the fire on this one and didn’t really help the cause.
Sunny Hostin (03:36:29):
Can I mention this? I know a few of you were saying that Kavanaugh wasn’t Trump’s choice. But if you think about it, Kavanaugh wrote, “The president shouldn’t be distracted by criminal investigations.” No doubt in my mind that President Trump chose him for this, as Trump views the Mueller probe as some sort a of burden-
That was a selling point.
Cokie Roberts (03:36:49):
Sunny Hostin (03:36:49):
And so the notion that he doesn’t want Kavanaugh, I think, may be a little bit misguided. Because why not have someone that doesn’t believe a president should be impeached?
Dan Abrams (03:36:57):
[crosstalk 03:36:57] He’s going to claim he doesn’t want them if this goes down. I think the argument, right, is that he’s going to say, “I was never really sold.”
Cokie Roberts, I grew up in the political world where rapid response meant within the same news cycle, 8 or 10 hours. I just got this from Senator Hatch’s spokesperson.
Cokie Roberts (03:37:13):
Yes. I was just about to say it as well.
Hatch uses attractive to describe personality, not appearances. If you search his past quotes, you’ll see he’s used it consistently for years, for men and women.
Cokie Roberts (03:37:22):
Right. I just about to say the same thing, too. Since this is Senator Hatch… I’m the person who brought up the attractive-
Sen. Patrick Leahy (03:37:29):
Everything she says makes you wonder, why have they refused to-
Cokie Roberts (03:37:29):
and we did get that response immediately.
Let’s hear Senator Leahy-
Sen. Patrick Leahy (03:37:32):
… bring forward the other two women who made these complaints. Why have they refused to bring forward Mr. Judge, who is somebody who was sitting at their beach house? And why haven’t they done the background check with the FBI that we always do? Did they learn nothing from the Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill matter? Nothing?
Mary Bruce (03:37:57):
What are you looking to hear from Judge Kavanaugh?
Sen. Patrick Leahy (03:37:59):
Well, we’ll see what he says. Right now, we have very compelling witnesses that this took place. And we have the Republicans refusing to bring in the third person who was there. It makes you wonder what he can say.
Speaker 19 (03:38:15):
Should you guys still hold a vote on Friday? Should you still hold a-
Sen. Patrick Leahy (03:38:19):
No. They’re rushing-
Speaker 19 (03:38:20):
Come tell us over here.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (03:38:22):
This thing is being rushed more than I’ve ever seen before in my years here. Even with Clarence Thomas, we stopped lng enough to get a FBI report done. We’ve got two other women who have come forward. We have an eye witness to what happened. You have no FBI background. Take a couple weeks. What difference does it make? We’re talking about a lifetime appointment, and these are the people that held up Merrick Garland, a highly qualified person, for over a year. What’s the rush? If you’re not trying to hide anything, why rush?
Mary Bruce (03:39:04):
But you’ve heard Republican leaders. They’re insistent that they want to hold this vote soon. What gives you any indication that they’re going to delay?
Sen. Patrick Leahy (03:39:10):
I don’t have any. All the testimony and the evidence that’s coming out is harmful to Kavanaugh. I suspect they don’t want any more to come out.
Speaker 19 (03:39:20):
Thank you, Senator.
Mary Bruce (03:39:21):
Thank you, Senator.
Mary Bruce, while you’re there, we just heard you talking to Senator Leahy right there. And the Democrats have a pretty consistent talking point that they shouldn’t move quickly on this. And on the Republican side, we spent a lot of time talking about those three senators we talked about at the beginning: Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Jeff Flake. I’m interested, though, in something just coming in from Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, answering a question saying that she finds Dr. Ford’s testimony riveting.
Mary Bruce (03:39:53):
Yeah. And that is incredibly interesting to hear that coming from her as well. Look, Republicans, from their reaction so far, has been very careful, very cautious. It’s notable how many are simply not commenting yet. They’re waiting to hear the rest of today play out. See, of course, what Judge Kavanaugh has to say as well. And look, you have even some of Judge Kavanaugh’s most ardent supporters, like Orrin Hatch saying, and I quote, “I don’t find her uncredible.” I’ll let you digest that one. But you also have to have folks like Senator Ted Cruz, who’s on the panel, who of course is in a tight reelection race right now, saying that it’s important that Dr. Ford was heard, but also saying that it’s important that Kavanaugh be heard too. Republicans right now, many of them seeming to reserve judgment, but also interesting that not only are we, of course, focused on those key swing votes, but you are also hearing clearly some reservations from some other Republicans as well.
And Cecelia Vega, more reaction now from the White House on background?
Cecilia Vega (03:40:46):
Yeah. This is coming in from our Justin Fishel in Washington, who’s reporting that a senior White House official tells him, ‘This seems like a situation of emotion versus facts.” So this is the spin, at least for now, coming out of the White House, the early spin. This official telling Justin Fishel, ” Our testimony is emotional and compelling. Her testimony, rather, is emotional and compelling, but she has very significant gaps in her memory.” And of course, this official is raising questions about whether this will change Republican minds. And we will, right now, see.
But then, when asked if the White House was happy with the prosecutor’s performance?
Cecilia Vega (03:41:18):
Wouldn’t go that far.
Would not go that far. Dr. Blasey Ford is back in the hearing room, right now, flanked by her attorney, Michael Bromwich. As we said, about 10 senators left to question Dr. Blasey Ford. She’s smiling now. Has had moments of emotion all through this hearing, seems to tear up most when being praised by senators and thanked by senators for coming forward. We will see now in this afternoon, whether they stick with the strategy of having Rachel Mitchell ask the questions of Dr. Ford, as Mary Bruce reported earlier-
Sen. Chuck Grassley (03:41:53):
Dr. Ford, you tell me when you’re ready-
… some of the most vociferous Democrats ready to ask questions. Senator Grassley asking if Dr. Ford is ready. She asked for one more minute-
Christine Ford (03:42:00):
I’m just organizing my papers. I’ll be ready-
Dan Abrams (03:42:02):
Look how much more relaxed she seems now-
Christine Ford (03:42:04):
… in 20 seconds. Thank you.
Dan Abrams (03:42:04):
… than at the beginning of this proceeding.
Yeah, she said she was terrified at the beginning. But all through that… Yeah, she seems relaxed now. And Cokie, you were making this point earlier. All through that, in some ways, incredibly natural.
Cokie Roberts (03:42:18):
Totally. Completely natural. And that makes it much harder to paint her as some sort of tool who has been put forward by the liberal elites-
Christine Ford (03:42:29):
And she just said she’s ready. Let’s listen.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (03:42:30):
Sen. Mazie Hirono (03:42:33):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, is it your intent to cede all Republican senators time to your prosecutor, rather than they themselves ceding their time to her?
Sen. Chuck Grassley (03:42:42):
Sen. Mazie Hirono (03:42:44):
We all know that the prosecutor, even though this clearly is not a criminal proceeding, is asking Dr. Ford all kinds of questions about what happened before and after, but basically not during the attack. The prosecutor should know that sexual assault survivors often do not remember peripheral information, such as what happened before or after the traumatic event. And yet, she will persist in asking these questions, all to undermine the memory, and basically, the credibility of Dr. Ford. But we all know Dr. Ford’s memory of the assault is very clear. Dr. Ford, the Republicans’ prosecutor has asked you all kinds of questions about who you called and when, asking details that would be asked in a cross examination of a witness in a criminal trial. But this is not a criminal proceeding. This is a confirmation proceeding. I think I know what she’s trying to get at. So I’ll just ask you very plainly, Dr. Ford, is there a political motivation for your coming forward with your account of the assault by Brett Kavanaugh?
Christine Ford (03:43:57):
No. And I’d like to reiterate that, again, I was trying to get the information to you while there was still a list of other-
Sen. Mazie Hirono (03:44:06):
Christine Ford (03:44:06):
What looked like equally qualified candidates.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (03:44:11):
And yet, they’re not here to testify. Dr. Ford, I’d like to join my colleagues who have thanked you for coming forward today. And I and we all, admire you for what you’re doing. And I understand why you have come forward. You wanted us and the American people to know what you knew about the character of the man we are considering for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. I want to take a moment, also, to note the significant personal sacrifices you’ve made to come forward, to share your traumatic experience with us and the American people. You’ve had to move. You’ve had death threats, all manner of, basically, re-victimization experiences have come your ways. But by coming forward, you have inserted the question of character into this nomination and hopefully back into American life, and rightly so. We should be made to face the question of who it is we are putting in positions of power and decision making in this country. We should look the questions square in the face. Does character matter?
Sen. Mazie Hirono (03:45:21):
Do our values, our real values, about what is right and what is wrong and about whether we treat our fellow human beings with dignity and respect… Do they matter anymore? I believe they do. And I believe the reaction we have seen to this coverage right now and your courage, all over this country shows us that we’re not alone. You’re not alone. That women and men all across America are disgusted, and sick and tired of the way basic human decency has been driven from our public life. The president admits on tape to assaulting women. He separates children from their parents. He takes basic healthcare protections from those who need them most. He nominates and stands behind a man who stands credibly accused of a horrible act. I, again, want to thank you for coming forward. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that six items, consisting of various statements, letters, fact sheet posts are inserted into the record.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (03:46:26):
Is that one request, or you want me to wait for six?
Sen. Mazie Hirono (03:46:29):
Well, I have six separate items.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (03:46:32):
Sen. Mazie Hirono (03:46:32):
Because I can go over them for you.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (03:46:34):
Sen. Mazie Hirono (03:46:36):
I would like to-
Sen. Chuck Grassley (03:46:37):
Let me not interrupt you. Your request is accepted without objection.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (03:46:42):
Thank you. And I would like to read from an item that has already been entered into the record. But this is from a letter from the National Task Force to end sexual and domestic violence. The letter states, and I quote this letter, “This moment has become a crucible. It’s a test of our progress. Do we start by believing victims of sexual assault and treating them with dignity or don’t we? So far, Senate leaders are failing that test, prejudging the outcome of the hearing, sympathizing with her perpetrator, attacking her credibility. They send a message to every victim of sexual violence that their pain doesn’t matter, that they do not deserve justice, and that for them, fair treatment is out of reach. This will only serve to drive victims into the shadows and further embolden abusers.” Once again, Dr. Ford, thank you very much. This is a moment for our country. Mahalo.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (03:47:49):
Okay. Ms. Mitchell for Senator Crapo.
Rachel Mitchell (03:47:55):
Christine Ford (03:47:57):
Rachel Mitchell (03:47:58):
When we left off, we were still talking about the polygraph, and I believe you said it hasn’t been paid for yet. Is that correct?
Debra Katz (03:48:09):
Let me put an end to this mystery. Her lawyers have paid for her polygraph.
Rachel Mitchell (03:48:17):
Speaker 20 (03:48:17):
As his routine.
Debra Katz (03:48:19):
As his routine.
Rachel Mitchell (03:48:22):
Dr. Ford, do you expect the price of that polygraph to be passed on to you?
Christine Ford (03:48:29):
I’m not sure yet. I haven’t taken a look at all of the costs involved in this. We’ve relocated, now, twice. So I haven’t kept track of all of that paperwork, but I’m sure I have a lot of work to do to catch up on all of that later.
Rachel Mitchell (03:48:44):
I get you have a lot going on, and you’ve had that for several months. But is it your understanding that someone else is going to assist you with some of these fees, including the cost for your polygraph?
Christine Ford (03:48:59):
I’m aware that there has been several GoFundMe sites, that I haven’t had a chance to figure out how to manage those, because I’ve never had one-
Rachel Mitchell (03:49:06):
And I’m sorry.
Christine Ford (03:49:06):
… done for me.
Rachel Mitchell (03:49:07):
Christine Ford (03:49:09):
GoFundMe [crosstalk 03:49:10] sites that have raised money, primarily, for our security detail. So I’m not even quite sure how to collect that money or how to distribute it yet. I haven’t been able to focus on that.
Rachel Mitchell (03:49:21):
Okay. In your testimony this morning, you stated that Senator Feinstein sent you a letter on August 31st of this year. Is that right?
Christine Ford (03:49:40):
August 31st. Let me see. I sent her a letter on July 30th. And I don’t have the date… I’d have to pull up my email to find out the date of her email to me saying that, it was right before the hearings, that she was going to maintain the confidentiality of the letter.
Rachel Mitchell (03:50:10):
Say that again. It was until right before the hearings that what?
Christine Ford (03:50:12):
That’s my memory, but I can look it up for you if you would like the exact date. I could pull it up on my email.
Rachel Mitchell (03:50:17):
Yeah. I want to make sure-
Speaker 20 (03:50:19):
You have the date, counsel.
Rachel Mitchell (03:50:20):
I want to make sure I understood what you said.
Debra Katz (03:50:23):
That document’s been turned over in response to a request for documents. You have it.
Rachel Mitchell (03:50:29):
Thank you, counsel. I want to make sure I understood what you said. Was it your understanding it was going to be kept confidential up until right before the hearing?
Christine Ford (03:50:41):
It was my understanding that it was going to be kept confidential, period.
Rachel Mitchell (03:50:45):
Period? Okay. Between your polygraph on August the 7th and your receipt of the letter from Senator Feinstein, did you or anyone on your behalf speak to any member of Congress or congressional staff about these allegations?
Christine Ford (03:51:09):
I personally did not.
Rachel Mitchell (03:51:12):
So my question was, did you or anybody on your behalf?
Christine Ford (03:51:16):
What do you mean? Did someone speak for me?
Rachel Mitchell (03:51:18):
Somebody that is working with you or helping you. Did somebody at your behest, on your behalf, speak to somebody in Congress or a staff?
Christine Ford (03:51:29):
I’m not sure. I’m not sure how those exchanges went, but I didn’t speak to anyone.
Rachel Mitchell (03:51:35):
Okay. Is it possible that somebody did?
Christine Ford (03:51:38):
I think so. It would be possible. I’m guessing it would be possible, but I don’t know.
Rachel Mitchell (03:51:47):
Debra Katz (03:51:49):
Excuse me. You’ve asked her not to guess, and now you’re asking her what’s possible. So I think if you want to ask her what she knows, you should ask her what she knows.
Rachel Mitchell (03:51:57):
Is that an objection, counsel?
Debra Katz (03:51:59):
It is an objection-
Rachel Mitchell (03:51:59):
I’ll have the chair rule on that.
Christine Ford (03:52:01):
I don’t understand.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (03:52:15):
You should answer the question unless there’s a legal reason for not answering it, on advice of your counsel.
Christine Ford (03:52:21):
So I don’t totally understand the question, but I didn’t speak with anyone during that timeframe other than my counsel.
Rachel Mitchell (03:52:28):
Okay. You’ve said repeatedly that you did not think that that letter that you wrote on July 30th was going to be released to the public. Is that correct?
Christine Ford (03:52:41):
Rachel Mitchell (03:52:43):
And is it true that you did not authorize it to be released at any time?
Christine Ford (03:52:49):
Rachel Mitchell (03:52:50):
Okay. Besides your attorneys, you provided that letter to Senator Feinstein. Is that correct?
Christine Ford (03:52:58):
I provided her a letter on July 30th.
Rachel Mitchell (03:53:01):
We’re talking about the July 30th letter.
Christine Ford (03:53:03):
Rachel Mitchell (03:53:04):
And you provided that letter to Senator Feinstein-
Christine Ford (03:53:06):
Rachel Mitchell (03:53:07):
Correct? Is that a yes?
Christine Ford (03:53:08):
Rachel Mitchell (03:53:09):
And you provided the letter to Representative Eshoo to deliver it to Senator Feinstein?
Christine Ford (03:53:16):
Rachel Mitchell (03:53:16):
Besides those two individuals, Representative Eshoo and Senator Feinstein, and your attorneys, did you provide that letter to anyone else?
Christine Ford (03:53:27):
Rachel Mitchell (03:53:32):
Do you know how that letter became public?
Christine Ford (03:53:36):
Rachel Mitchell (03:53:37):
Okay. After that letter was made public or leaked, did you reach back out to the Washington Post?
Debra Katz (03:53:56):
Speaker 20 (03:53:56):
Christine Ford (03:53:59):
I reached out to the Washington… Well, they were continuously reaching out to me, and I was not responding. But the time that I did respond and agree to do the sit down, was once the reporters started showing up at my home and at my workplace.
Rachel Mitchell (03:54:16):
Sen. Chuck Grassley (03:54:16):
Sen. Cory Booker (03:54:19):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Dr. Ford, thank you for being here. I just want to remind everyone that this is not a courtroom. This is not a legal proceeding. You are here under your own volition. And though the prosecutor has been engaged here to represent my colleagues, you’re here, as you said, out of a civic duty. And I want to join my colleagues, that it’s really more than that. Our founding documents talk about civic duty, or Declaration of Independence talks about, “for this country, pledging your lives, your fortunes, and your sacred honor.” And anybody who’s read your testimony knows what you’ve had to sacrifice by coming forward. Your life has been upended. You have received vicious, hateful threats, death threats.
Sen. Cory Booker (03:55:09):
You’ve had to move out of your family home, to some expense I imagine, to you and your family. You’ve had to engage security to some expense. You’ve had to deal with incredible challenges. And what’s amazing, and I want to join my colleagues in thanking you for your courage and bravery in coming forward, all to help us deal with one of the most important obligations a Senator has, to advise and consent on one of the branches of our government, the highest courts in the land, an individual going before a lifetime appointment. And you even said that the president had a lot of folks on that list, and your fear was that this individual who assaulted you would ascend to that seat. That’s correct. Right?
Christine Ford (03:55:58):
Sen. Cory Booker (03:55:58):
Yes. And it is correct that you have given a lot of resources, taken a lot of threats to come forward. Correct?
Christine Ford (03:56:04):
Sen. Cory Booker (03:56:05):
Assault on your dignity and your humanity?
Christine Ford (03:56:08):
Sen. Cory Booker (03:56:09):
How has it affected your children?
Christine Ford (03:56:12):
They’re doing fairly well, considering. Thank you for asking.
Sen. Cory Booker (03:56:15):
And your husband?
Christine Ford (03:56:16):
Doing fairly well, considering. Yeah. Thank you. We have a very supportive community.
Sen. Cory Booker (03:56:21):
That’s good to hear. I want to use a different word for your courage because this is more… As much as this hearing is about a Supreme Court justice, the reality is, by you coming forward, your courage, you are affecting the culture of our country. We have a wonderful nation, an incredible culture, but there are dark elements that allow unacceptable levels of sexual assault and harassment that are affecting girls and boys, and affecting men and women, from big media outlets to corporations, to factory floors, to servers in restaurants, to our intimate spaces in homes and apartments all around this country.
Sen. Cory Booker (03:57:06):
I stepped out during the break and was deluged with notes from friends all around the country. Social media posts that 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, 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. And for that, the word I would use, it’s nothing short of heroic. Because what you’re doing for our nation right now, besides giving testimony germane to one of the most sacred obligations of our office, is you are speaking truth that this country needs to understand. And how we deal with survivors who come forward right now is unacceptable. And the way we deal with this, unfortunately, allows for the continued dark…
PART 7 OF 18 ENDS [03:58:04]
Sen. Cory Booker (03:58:00):
…unfortunately allows for the continued darkness of this culture to exist. And your brilliance, shining light onto this, speaking your truth is nothing short of heroic. But to the matter at hand, one of my colleagues who I have a lot of respect for, and I do consider him a friend, went to the Senate floor and spoke truth to both sides of the political aisle. Senator Flake said yesterday, “This is a lifetime appointment. And this is said to be a deliberative body. In the interest of due diligence and fairness, her claims must be fully aired and considered.” I agree with him, but you’ve asked for things that would give a full airing from corroborating witnesses to be called. You’ve submitted to an intrusive polygraph test. Can you answer for me, how do you feel that all the things that could have been done thoroughly to help this deliberative body have not been honored in this so-called investigation?
Christine Ford (03:59:09):
I wish that I could be more helpful, and that others could be more helpful, and that we could collaborate in a way that would get at more information.
Sen. Cory Booker (03:59:20):
Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, I’d just like to introduce, for the record, seven letters from Lambda Legal, from Mormon Women for Ethical Government, youth led organizations around this country, the International Unions of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, a letter from 295 survivors of sexual violence in support of Dr. Ford, and a letter from 1,600 men to campaign in support of Dr. Ford, and those who want to assert, men and women, that survivors of sexual violence are not opportunists. Do not have political axes to grind, but are coming forward with courage and with heart to speak their truth and try to end the scourge of sexual assault and violence in our country.
Chuck Grassley (04:00:06):
Without objection, so ordered. Senator Tillis. Ms. Mitchell for Senator Tillis.
Rachel Mitchell (04:00:18):
Dr. Ford in choosing attorneys, did anyone help you with the choice on who to choose?
Christine Ford (04:00:26):
Various people referred me to lawyers that they knew in the Washington D.C. Area. So as you know, I grew up in this area, so I asked some family members and friends and they referred me to divorce attorneys that might know somebody that might know somebody. And I ended up interviewing several law firms from the D.C. area.
Rachel Mitchell (04:00:51):
And did anybody besides friends and family refer you to any attorneys?
Christine Ford (04:00:58):
I think that the staff of Dianne Feinstein’s office suggested the possibility of some attorneys.
Rachel Mitchell (04:01:05):
Okay. Including the two that are sitting on either side of you?
Christine Ford (04:01:09):
Not both of them. No.
Rachel Mitchell (04:01:10):
Rachel Mitchell (04:01:16):
We’ve heard a lot about FBI investigations. When did you personally first request an FBI investigation?
Christine Ford (04:01:35):
I guess when we first started talking about the possibility of a hearing, I was hoping that there would be a more thorough investigation.
Rachel Mitchell (04:01:43):
Would that investigation have been something that you would have submitted to an interview?
Christine Ford (04:01:48):
I would be happy to cooperate with the FBI, yes.
Rachel Mitchell (04:01:51):
Would you have been happy to submit to an interview by staff members from this committee?
Christine Ford (04:01:58):
Rachel Mitchell (04:01:59):
Okay. You mentioned some GoFundMe accounts, besides those, are there any other efforts outside of your own personal finances to pay for your legal fees or any of the costs incurred?
Christine Ford (04:02:20):
It’s my understanding that some of my team is working on a pro bono basis, but I don’t know the exact details. And there are members of the community in Palo Alto that have the means to contribute, to help me with the security detail, et cetera.
Rachel Mitchell (04:02:39):
Have you been provided-
Speaker 21 (04:02:41):
I think I can help you with that. Both co-counsel are doing this pro bono. We are not being paid and we have no expectation of being paid.
Rachel Mitchell (04:02:49):
Thank you, Counsel. Have you seen any of the questions that I was going to ask you today?
Christine Ford (04:02:57):
Rachel Mitchell (04:02:57):
You’ve been asked a few questions by other people as well. Have you seen any of those questions in advance?
Christine Ford (04:03:05):
Rachel Mitchell (04:03:05):
Have you been told them in advance?
Christine Ford (04:03:07):
Rachel Mitchell (04:03:08):
And likewise with my questions, have you been told my questions in advance?
Christine Ford (04:03:11):
Rachel Mitchell (04:03:12):
Okay. You mentioned about some possible information such as when Mark Judge worked at the supermarket. I want to ask you about someone else. You mentioned that there was a classmate who was really sort of the connection between you and Brett Kavanaugh. Who was this person?
Christine Ford (04:03:38):
I think that that case with Mr. Waylon, who was looking at my LinkedIn page and then trying to blame the person, I just don’t feel like it’s right for us to be talking about that.
Rachel Mitchell (04:03:50):
I’m not trying to blame anybody. I just want to know who the common friend that you and-
Christine Ford (04:03:55):
The person that Mr. Waylon was trying to say looked like Mr. Kavanaugh.
Rachel Mitchell (04:04:00):
Rachel Mitchell (04:04:02):
How long did you know this person?
Christine Ford (04:04:06):
Maybe for a couple of months we socialized, but he also was a member of the same country club and I knew his younger brother as well.
Rachel Mitchell (04:04:14):
Rachel Mitchell (04:04:16):
So a couple months before this took place?
Christine Ford (04:04:20):
Rachel Mitchell (04:04:20):
Okay. How would you characterize your relationship with him, both before and after this took place? This person?
Christine Ford (04:04:31):
He was somebody that we use the phrase “I went out with”, I wouldn’t say date, I went out with for a few months. That was how we termed it at the time. And after that, we were distant friends and ran into each other periodically at Columbia Country Club. But I didn’t see him often. But I saw his brother and him several times.
Rachel Mitchell (04:04:55):
Was this person the only a common link between you and judge Kavanaugh?
Christine Ford (04:05:02):
He’s the only one that I would be able to name right now, that I would like to not name, but you know who I mean. But there are certainly other members of Columbia Country Club that were common friends, or they were more acquaintances of mine and friends of Mr. Kavanaugh.
Rachel Mitchell (04:05:19):
Okay. Can you describe all of the other social interactions that you had with Mr. Kavanaugh?
Christine Ford (04:05:31):
Briefly, yes, I can. There were, during freshmen and sophomore year, particularly my sophomore year which would have been his junior year of high school, four to five parties that my friends and I attended that were attended also by him.
Rachel Mitchell (04:05:45):
Okay. Did anything happen at these events like we’re talking about? Besides the time we’re talking about?
Chuck Grassley (04:05:56):
You can answer that question then I’ll go to the Senator Harris. Go ahead and answer that question.
Christine Ford (04:06:00):
There was no sexual assault at any of those events. Is that what you’re asking?
Rachel Mitchell (04:06:03):
Christine Ford (04:06:04):
Yes. Those were just parties.
Rachel Mitchell (04:06:06):
Or anything inappropriate is what I meant.
Christine Ford (04:06:09):
Yeah. Well, maybe we can go into more detail when there’s more time. I feel time pressure on that question.
Rachel Mitchell (04:06:14):
Christine Ford (04:06:14):
Yeah. I’m happy to answer it in further detail if you want me to.
Chuck Grassley (04:06:22):
I’m sorry. Go ahead and finish answering your question.
Christine Ford (04:06:22):
Oh, okay. Did you want me to describe those parties? Or…
Speaker 22 (04:06:29):
Shouldn’t [crosstalk 04:06:30] move this to the next round, Mr. Chairman?
Chuck Grassley (04:06:34):
Answer the question.
Christine Ford (04:06:35):
I’m just happy to describe them if you wanted me to, and I’m happy to not. It’s just whatever you want.
Rachel Mitchell (04:06:41):
Maybe this will..
Christine Ford (04:06:41):
Whatever is your preference.
Rachel Mitchell (04:06:43):
…cut to the chase. My question is, was there anything else that was sexually inappropriate? Any inappropriate sexual behavior on the part of Mr. Kavanaugh towards you at any of these other functions?
Christine Ford (04:06:55):
Rachel Mitchell (04:06:55):
Chuck Grassley (04:06:57):
Senator Harris (04:06:59):
Dr. Ford, first of all, just so we can level set. You know you are not on trial. You are not on trial. You are sitting here before members of the United States Senate’s Judiciary Committee because you had the courage to come forward. Because as you have said, you believe it was your civic duty. I was struck in your testimony by what you indicated as your intention when you first let anyone associated with these hearings know about it. And what you basically said is you reached out to your representative in the United States Congress, hoping that person would inform the White House before Judge Kavanaugh had been named. That’s extremely persuasive about your motivation for coming forward. And so I want to thank you. I want to thank you for your courage. And I want to tell you, I believe you. I believe you. And I believe many Americans across this country believe you.
Senator Harris (04:08:05):
And what I find striking about your testimony is you remember key searing details of what happened to you. You told your husband and therapist, two of the most intimate of your confidants, and you told them years ago about this assault. You have shared your experience with multiple friends years after that and before these hearings ever started. I know having personally prosecuted sexual assault cases and child sexual assault cases that study after study shows trauma, shame, and the fear of consequences almost always cause survivors to at the very least delay reporting, if they ever report at all. Police recognize that. Prosecutors recognize that. Medical and mental health professionals recognize that. The notes from your therapy sessions were created long before this nomination and corroborate what you have said today. You have passed a polygraph and submitted the results to this committee. Judge Kavanaugh has not.
Senator Harris (04:09:16):
You have called for outside witnesses to testify and for expert witnesses to testify. Judge Kavanaugh has not. But most importantly, you have called for an independent FBI investigation into the facts. Judge Kavanaugh has not. And we owe you that. We owe the American people that. And let’s talk about why this is so important. Contrary to what has been said today, the FBI does not reach conclusions. The FBI investigates. It interviews witnesses, gathers facts, and then presents that information to the United States Senate for our consideration and judgment. This committee knows that, in spite of what you have been told. In 1991, during a similar hearing, one of my Republican colleagues in this committee stated these claims were taken seriously by having the Federal Bureau of Investigations launch an inquiry to determine their validity. The FBI fulfilled its duty and issued a confidential report. Well that could have, and should have, been done here.
Senator Harris (04:10:29):
This morning, it was said that this could have been investigated confidentially back in July, but this also could have been investigated in the last 11 days since you came forward. Yet that has not happened. The FBI could have interviewed Mark Judge, Patrick Smith, Leland Kaiser, you, and Judge Kavanaugh on these issues. The FBI could have examined various maps that have been presented by the prosecutor who stands in for the United States senators on this committee. The FBI could have gathered facts about the music or the conversation or any other details about the gathering that occurred that evening. That is standard procedure in a sexual assault case. In fact, the manual that was signed off by Ms. Mitchell, the manual that is posted on the Maricopa County attorney’s website as a guiding principle and best practices for what should happen with sexual assault cases highlights the details of what should happen in terms of the need for an objective investigation into any sexual assault case.
Senator Harris (04:11:36):
It says, quote, “effective investigation requires cooperation with a multidisciplinary team that includes medical professionals, victim advocates, dedicated forensic interviewers, criminalist, and other law enforcement members”. The manual also stresses the importance of obtaining outside witness information. You have bravely come forward. You have bravely come forward. And I want to thank you because you clearly have nothing to gain for what you have done. You have been a true patriot in fighting for the best of who we are as a country. I believe you are doing that because you love this country. And I believe history will show that you are a true profile in courage at this moment in time in the history of our country. And I thank you.
Chuck Grassley (04:12:22):
Senator Kennedy now. So proceed Ms. Mitchell.
Rachel Mitchell (04:12:29):
Dr. Ford. We’re almost done. Just a couple of cleanup questions. First of all, which of your two lawyers did Senator Feinstein’s office recommend?
Christine Ford (04:12:41):
Rachel Mitchell (04:12:42):
Christine Ford (04:12:43):
The Katz firm.
Rachel Mitchell (04:12:45):
Okay. And when you did leave that night, did Leland Kaiser, now Kaiser, ever follow up with you and say, “Hey, what happened to you?”
Christine Ford (04:12:58):
I have had communications with her recently.
Rachel Mitchell (04:13:02):
I’m talking about like the next day?
Christine Ford (04:13:04):
Oh. No, she didn’t know about the event. She was downstairs during the event and I did not share it with her.
Rachel Mitchell (04:13:12):
Are you aware that the three people at the party besides yourself and Brett Kavanaugh have given statements under penalty of felony to the committee?
Christine Ford (04:13:22):
Rachel Mitchell (04:13:22):
And are you aware of what those statements say?
Christine Ford (04:13:25):
Rachel Mitchell (04:13:26):
Are you aware that they say that they have no memory or knowledge of such a party?
Christine Ford (04:13:32):
Rachel Mitchell (04:13:35):
Do you have any particular motives to ascribe to Leland?
Christine Ford (04:13:40):
I guess we could take those one at a time. Leland has significant health challenges, and I’m happy that she’s focusing on herself and getting the health treatment that she needs. And she let me know that she needed her lawyer to take care of this for her. And she texted me right afterward with an apology and good wishes and et cetera. So I’m glad that she’s taking care of herself. I don’t expect that PJ and Leland would remember this evening. It was a very unremarkable party. It was not one of their more notorious parties, because nothing remarkable happened to them that evening. They were downstairs. And Mr. Judge is a different story. I would expect that he would remember that this happened.
Rachel Mitchell (04:14:35):
Understood. Senator Harris just questioned you from the Maricopa County protocol on sexual assault. That’s the paper she was holding up. Are you aware that, and I’ve been really impressed today because you’ve talked about norepinephrine and cortisol and what we call in the profession, basically the neurobiological effects of trauma. Have you also educated yourself on the best way to get to memory and truth in terms of interviewing victims of trauma?
Christine Ford (04:15:16):
For me interviewing victims of trauma?
Rachel Mitchell (04:15:19):
The best way to do it. The best practices for interviewing victims of trauma.
Christine Ford (04:15:25):
Rachel Mitchell (04:15:25):
Okay. Would you believe me if I told you that there’s no study that says that this setting in five minute increments is the best way to do that?
Speaker 21 (04:15:35):
We’ll stipulate to that.
Speaker 23 (04:15:36):
We can stipulate to that.
Rachel Mitchell (04:15:38):
Thank you counsel.
Speaker 23 (04:15:39):
Rachel Mitchell (04:15:42):
Did you know that the best way to do it is to have a trained interviewer talk to you one-on-one in a private setting and to let you do the talking? Just let you do a narrative. Did you know that?
Christine Ford (04:15:56):
That makes a lot of sense.
Rachel Mitchell (04:15:58):
Does make a lot of sense, doesn’t it?
Christine Ford (04:15:59):
Rachel Mitchell (04:15:59):
And then to follow up, obviously, to fill in the details and ask for clarification, does that make sense as well?
Christine Ford (04:16:06):
Rachel Mitchell (04:16:07):
And the research is done by a lot of people in the child abuse field. Two of the more prominent ones in the sexual assault field are Gisele and Fisher who’ve talked about it and it’s called the cognitive interview. This is not a cognitive interview. Did anybody ever advise you from Senator Feinstein’s office or from Representative Eshoo’s office to go get a forensic interview?
Christine Ford (04:16:38):
Rachel Mitchell (04:16:40):
Instead you were advised to get an attorney and take a polygraph, is that right?
Christine Ford (04:16:47):
Many people advised me to get an attorney. Once I had an attorney, my attorney and I discussed using the polygraph.
Rachel Mitchell (04:16:55):
And instead of submitting to an interview in California, we’re having a hearing here today in five minute increments. Is that right?
Christine Ford (04:17:07):
I agree that’s what was agreed upon by the collegial group here.
Rachel Mitchell (04:17:11):
Okay. Thank you. I have no further questions.
Chuck Grassley (04:17:16):
I have something to submit for the record. We received three statements under penalty of felony from three witnesses identified by Dr. Ford. Mark Judge, Leland Kaiser, and Patrick Smith. All three denied any knowledge of the incident or gathering described by Dr. Ford. Without objection, I’ll enter in the record.
Speaker 24 (04:17:41):
Mr. Chairman, I have something for the record as well. A number of letters from the witnesses. Family, friends, including her husband.
Chuck Grassley (04:17:52):
Okay. I’ll get to you just as soon as the ranking member.
Speaker 25 (04:17:55):
Mr. Chairman, I have three letters addressed to both you and the ranking member, and I’d ask that they be entered into the record.
Chuck Grassley (04:18:04):
Chuck Grassley (04:18:06):
And it’s also my understanding that Mr. Judge is not willing to come forward to answer our questions. As a result, we cannot test his memory or make any assessment of his thoughtfulness or character. And I think that’s why the failure to call him to testify is so very critical. And I hope the majority would reconsider that.
Chuck Grassley (04:18:29):
Okay. Senator Blumenthal?
Speaker 24 (04:18:31):
Mr. Chairman, I ask if you have sworn statements that you’re submitting for the record that we have those individuals come before us so that we can ask them questions about those statements. I think that the nature of this proceeding would be compromised if we lack an opportunity to ask them questions about sworn statements that will be part of the record. So frankly, Mr. Chairman, I would object to entering them in the record.
Speaker 26 (04:18:59):
Chuck Grassley (04:19:01):
Speaker 26 (04:19:03):
I have a number of letters that I would like to ask submitted to the record that relate to the importance of proper investigation by trained professionals in pulling these kind of investigations together from the leadership conference on civil and human rights, the National Women’s Law Center, the National Organization for Women, and so forth.
Chuck Grassley (04:19:27):
[inaudible 04:19:27] Senator Kennedy.
Speaker 27 (04:19:28):
Mr. Chairman? I have a question for our chairman. The statements that Senator Blumenthal talked about, those were statements taken by our majority staff.
Chuck Grassley (04:19:39):
They’re already in the record.
Speaker 27 (04:19:40):
Yes, sir. But those statements were taken by our majority staff?
Chuck Grassley (04:19:43):
Speaker 27 (04:19:45):
Did minority staff participate?
Chuck Grassley (04:19:46):
Speaker 27 (04:19:47):
Chuck Grassley (04:19:48):
You’ll have to ask them.
Speaker 27 (04:19:49):
Well, were they instructed not to participate?
Chuck Grassley (04:19:52):
Speaker 27 (04:19:53):
They chose not to?
Chuck Grassley (04:19:55):
Speaker 25 (04:19:56):
If I may, Mr. Chairman [crosstalk 00:21:58].
Speaker 27 (04:19:58):
If I could, I still think I have the floor [crosstalk 04:20:02].
Chuck Grassley (04:20:03):
Let’s listen to Senator Feinstein.
Speaker 21 (04:20:04):
Can we be excused? The witness is quite tired. She would like to be excused.
Chuck Grassley (04:20:10):
If you’d wait just a minute, I’d like to thank [inaudible 04:20:13].
Speaker 21 (04:20:12):
Okay, All right.
Chuck Grassley (04:20:14):
In fact, we’re going to continue this meeting and so let’s just be nice to her. Dr. Ford. Dr. Ford. I can only speak as one of 21 senators here, but I thank you very much for your testimony. More importantly for your bravery coming out and trying to answer our questions as best you could remember. Thank you very much. We’ll adjourn for 45 minute, or not adjourn. Recess for 45 minutes.
The questioning is done. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Senator Grassley ending on a gracious note, thanking her for her courage coming forward. Something that’s been echoed by Democrats throughout their questioning of Dr. Blasey Ford. There you see the questioner Rachel Mitchell also shaking hands with Dr. Blasey Ford, a much more visibly relieved witness than came into this hearing room just about four hours ago. A little over four hours ago.
Smiling on her face. Waving now to her friends, joined by supporters in that room today. Submitted questions from 10 democratic members of the committee, 11 Republican members of committee, but all the questions from that Maricopa County sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell. And Sonny Haas, I have to bring you in on that final round of questioning from Ms. Mitchell fascinating to me. She seemed to be simultaneously, as she talked about how sex crimes victims are usually interviewed, what kind of process they usually go through, you see now, Dr. Blasey Ford shaking hands with members of the committee. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. Usually it’s behind closed doors. Quiet proceeding. Question after question after question. Methodical, disciplined, calm. Much like Rachel Mitchell was doing today in public in that questioning. And she seemed to be saying those Republicans who hired her, I came in to do this my way. I did it my way, but it couldn’t be done effectively in a hearing with five minutes.
Sunny Hostin (04:22:13):
I so related to her. And I’ve been saying this for weeks. This is not how assault sex crimes are investigated. Generally you work with either an FBI agent and you work with a victim witness advocate. You work with a trained detective in sex crimes and you interview the complainant either you videotape it. Sometimes you audio tape it. And it’s someone that has the training. That’s how you investigate. When the prosecutor comes in, quite frankly, then the examination begins. So the investigation and what we just saw, which is really the examination are generally separate. This is something that I’ve just never seen when it comes to an alleged sexual assault. Again, this is not a partisan issue. This is a criminal issue in a sense. And so, she was really, I think Prosecutor Mitchell had her hands behind her back. She could never be effective in the way that this was done.
Speaker 28 (04:23:09):
Think about the word that Senator Grassley just used. At the end of that proceeding. Your bravery. If she’s making this up, right? If this story is all invented, and that’s what Senator Grassley believes.
Has said in the past.
Speaker 28 (04:23:25):
Literally believed going in.
Speaker 28 (04:23:27):
He’s not going to salute her for her bravery at the end of the proceeding. So this means one of two things. Either that Senator Grassley believes that she believes this, and maybe it didn’t happen this way. Or it did happen this way. But that says to me that Senator Grassley is ruling out the possibility that we just had a woman show up and make up a story about Judge Kavanaugh. And I think that is a critical telling moment we just saw.
Speaker 29 (04:23:57):
Let’s quickly go to Senator Hatch. Mary Bruce, you’re with him. Did he say anything?
Speaker 30 (04:24:02):
He did not. He did not stop for reporters. I can tell you that our producer’s running down the hall trying to catch him. He of course has been standing pretty firmly by Judge Kavanaugh. It will be interesting to hear what he has to say once he has the chance to digest what he just heard. But we do know that earlier in one of the breaks, Orrin Hatch said that he didn’t find Ford’s testimony to be uncredible, whatever that may mean.
Speaker 31 (04:24:33):
Don’t worry. Its fine.
Speaker 31 (04:24:33):
Can you guys [inaudible 04:24:39]?
Speaker 29 (04:24:37):
Mary, can you still hear me?
Speaker 30 (04:24:39):
Speaker 29 (04:24:40):
Pick up on that point that Dan was just making. It was a remarkable statement that we saw from the chairman, Senator Grassley. You don’t praise liars for bravery. He just praised Dr. Blasey Ford for bravery. And it seems to be, this seems to indicate some kind of shift inside the committee.
Speaker 22 (04:24:59):
It does even if just so slightly. It’s an interesting, the chairman just walked by us and I asked him what he thought. Whether he found her testimony to be credible. And he kind of threw his arms up in the air and said, well, let’s wait until we hear the rest of the testimony today. But you definitely seem to be hearing a slight shift in tone from Chairman Grassley and, George, we have Senator Gillibrand here with us. I don’t know if you’re able to see us.
Speaker 29 (04:25:18):
We see her, yeah. If you can get a question, go to it.
Speaker 22 (04:25:21):
What do you make of what you’ve heard today? And we’ve seen Republicans really rallying around Judge Kavanaugh [inaudible 04:25:26] based on what you’ve heard here, what would a vote for Judge Kavanaugh mean? What message would that send?
Senator Gillibrand (04:25:31):
I think Dr. Blasey Ford showed us what courage looks like. I think she’s an extraordinarily strong individual who just told unfortunately the worst moments of her life in front of the world.
Senator Gillibrand (04:25:42):
And that took enormous grace and strength and courage. And I think the authenticity and the heartfelt remarks just showed not only that she’s telling the truth, but how believable her story is.
Speaker 22 (04:25:56):
And we have heard from the White House, they’re arguing that this is a situation of emotion versus facts. That her testimony may be compelling, but they note that there are gaps in the story as well.
Senator Gillibrand (04:26:05):
And if they bothered to have an FBI investigation, as they would for any judicial nominee, have a complete background check, they would have a lot more details. We would know, for example, when Mark Judge was working at the local grocery store, so she could try to pinpoint the date of this event. But the President and the Republican leadership and the Senate Judiciary Committee have been unwilling to do the basics of a background check.
Speaker 22 (04:26:29):
If you were to [inaudible 04:26:32].
Senator Lindsay Graham (04:26:32):
…never told anybody. I’m really upset that Diane Feinstein believed this was a credible allegation. That you wouldn’t do Mr. Judge Kavanaugh the service of saying, “I’ve got this, what’s your side of the story?” Turn it over to the committee so we could have something not this close to the midterms. When they say that she wasn’t sure we were willing to go out there. That’s a bunch of bull. I don’t know what they told Ms. Ford, but we were willing to go to California. We were told she couldn’t fly. All I can say is that we’re 40 something days away from the election and their goal, not Ms. Ford’s goal, is delay this past the midterms so they can win the Senate and never allow Trump to fill this seat. I believe that now more than ever. I don’t know who paid for a polygraph, but somebody did.
Senator Lindsay Graham (04:27:18):
And here’s what I’m more convinced of. The friends on the other side set it up to be just the way it is. I feel ambushed as the majority. We’re going to hear from Mr. Kavanaugh, Judge Kavanaugh. And I’ve been a judge, a prosecutor, and a defense attorney. And here’s what I’ll tell you. When it comes to where it happened, I still don’t know. I don’t know when it happened. She said she’s 100 percent certain it did happen. I bet you Judge Kavanaugh will say I’m 100 percent sure I didn’t do it.
Senator Lindsay Graham (04:27:50):
The people named say they don’t know what Ms. Ford’s talking about. She can’t tell us how she got home and how she got there. And that’s the facts I’m left with. A nice lady who has come forward to tell a hard story that’s uncorroborated. And this is enough. God help anybody else who gets nominated. Based on what I heard today, you could not get a search warrant or an arrest warrant because you don’t know the location. You don’t know the time and you don’t have any corroboration. As to Ms. Mitchell. That’s what I hope she would do. I heard a bunch of speeches from a bunch of politicians who have politicized this from day one, who have been lying in wait for a political purpose, not Ms. Ford, but certainly them, making a bunch of speeches and Ms. Mitchell methodically went through the facts of what happened that day, leading up to that day, and how we find ourselves here. From my point of view, I’m pleased with what I saw.
Speaker 32 (04:28:46):
Senator [crosstalk 04:28:46]. Given what you’ve laid out about your own background as a prosecutor, as a defense attorney, as a judge, did you sitting up there find Dr. Ford to be credible?
Senator Lindsay Graham (04:28:53):
I didn’t find her allegations to be corroborated against Mr. Kavanaugh. I don’t doubt something happened to her, but she is saying it’s Brett Kavanaugh, but she can’t tell me the house. She can tell me the city. She can’t tell me the month of the year. He’s saying I didn’t do it. So here’s what you do. When you have a emotional accusation and an emotional denial, use the rule of law. The presumption of innocence attaches to the person accused. You have to give them notice in times of time and location. You ask “Is there anybody to verify this?” And when you give names, all of them go the other way. Having said that, what do I think about Ms. Ford? Very competent, accomplished lady. Something happened. I don’t know what, but you’re asking me to say it was Brett Kavanaugh. And I don’t know when it happened, where it happened, and he said it didn’t happen. But I would say this. I thought it was a good suggestion for her to go talk to somebody to work through this. [crosstalk 04:29:52].
Speaker 32 (04:29:53):
How is that not all an argument for a more fulsome investigation?
Senator Lindsay Graham (04:29:57):
If you really believe we needed an investigation of this, why didn’t you tell us in August? Now listen, listen, listen. The FBI is going to tell us what? What house are they going to go to? What city are they going to go to? Who are they going to talk to? Because they can’t tell us the month, barely the year. So this is all delay.
Speaker 33 (04:30:20):
Could Mr. Judge tell you that? Could Mr. Judge tell you that?
Senator Lindsay Graham (04:30:21):
So here’s where they’re going with Mr. Judge. He says, I didn’t do it. I don’t know what she’s talking about. They want to bring him in, trash him out, and call 25 people. Well, they’ll say that he’s an abuser. And guess what? We’ll be past the mid term. I’m not going to reward people for playing a political game. I think with her life. She is just as much a victim of this as I think Brett Kavanaugh, because somebody betrayed her trust and we know who she gave the letter to. And the people that betrayed her trust, they owe her an apology.
Speaker 34 (04:30:52):
Do you still want to vote tomorrow? [crosstalk 04:30:55].
Senator Lindsey Graham has been the strongest voice for the President, for Judge Kavanaugh, on the Senate judiciary committee. Mary Bruce, you were there listening to that right there. We now hear the standard he’s setting and something we would expect. He says that we expect that Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s going to come out and say, he’s 100 percent certain it didn’t happen. And in that case, tie goes to the nominee.
Speaker 35 (04:31:18):
How is it she doesn’t remember? She doesn’t know…
Speaker 30 (04:31:20):
And he made very clear. I don’t know if you could hear as he was walking away, that he does think that there should still be this vote tomorrow. He continues to stand very clearly by Judge Kavanaugh. Although calling out all of the holes he feels in Dr. Ford’s testimony, but he clearly, setting quite a standard here, wants to hear what Judge Kavanaugh has to say. But as far as he’s concerned, they are moving ahead with his confirmation.
Speaker 28 (04:31:45):
The question is will 51 Republican senators all agree with that. Remarkable. Dan, listening to Lindsay Graham.
Speaker 29 (04:31:49):
He’s talking about the legal burdens, again, as if this is a criminal trial, right? And in a criminal trial, the reason we stack the deck in favor of the defendant is because the government has the power to take away someone’s freedom. And we say, would that enormous power that the government-
PART 8 OF 18 ENDS [04:32:04]
Dan Abrams (04:32:00):
… or to take away someone’s freedom. And we say, “With that enormous power that the government has, we’re going to make the burden very high before we let you put someone away.”
Dan Abrams (04:32:09):
That’s not the same standard here. This is a job application. Every day in this country, employers, people, can decide, “I want this person. I think they’re qualified. They’re not qualified.” Et cetera. It’s not a criminal standard that you apply in a proceeding like this.
Sunny Hostin (04:32:26):
I’m flabbergasted by what I just heard. I mean, when you hear Senator Graham saying, “I don’t doubt something happened to her, but I still have questions. She’s a competent, accomplished lady, but where did this happen? When did it happen?”
Sunny Hostin (04:32:38):
Well, that is the job for an independent investigator. If you have questions about the content of her testimony, her sworn testimony, then you need answers.
He is right. We’re never going to get all the answers to something from 37 years ago. That’s impossible.
Sunny Hostin (04:32:51):
I am not so sure about that, because she’s indicated where the house was, the location. She’s also indicated that she remembers the layout of the home. There are other witnesses that can testify to other parties that they’ve attended. I don’t know that it’s that difficult to answer the questions in my view, the very simple questions that Senator Graham has.
Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat. Number two in the Senate.
Speaker 37 (04:33:13):
Senator, any immediate reaction?
Richard Durbin (04:33:15):
She was credible, calm. She told us she was terrified, but I thought she handled the questions professionally and honestly. Volunteered answers when she didn’t have to. I thought she made a very credible presentation.
Speaker 36 (04:33:29):
Do you think it backfired on the Republicans to have an outside counselor or counsel, staff counsel, to do the questioning instead of themselves?
Richard Durbin (04:33:39):
Well, if you listen to the prosecutor’s conclusion that doing an interview in five minutes segments is not recommended. You can tell that she too was frustrated. I couldn’t follow her line of thinking. I tried to understand where she was coming from. It seemed so oblique and so fragmented. I never quite understood what she was trying to say.
Speaker 37 (04:34:05):
Having her [crosstalk 04:34:09]
Richard Durbin (04:34:13):
The thing we need to hear the most is what is very obvious. If there is no evidence and there are no witnesses to back up what she just told us under oath. Why aren’t you supporting an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation? Wouldn’t you want to clear your name and make sure that the Court didn’t have a person, a justice, who came in under a shadow of suspicion?
Senator Dick Durbin right there, and Cokie Roberts. Let me bring you in on this right now. It’s pretty clear from listening to Senator Graham. We know what the Democratic talking point is right now: we need an FBI investigation.
Listening to Senator Durbin. What’s going to happen over the next few hours and perhaps over the next few days, this is not about Dr. Blasey Ford.
This is about the Democrats. It was the Democrats that leaked, that letter, that created the pressure on her to come and testify. It’s the Democrats who put her up to this. It’s the Democrats who waited. And in his words, “ambushed us.”
Cokie Roberts (04:35:10):
And hired a lawyer. And then who did Senator Feinstein send you to, lawyer Katz? And then, so it is, it’s all a Democratic plot to get through the midterms so that they can have a nominee of their choosing. That’s what the Republican line is going to be.
Cokie Roberts (04:35:31):
And Senator Cornyn also said that he’s sorry that Dr. Ford didn’t know that the Republicans were ready to go out and interview her in California. So it’s being set up that the Democrats didn’t tell her things, so they don’t attack her, but that they are attacking the Democrats. I did think that Senator Graham got in a little dig when he said, “it’s a good thing she went for help,” which implies, you know, she’s a little bit crazy.
Senator Graham is now, Cecilia, one of the President Trump’s, perhaps his best friend in the Senate.
Cecilia Vega (04:36:05):
And perhaps the only person who might be able to get a clear read on him as the rest of us wait in silence. We know that the President is watching this from the White House.
Cecilia Vega (04:36:14):
To me, the exchange that will live in infamy from the first half of today is Dr. Ford talking about the indelible sound being the laughter that she heard. They’re laughing. They were laughing at my expense.
Cecilia Vega (04:36:28):
The image from the first half of the testimony. And I think we have it ready to go to show you, is this image of all of the Republican male Senators sitting behind Rachel Mitchell with her hand out, as she is asking these questions of Dr. Ford. And I think that the conclusion will be at the end of this, that image right there, a really powerful one that really speaks volumes about what America just witnessed. And the conclusion will be that this was probably a public-relations disaster on the decision that the Republicans made when they decided to bring her in.
That seems what it’s like so far. We have not heard from Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
John Karl, let me bring you in as well on all this. Senator Graham is sometimes reflecting what the President thinks, sometimes leading with the President thinks, trying to convince the President he should think what Senator Graham just said is true. Do you have any sense right now if he is out there alone, kind of the sentry out there, or if this is the galvanized-now Republican line.
Jonathan Karl (04:37:27):
I think that he is channeling exactly what the President wants. I think that’s what you saw with Lindsey Graham. The President wanted a much more forceful … he thought the Republicans were being weak on this. He thought that they were letting this get away from themselves. He wanted the strong counter-punch. That was what Senator Graham was channeling.
Jonathan Karl (04:37:46):
I don’t think that there are a lot of Republicans stampeding to be with him. That said, George, the overwhelming majority of Republicans, I have no doubt, will come out and point out some facts here. The ones that Graham was pointing out. The time, that Christine Blasey Ford was not able to name the time, not able to do in the location, that the four people she identified as being there do not recall anything like this happening. That will be the Republican talking point. But the anger and the passion that you saw from Lindsey Graham, he was channeling the President.
Jonathan Karl (04:38:20):
Now, my question will be now that the President has had a chance, presumably to have watched this hearing, what will the President do? Because the President knows, if he has a sense of anything, it’s how images, how events like this, play out on television.
Jonathan Karl (04:38:37):
And it will be very … he left the door open yesterday to cutting loose the Kavanaugh nomination. He said he would be watching. He made it clear that this was going to be a decisive moment. So it’ll be interesting to see if the President remains as committed as he was before this hearing started.
And he has canceled that meeting with Rod Rosenstein. They spoke briefly on the phone. And so presumably he’s going to have plenty of executive time this afternoon to watch Brett Kavanaugh on television.
Cecilia, you’re getting something coming in.
Cecilia Vega (04:39:03):
So decisive, from our Katherine Faulders, that she’s speaking with a source close to the White House who says, quote, “The next four hours will decide the Supreme Court and possibly the midterms. Everything is on the line right now.”
Cokie Roberts (04:39:15):
We’re in analyzing the politics of this and the hearing itself. What Cecilia, and I suspect you, Sunny, and I are getting on our tweets is woman after woman after woman telling us about her experience with rape or assault. And so the rest of the country is experiencing something very different from those of us in the political world.
And this is something that the rest of the country has been experienced for much of the last year. We’ve seen the Me-Too movement cut a wide swath through politics, through business, through entertainment. And in some ways, Sunny Hostin, I mean this hearing, nationally televised, every single network, every single broadcast network, every single cable network, all watching Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Now the most famous woman in the Me-Too movement.
Sunny Hostin (04:40:00):
Yes. I hope that this is really a watershed moment, especially when it comes to the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes. It’s very difficult, I was explaining before, when I was practicing, it was very difficult to get women to get on the witness stand because they didn’t think they would be believed. They felt ashamed. They felt embarrassed. They felt it was their fault. I’ve been speaking to my friends that are still prosecutors, still in the fight against sex crimes. And they are saying that they are seeing a change. They are seeing women willing to come forward. They are seeing other women, especially in serial rapes, willing to band together and testify. That is different. This, I think though, because it’s being watched by millions, not only, I think, in the United States, but all over the world.
We’ve actually gotten reports that it is being shown all over the world, Sky Television, BBC, all over the world, people taking this live today.
Sunny Hostin (04:40:49):
This is going to be … this is going to make a big difference.
It’s multiplied again and again and again, Cecilia. Listen, I live in Manhattan. So it’s a bit of a bubble. I’m the first person to admit that. But my girls, every single class room they’ve been in over the last couple of days, people know this is happening. They going to know about this. Tomorrow kids are going to talk about it. Mothers and daughters are going to talk about it. Fathers and daughters are going to talk about it.
Cokie Roberts (04:41:10):
And with any luck, fathers and sons.
Cecilia Vega (04:41:12):
Exactly. And we go back full circle to where we started. And yesterday, the President was asked at the very end of that press conference, “What is your message to young men in this?” And I think that is a question we are not talking enough about as a country right now. What does this mean for the … what messages are we sending to young boys in this country?
Cecilia Vega (04:41:31):
I am disgusted, to be honest, when I hear people say things like, “boys being boys” when we look back at accusations that we’re talking about right now. This is not boys-being-boys behavior. And we can’t, as a society, allow it, chalk it up to that. You know, when the President said yesterday, his response to the question about, “What is your message to young men?” … “You’re guilty until proven innocent.”
Cokie Roberts (04:41:54):
That’s not a good message. [crosstalk 04:41:56]
Dan Abrams (04:41:56):
But I also think you’re seeing a step forward here across the board, which is you don’t have even members of the Senate who are Republicans coming out and saying, “This is some woman making this up.”
Not one of them said she’s a liar.
Dan Abrams (04:42:08):
Right. They’re all … And I think that’s a really important message here, because you have the Democrats who are supporting her, both in terms of what she’s saying, and in terms of the impact that it could have, but the Republicans who don’t like the impact of what it could have still seemed to be staying away from the idea that, “Oh, this is someone who’s just making it up.”
Dan Abrams (04:42:29):
And I think this goes to Sunny’s point of encouraging women to come forward. That this will say to people, that even if people don’t agree with you, you’re still going to be treated okay. And I think that the way she’s being treated in this proceeding is absolutely critical for sending a message to the country, no matter what you think about what she’s saying.
And that gets to all the questions. What is the right process here? What is fair here? Because, Terry Moran, I want to turn this around just a little bit at this point, at the same time, you don’t want to get to the point, Terry Moran, where the accusation is a conviction.
Cokie Roberts (04:43:01):
Right. That’s right.
Terry Moran (04:43:02):
That’s right. That clearly isn’t fair. And yet there’s been centuries, millennia, of pent-up frustration with being silenced, with being ignored, with being discounted, by women who have tried to tell these stories. It is a reckoning. It is not just a cultural moment. It’s a cultural wave. And think about being Brett Kavanaugh, who is staring up at that wave about the crash down on him, perhaps in a situation, according to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, of his own making. But this is going to sweep him away and rewrite our history. It’s a reckoning as well for history.
Terry Moran (04:43:38):
It is worth saying, I believe that in the hallways of the Senate committee, outside of that Senate committee room, Juanita Broaddrick, who in 1998, accused President Bill Clinton of raping her. She had told five people at that time. One of whom saw her alleged injuries. She was basically ignored. She’s furious, as you can expect, at people who ignored her, defended the President, including the last Democratic candidate for President, Hillary Clinton. This is a reckoning, not just for this moment, for Brett Kavanaugh’s youth, if in fact he did this, and for our country.
Let me just pick up on that, because we’ve been talking about the differences from Anita Hill and let me stay on Terry for a minute. Because poor Dan, [crosstalk 04:44:20] explain to everybody, while Terry was talking, our cameras got stuck on Dan. He did a great job there. And actually the last time that happened to me was during Bill Clinton’s impeachment proceedings.
And it just makes me think. We talk about how much things have changed right now. How much different the situation might have turned out there, if that were today.
Cokie Roberts (04:44:39):
Terry Moran (04:44:40):
Think about that. I mean, I think the history books are being rewritten in this moment about Bill Clinton and his presidency. And one of the things that we have seen in some of these cases is that people view the voices of women through a partisan lens. That certainly is what Juanita Broaddrick thinks happened to her.
Terry Moran (04:44:58):
Even today, a woman named Karen Monaghan in Minnesota has accused Keith Ellison, the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, who is running for Attorney General in Minnesota, of domestic abuse recently. A recent poll by the National Public Radio there showed that only 5% of Minnesota Democrats believe Karen Monahan. This is a learning process, I guess, for people right across the political spectrum.
Cokie Roberts (04:45:22):
And it’s also true that women’s organizations did not come out against President Clinton at the time, because they thought he was on their side on, on particularly the issue of abortion, but on other issues as well. And so there are a lot of people who have played hypocritical roles throughout our history on terms of, of where they stand on women.
And now the question is who gets the benefit of the doubt in a situation like this, Cecilia, where, as Dan has pointed out, as the Democrats pointed out going into this hearing, this is not a criminal trial. This is about … it’s a job interview about being raised to one of the greatest privileges in the country.
Cecilia Vega (04:46:00):
I mean, I think it’s too early to answer that question. We will find out soon. I am also curious to know and had I had an opportunity to ask the President a question in the press conference yesterday, I would have asked if he is comfortable going forward if his Supreme Court nominee has picked spending the rest of his life on that Court with this cloud hanging over his head, which he very well will do. If, in fact, he is nominated to this. So I think history will tell.
That’s one of the questions, Terry Moran, because you are a Supreme Court [inaudible 04:46:27] I want to bring you in on this as well. I mean, and it’s an open question, whether or not there will be a taint on Judge Kavanaugh, if he’s able to get through this. One of the things we’ve seen is that once you get confirmed to that club, you’re part of that club. They protect their own.
Terry Moran (04:46:40):
They do. There’s no question. Clarence Thomas of course, was confirmed to the Supreme Court and my hunch is that several of his colleagues have different views on who was telling the truth in the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas dispute.
Terry Moran (04:46:51):
This however, is a different era. And one of the things I’ve been thinking of as I’ve been listening to this and thinking about Brett Kavanaugh, he is a dedicated federal judge, whatever he did in his youth, he has led an exemplary life as a judge, as a public official sworn to uphold the Constitution from his lights, by his best lights.
Terry Moran (04:47:13):
And he has an institutionalist going up to the Supreme Court as a radioactive justice, who would de-legitimize, in the eyes of millions upon millions of Americans, many opinions of that Supreme Court. That might be something that he would think twice about.
And I want to bring this one to David Muir. And that might be one of the most difficult questions, David, that Judge Kavanaugh is going to have to answer today, and you see the Democrats previewing it already, “Sir, isn’t it in your best interest to ask for an FBI investigation now, so that if you are confirmed to the Supreme Court, the highest court of land, you can do so without any taint?”
David Muir (04:47:47):
Yeah. And you saw Senator Kamala Harris pushing that point, trying to make the point that Dr. Blasey Ford has been so willing on multiple fronts, including the polygraph and saying she would ask for an FBI investigation, be willing to sit down for an interview with the FBI, that she’s been willing to do all of that, but that Kavanaugh has not. And so, George, I do think that’s going to be the line of questioning that we’ll witness here a short time from now.
David Muir (04:48:10):
No sign of Judge Brett Kavanaugh here at the Capitol yet. We do know that his parents are in the building.
David Muir (04:48:15):
But you’ve all talked about the political battle lines, which have now been drawn. They are stark in that moment that Lindsey Graham came outside that hearing room. And it was quite something though to witness him saying, after hearing a couple of hours from this woman from California, who came in and bravely, even as the chair, Senator Grassley said, very bravely shared her story, that he would come out and say that he was the one who felt ambushed.
David Muir (04:48:39):
He said that he believed that she was as much a victim as Brett Kavanaugh. That she’s a nice lady who came forward with uncorroborated claims. Of course, he was pressed right in the hallways here at the Capitol: why then was there no FBI background check? And he turned right back to Feinstein and the the timing of that letter.
David Muir (04:48:56):
But I think the bigger picture here is which party is going to sense the temperature of this wave that you and Terry have mentioned here, will it be Lindsay Graham, who then points back to the timing of the release of this letter and this information, or will it be Kamala Harris who looked at that woman, that mother who sat before us today, her two kids, her husband, back in California, having had to move from location to location with security now. She called her a “profile in courage.” How did America see this woman this morning, versus how they are seeing here where the political battle lines are being drawn as we’re on the air today.
And in about half an hour, we’re going to hear from Brett Kavanaugh, he’s going to have his chance with an opening statement, questions as well.
Sunny Hostin (04:49:35):
I’d like to just say something going back to the composition of the Supreme Court. I mean, the notion somehow that Clarence Thomas is not tainted. I think is just a false one. Whenever I look at Clarence Thomas and I’m a member of the- [crosstalk 04:49:46]
I was speaking from within, inside the Court.
Sunny Hostin (04:49:48):
Even from within, but certainly from outside, because we have to, as a society, have confidence in the Supreme Court, because they make the law of the land. And as a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court, I will tell you every time I go to the Supreme Court and watch an argument, I think about Clarence Thomas and I think about pubic hair and a Coca-Cola can. It comes up in my mind every single time. I’ve spoken to other women lawyers, they think the same thing.
Sunny Hostin (04:50:14):
So I can’t imagine that Chief Justice Roberts is comfortable with this taint being over this appointee, if he indeed rises to the level of the Supreme Court, because there are cases that go before the Supreme Court where the underlying crimes are sex crimes, where the underlying charges-
Sorry, Alyssa Milano, leader of the Me-Too movement. [crosstalk 04:50:34]
Alyssa Milano (04:50:34):
I think that Dr. Ford is an incredibly compelling and intelligent woman, and made women everywhere proud for her strength and courage and coming forward. I think it’s an important day for women. I think it’s an important day for politics and I’m happy to be in there standing by her side in her quest for justice.
Speaker 38 (04:51:08):
You had some choice tweets for President. What does it mean for you to be inside the hearing room and see this happening in person?
Alyssa Milano (04:51:09):
I mean, it’s a moment in history that I couldn’t miss. I was invited by Senator Feinstein and it’s important for me. It’s important for me to be here. It took me a very long time as a survivor to come to terms with, and be public with my own abuse and assault. And I know how hard it is, and I know what she’s had to go through to be here and present and answer those questions. And I think a lot of women throughout the country and the world understand the idea of not wanting to talk about it, wanting to make it go away, not wanting to deal with it and putting it out of our heads and minds. So it was important for me to to be able to support her and to support survivors everywhere.
Speaker 38 (04:52:00):
We’re going to hear from Judge Kavanaugh in a couple minutes, what’s your expectations for the second panel and what are you hoping to hear from the Judge?
Alyssa Milano (04:52:09):
I’m hoping to hear honesty, but I don’t know if that’s what we’re going to get, considering he’s perjured himself a few times in the first hearing. So, I think the most we can hope for is honesty and again, I’m here to represent women and survivors, men and women, that have survived sexual assault.
Speaker 38 (04:52:32):
Alyssa Milano (04:52:32):
Speaker 38 (04:52:39):
Thanks so much for talking to us.
Alyssa Milano (04:52:39):
Thank you. Sure. Thank you so much.
Alyssa Milano there in the halls of Congress.
I want to bring in Mary Bruce right now, our Capitol Hill correspondent. And Mary, I had to think about … This issue of gender cuts so deeply through this issue, how is this all going to hit female Republican Senators?
Mary Bruce (04:52:58):
And so much of the focus is on two of those key female, Republican Senators, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, everyone wondering what they are thinking as they watch this hearing today, we know that they had expressed some serious reservations going into this, and they are part of that handful of key swing votes that everyone is looking to now.
Mary Bruce (04:53:18):
And I have to say one of those key votes, Jeff Flake, we saw him leaving the hearing room here today. He’s a member of this committee, he told us he is still listening and we know that he has clearly been on the fence. So while we see these sort of battle lines being drawn, Lindsey Graham making very clear what the Republican tactic will be. He’s continuing to point to what he says are holes in her testimony. I think you’re likely to hear Democrats raising more questions about character, about integrity, about truthfulness.
Mary Bruce (04:53:44):
The real question is: what do these key handfuls of Senators think? Look, Lindsey Graham can rally Republicans all he wants, but, but ultimately if two Republicans vote “no,” this is game over for Judge Kavanaugh. So it all comes down to just those handful. And so many of those key voters we know are women. Key votes, excuse me, are women. [crosstalk 04:54:01]
Well that’s right. We know that Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins are on the fence, but I’m wondering about the other Republican female Senators as well.
What is this going to mean for Senator Shelley Capito? What is this going to mean for Joni Ernst from Iowa? Will this have any impact on them? If indeed, if Cokie is right and Cecilia is right, that women all across the country are coming forward with their stories, presumably their offices are going to get called as well.
Mary Bruce (04:54:24):
And presumably they’re feeling a lot of pressure right now. And they have to be thinking, of course, of the midterm elections, which are hanging over all of this, the huge cloud hanging over this entire controversy, because everyone wondering what are women voters going to do? How are they going to respond? And I think after what you just heard here today, there’s no question that those other female Republican Senators, other female Senators in general, are going to be facing a lot of pressure. A lot of questions about where they stand here, and they have to be thinking about what their female constituents think as well, George.
John Karl, do you have any good sense of how far along the White House might be on a backup plan, on a plan B.
Jonathan Karl (04:55:03):
I’ve been asking that for days, really, since these allegations came out and to a person, privately and publicly, the line you hear is that they have not even … they’re not even contemplating that. But George keep in mind that the President has had his list. He had a list going back to the campaign. It was revised twice since he came into the White House.
Jonathan Karl (04:55:23):
When he went through this process to pick Brett Kavanaugh, he came down to a short list, all candidates thoroughly vetted. The President could pick a backup nominee today, if he wanted to. He could pick from the shortlist that he used to get Brett Kavanaugh. And the name that you hear so often is Amy Coney Barrett as a backup candidate.
Okay. I want to bring in Sarah Fagan right now. I think she’s on the phone with us right now. She was a colleague with Brett Kavanaugh in the White House and has been an analyst for us on “This Week” and other ABC news programs, and is part of the movement over the last several weeks, standing with Brett Kavanaugh. Your reaction to Dr. Ford?
Sarah Fagen (04:56:06):
I thought she was a very compelling witness. I don’t think you could say anything otherwise. She clearly believes something happened to her, very traumatic. Some trauma happened to her in her life, but in my view, it doesn’t change my belief in Brett, knowing the person that I know and knowing him to be truthful and knowing that I just don’t believe that he would do it. So it’s not … these things aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. Something horrible could have happened to her and it may not have been Brett. And so, in watching the testimony, the very odd process, which for other folks [crosstalk 04:56:45] find out …
Let me ask you about that. You’re, you’re a veteran of White Houses. You’re a veteran of these confirmation battles as well. This was a choice that the Republican majority made. Was it the right choice?
Sarah Fagen (04:56:55):
In terms of doing the hearing in this way?
Sarah Fagen (04:56:58):
Well, I think it was the right choice to bring in the experienced sex-crimes prosecutor. I think they should have done something different about the back and forth every five minutes. Perhaps let every Democrat go and have their say. Very few Democrats asked questions, they mostly just made statements and they mostly just said the same thing over and over again. It would have been more useful to people trying to draw conclusions, to have more questions by the woman from Maricopa County, but that’s not the way the Senate works. And so we’re sort of left with what it was less than desirable.
Was it the right thing? I take that point. I actually agree with it. Was it the right thing though for the Republican Senators themselves? One of the things I’m wondering about, they sat there silently, as the questions were asked, as the witness was before them. Doesn’t that make it more difficult to go make a final vote if you were sitting there silently through the whole hearing?
Sarah Fagen (04:57:56):
I don’t think so, because if she’s asking questions they would have asked or she certainly asked a lot of questions and covered a fair amount of ground. I don’t think it’s harder for them to cast a vote, because ultimately we didn’t learn anything new. What we got was a look at the witness and she was a compelling human being. But we didn’t learn anything new. There still was no witness that was able to corroborate this at the time it happened. And so nothing new came out of this other than people got to actually physically see the witness.
And that’s the question. You, you describe her as compelling. Was she credible?
Sarah Fagen (04:58:42):
Well, I think you can be credible and still wrong. I think the one thing as a viewer I would have liked to have seen the lawyer ask more questions about-
The actual incident?
Sarah Fagen (04:58:58):
… her memories. Because she has some memories that she’s absolutely a thousand percent certain, and she obviously believes that, and she has many memories she has no recollection of. And as an overarching point, there’s some inconsistency in that. And that’s where I sort of come back to, did something terrible happen to her? There’ve been other theories, of course, about that. They didn’t really get, really get dived into very deep and it would have been better to see that.
You’re a political strategist. If the Republican leadership calls you and say, “What’s the best way to handle this going forward, we obviously have to hear from Judge Kavanaugh over the next several hours, you’ve seen what the united Democratic talking point is, shouldn’t go forward without an FBI investigation.” Do you think that the Republican leadership, if they choose, can go forward without that investigation?
Sarah Fagen (04:59:51):
I think the Senate is trying to do the investigation and the Democrats in the Senate aren’t cooperating. And so, at some point there’s a … it strikes me as that there is a likelihood, again, this is my own speculation, that there will be some more either interviews, whether it’s the FBI or somebody else. Potentially we haven’t seen the last witness called this afternoon on Brett Kavanaugh. It’s hard to say for sure, but certainly the Democrats have been very consistent in calling for the FBI, even though that’s not the right body to do it. [crosstalk 05:00:26]
It sounds like what you’re saying …
Sarah Fagen (05:00:28):
I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but it sounds like what you’re saying that even if it’s not the FBI, this idea that there can be a vote tomorrow morning …
Sarah Fagen (05:00:36):
Well, I think they’ve been trying to do this vote, as you know, for some time. I think we’re going to have to wait to hear from Brett Kavanaugh to determine whether … I think the Senators will not make a decision until after Brett Kavanaugh speaks. And that’s the right course of action.
You’re his friend, you’re his former colleague in the White House. In these final, I guess, 10 minutes before he goes out there, what would you want to say to him?
Sarah Fagen (05:00:59):
You know, be yourself, try to block out the noise that has become … this whole thing has been a circus, rely on the person you know you are to be, and go up there and tell the truth and answer every question truthfully, and don’t be defensive, but don’t also feel like you need to try to be something that thousands of analysts all over lots of stations are giving advice to you about how you should answer questions or how you should look, or how you should dress, or … just be yourself.
Sarah Fagan. Thanks very much. Thanks for your time. And we just saw Judge Kavanaugh’s parents enter the hearing room.
I don’t know how to bring this off. We’re going to use Cecilia first.
Cecilia Vega (05:01:47):
Oh great. [crosstalk 05:01:50].
As you see that. And listen, we just saw a compelling witness over the last several hours. None of us knows exactly what happened, well, 37 years ago. What an incredibly tough human moment for Brett Kavanaugh as well. Right?
Cecilia Vega (05:02:03):
Exactly. And we have no idea what is about to happen. And as a colleague of mine was just pointing out. We were just talking, let’s not forget who has the last word here? It’s Brett Kavanaugh. And we are talking about a he-said-she-said. She wanted the last word and she didn’t get it. It matters whose testimony is last. And it will be his, he has the final say. We will see.
Cecilia Vega (05:02:28):
And something else I’m thinking of: President Trump has said he could be convinced, depending on what Christine Blasey Ford said today, that, “if I thought Brett Kavanaugh was guilty of something like this, I may in fact be convinced to withdraw his nomination.” But what is his bar? We don’t know yet. We don’t know if what he has heard so far in listening to this testimony from the White House is enough to change his mind.
Cecilia Vega (05:02:54):
We don’t know what he’s expecting to hear from Brett Kavanaugh in a few minutes. I think the jury, so to speak, is very much still out right now, even though the consensus by many, particularly all the Democrats, seem to say she was nothing but credible.
I think we do know his bar and I’ll throw this to you, Dan. He doesn’t want to lose.
Dan Abrams (05:03:12):
He doesn’t want to lose. But I think also, what, for example, commentators on Fox News say, is going to matter to him enormously in how he’s going to evaluate how this went.
Dan Abrams (05:03:23):
I think one thing that Sarah Fagan said that I think is important to talk about, which is about Rachel Mitchell, the prosecutor there, and the sorts of questions she might have asked, and she could have asked, and she could have been tougher, et cetera. I think she made a decision not to do that.
She did a job the way she would always do the job.
Dan Abrams (05:03:39):
Right. And I think she made a decision that, that it wouldn’t have helped her case to push it harder. You can say she should have pushed harder … but she’s an experienced prosecutor who made a decision there. And I think it was a concerted one.
It seems to me, Sunny Hostin, it seems to me, she says, “You want to hire me? You can hire me to do the job. I do every single day in Maricopa County.”
Sunny Hostin (05:04:01):
“I’m going to ask the questions the same. I would’ve asked them behind closed doors in Arizona.”
Sunny Hostin (05:04:04):
Except with their hands tied behind her back again. She didn’t have the tools that we generally have, but I do think that given her experience, she was a good person to do this, but not in the structure in which she did it.
And that leads to the question. We don’t know the answer to this yet. And we’ll see it soon enough.
Sorry. My microphone is coming out.
How does she handle Brett Kavanaugh?
Cokie Roberts (05:04:24):
Sunny Hostin (05:04:24):
Well, I think, again, she didn’t probe as much with Dr. Ford the particular incident. I’m not sure if that wasn’t a mistake. I think I would have at least asked a bit more about specifics. I think she has to probe Brett Kavanaugh about the party, about the specifics, and she must get into his drinking, but she must … [crosstalk 05:04:45]
Dan Abrams (05:04:45):
But why she? Why not the Democrats?
Well the Democrats are the Democrats are going to be- [crosstalk 05:04:49]
Sunny Hostin (05:04:48):
Well, the Democrats are going to as well. [crosstalk 05:04:49]
Dan Abrams (05:04:49):
Right, the Democrats will, but she’s there too to represent the Republicans. And so I don’t know how much she’s really going to want to push.
Sunny Hostin (05:04:54):
But if she is going to do the same thing that she did with Dr. Ford is stay the course, ask the questions that any prosecutor would ask. And the questions that you would ask would be about the drinking. You would test recollection. Because remember this is all about credibility. That’s all that this is about.
Dan Abrams (05:05:08):
But I think the question that she’s going to ask him are going to be questions in an effort to bolster his credibility.
Well I guess that’s going to be the question, Cokie Roberts, was she hired as a prosecutor, to treat each side in exactly the same way, or is she the Republican questioner?
Cokie Roberts (05:05:23):
Right? Exactly. And I- [crosstalk 05:05:24].
Dan Abrams (05:05:24):
The Republicans gave up all their time to, she has to be the Republican questioner.
Cokie Roberts (05:05:28):
I think she’s [inaudible 05:05:29] wrong question. But you asked, what’s it like for him going into, with his parents there and all of that. And you know, that’s going to be another test to see how people respond to him and whether they find him, if not only credible, but also sympathetic. And I think that, his wife and those cute little girls, all of that, you do feel a sense of sorrow for them. And for their friends that he’s coached and all of that. So I think the other night on television, he was not all that sympathetic.
PART 9 OF 18 ENDS [05:06:04]
Speaker 39 (05:06:00):
… on television, he was not all that sympathetic. And so the question is does he come across as somebody that you really care about in these hearings as well as Blasey.
George Stephanopoulos (05:06:10):
That’s one of the things, and then as we’ve talked about, he has not been particularly popular coming into this, but I want to bring this to you, Terry Moran, and this’ll be an interesting strategic question for the Democrats as well. Many of the Democrats believe that Judge Kavanaugh has not been fully honest in his testimony about how he handled cases when he was at the Bush White House when he was involved in earlier judicial confirmation hearings. Some say he’s already perjured himself. The question for them is do they make that part of the proceedings today?
Terry Moran (05:06:36):
I don’t think there’s going to be any question that Democrats are going to try to call into question whatever Brett Kavanaugh says about Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation by raising what they say was his evasion, or they believe, many of them, his outright deception on matters including his record at the Bush White House, whether he received pilfered emails from the democratic staff of the judiciary committee. I bet we’ll hear Patrick Leahy, Senator Leahy about this, because he was chairman of the committee at the time and is livid about it. They will try to condition people’s understanding of what Brett Kavanaugh is saying about this allegation with what they think happened, what they argue happened in his hearing.
George Stephanopoulos (05:07:17):
John Karl, prior to this allegation coming out, it certainly did appear that the Judge Kavanaugh was headed for a relatively easy confirmation, even though it would have been closed as these are partisan times, despite those questions.
Jonathan Karl (05:07:30):
He was absolutely headed towards confirmation. It may have been a party line confirmation. He may have had a two or three at the most Republicans as Neil Gorsuch was, but this was a relatively smooth process, and he made it through the hearings. They were moving towards their vote when this all came out, and I think that’s where you heard some of that real frustration at the beginning of this hearing from Chuck Grassley with how this was all handled and the fact that Diane Feinstein had access to Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations before this process was really truly underway.
George Stephanopoulos (05:08:10):
And Mary Bruce, I mean, there had been some talk before these allegations came forward that red state Democrats, Joe Manchin in West Virginia, Brian Donnelly in Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota may vote for Judge Kavanaugh. Are we beyond that at this point? Are we going to see absolutely united Democrats against this, 49 votes against?
Mary Bruce (05:08:31):
I think so. I have a really hard time imagining that you won’t see that. And George, I’m sorry, if you notice me looking over my shoulder, we do expect Judge Kavanaugh to walk by here any moment now. But in many ways, these allegations coming out and then piling up have given those red state Democrats a lot of cover, an ability for them to now say, look, that they have to stand with the rest of the democratic caucus. It is very hard to imagine that they don’t vote in that day.
George Stephanopoulos (05:08:53):
Yeah. It’s hard to imagine that a Democrat would be the 51st vote for Judge Kavanaugh at this point.
Mary Bruce (05:08:59):
I think that’s almost …
Speaker 39 (05:09:02):
That would be Mike Pence.
George Stephanopoulos (05:09:08):
Cecilia, I think the president’s scheduled to be in West Virginia on Saturday night. Wheeling, West Virginia, another one of those rallies. He had been hoping perhaps to put pressure on Joe Manchin.
Cecilia Vega (05:09:17):
Exactly, and we also know that in his recent past campaign rallies, Judge Kavanaugh’s name has become a rallying cry. This is something that he is using on the campaign trail to rally his base, and I was just reading some tweets of Trump supporters online. Those who are a little nervous going into the midterms feel that this what is about to happen in the next few hours is very much the president’s last chance to salvage a potentially conservative pick on the Supreme Court if they lose the Senate. Is that … Are we seeing …
George Stephanopoulos (05:09:45):
Chairman Grassley’s going back in right now. Also, Senator Hatch. We’ve got Alex Castellanos, Republican strategist on the phone as well. Alex, your reaction to the first half of the hearing?
Alex Castellanos (05:09:55):
I think it was a disaster for Republicans, George. I think we saw why Donald Trump found it so easy to take over the Republican Party, because we saw how weak these Republican senators were. Their job was not just to get at the truth. Their job was also to discredit a political assault from Democrats that’s been going on for a while. They didn’t touch it. They didn’t get into it at all. I think they threw Kavanaugh under the bus to save their own hides here, and it’s going to make it a lot more difficult to confirm Kavanaugh.
George Stephanopoulos (05:10:32):
Can he salvage it this afternoon?
Alex Castellanos (05:10:34):
Well, he’s going to have to demonstrate a tremendous amount of strength, and he’s going to have to be his own best defense. He’s going to have to say, “Look, there are two other guys who’ve come forward and said that they did this, not me. There is no corroborating evidence here. If there are only six of us there, including her, who drove her home? I didn’t.” He’s going to have to take the office, demonstrate strength, or this nomination is in trouble.
George Stephanopoulos (05:11:01):
So it’s all on him at this point. Thank you, Alex. Dan, it just hit me that I think at the very beginning of the hearing, I read that tweet from Debbie Ramirez to Dr. Ford. Since then, we haven’t talked about the fact that actually two other women have come forward. It’s not just Dr. Blasey Ford.
Right, but I think for the purposes of Christine Ford’s testimony, it was just about her. The question now is going to be in the Kavanaugh part of this, do these other allegations come forward? And look, there’s an argument to be made that with all of these various allegations coming forward, that there is some element of that which could help Kavanaugh, which is which-
George Stephanopoulos (05:11:43):
Because those are weaker.
Exactly. There’s certain allegations which are stronger, certain that are weaker, and the Kavanaugh supporters can focus on the weaker ones and then try and lump them all in together and say, “Oh, there’s all sorts of problems with all of these allegations.”
George Stephanopoulos (05:11:56):
I think we are just seeing Judge Kavanaugh round the corner about to head into the hearing room. Senator Grassley, Senator Feinstein in their place.
Speaker 40 (05:12:03):
Judge Kavanaugh, what’s your message to Dr. Ford? Any message for Dr. Ford?
George Stephanopoulos (05:12:07):
Straight-faced heading in, flanked by his wife. They met in the Bush White House, and is now about to face the most consequential couple of hours of his public life answering questions about …
Speaker 41 (05:12:21):
Judge Kavanaugh, what’s your message to Dr. Ford?
George Stephanopoulos (05:12:23):
Painful questions to answer [crosstalk 05:12:26] about his past in front of his wife, in front of senators, in front of his family, in front of the entire country. He has just entered the hearing room and approaching the desk. He’s flanked there by his wife, Ashley Kavanaugh. She’s taking … Actually, that is Don McGahn now in the front row. That’s the president’s council, who’s been his chief advocate inside the White House. His father, Edward Kavanaugh there on the left in the gray hair. And Judge Kavanaugh now entering the room.
Cecilia Vega (05:13:29):
The special coach to the White House says it all comes down to him.
George Stephanopoulos (05:13:45):
That was Dr. Ford’s first time before a Senate committee. He’s done this many times, but nothing like this.
Chuck Grassley (05:13:57):
Judge Kavanaugh, we welcome you. Are you ready?
Judge Kavanaugh (05:14:02):
Chuck Grassley (05:14:03):
I have something I want to clear up from the last meeting that doesn’t affect you, so before I swear you, I would like to explain my response to Senator Kennedy right after the break. At that time, I entered into the record statements of three witnesses Dr. Ford said were also at the party. These statements were provided to us under penalty of felony by lying if you lie to Congress. As soon as my team learned the names of these three potential witnesses, we immediately reached out to them requesting an interview. In response, all three submitted statements to us denying any knowledge of the gathering Dr. Ford described.
Chuck Grassley (05:14:57):
If we had calls with them, we would’ve invited the minority to join. Every time that we’ve received any information regarding Judge Kavanaugh, we’ve sought to immediately follow through and investigate. The minority staff sat on Dr. Ford’s letter for weeks, and staff told us that they believed it is, “highly inappropriate to have these follow-up calls before the FBI finishes its investigation,” even though the FBI had completed its background information. When we followed up with Judge Kavanaugh after we received Dr. Ford’s allegations, the ranking member’s staff didn’t join us, even though these calls are usually done on a bipartisan basis. They joined other calls with the judge, but they didn’t participate or ask any questions.
Chuck Grassley (05:15:54):
Would you please rise, sir?
Judge Kavanaugh (05:16:00):
Chuck Grassley (05:16:00):
Do you affirm that the testimony you’re about to give before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Judge Kavanaugh (05:16:07):
Chuck Grassley (05:16:08):
Yeah. And like we offered to Dr. Ford, you can take whatever time you want now for your opening statement, and then we’ll go to questions. So proceed.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:16:23):
Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Feinstein, members of the committee, thank you for allowing me to make my statement. I wrote it myself yesterday afternoon and evening. No one has seen a draft or it, except for one of my former law clerks. This is my statement.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:16:48):
Less than two weeks ago, Dr. Ford publicly accused me of committing wrongdoing at an event more than 36 years ago when we were both in high school. I denied the allegation immediately, categorically and unequivocally. All four people allegedly at the event, including Dr. Ford’s longtime friend, Ms. Keyser, have said they recall no such event. Her longtime friend, Ms. Keyser, said under penalty of felony that she does not know me and does not believe she ever saw me at a party ever. Here is the quote from Ms. Keyser’s attorney’s letter: “Simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh, and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with or without Dr. Ford.” Think about that fact.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:17:53):
The day after the allegation appeared, I told this committee that I wanted a hearing as soon as possible to clear my name. I demanded a hearing for the very next day. 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.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:18:40):
When this allegation first arose, I welcomed any kind of investigation, Senate, FBI or otherwise. The committee now has conducted a thorough investigation, and I’ve cooperated fully. I know that any kind of investigation, Senate, FBI, Montgomery County Police, whatever will clear me. Listen to the people I know. Listen to the people who’ve known me my whole life. Listen to the people I’ve grown up with and worked with and played with and coached with and dated and taught and gone to games with and had beers with, and listen to the witnesses who allegedly were at this event 36 years ago. Listen to Ms. Keyser. She does not know me. I was not at the party described by Dr. Ford.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:19:40):
This confirmation process has become a national disgrace. The Constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy. Since my nomination in July, there’s been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation. Shortly after I was nominated, the Democratic Senate leader said he would, “oppose me with everything he’s got.” A Democratic senator on this committee publicly referred to me as evil. Evil. Think about that word. And said that those who supported me were “complicit in evil.” Another Democratic senator on this committee said, “Judge Kavanaugh is your worst nightmare.” A former head of the Democratic National Committee said, “Judge Kavanaugh will threaten the lives of millions of Americans for decades to come.”
Judge Kavanaugh (05:20:54):
I understand the passions of the moment, but I would say to those senators, your words have meaning. Millions of Americans listen carefully to you. Given comments like those, is it any surprise that people have been willing to do anything to make any physical threat against my family, to send any violent e-mail to my wife, to make any kind of allegation against me and against my friends to blow me up and take me down? You sowed the wind for decades to come. I fear that the whole country will reap the whirlwind.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:21:43):
The behavior of several of the Democratic members of this committee at my hearing a few weeks ago was an embarrassment, but at least it was just a good old-fashioned attempt at borking. Those efforts didn’t work. When I did at least okay enough at the hearings that it looked like I might actually get confirmed, a new tactic was needed. Some of you were lying in wait and had it ready. This first allegation was held in secret for weeks by a Democratic member of this committee and by staff. It would be needed only if you couldn’t take me out on the merits.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:22:23):
When it was needed, this allegation was unleashed and publicly deployed over Dr. Ford’s wishes, and then, and then, as no doubt was expected if not planned, came a long series of false last-minute smears designed to scare me and drive me out of the process before any hearing occurred. Crazy stuff. Gangs, illegitimate children, fights on boats in Rhode Island. All nonsense, reported breathlessly and often uncritically by the media. 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.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:23:21):
This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups. This is a circus. The consequences will extend long past my nomination. The consequences will be with us for decades. This grotesque and coordinated character assassination will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from serving our country. And as we all know, in the United States political system of the early 2000s, what goes around comes around.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:24:23):
I am an optimistic guy. I always try to be on the sunrise side of the mountain, to be optimistic about the day that is coming. But today, I have to say that I fear for the future. Last time I was here, I told this committee that a federal judge must be independent, not swayed by public or political pressure. I said I was such a judge, and I am. I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. You’ve tried hard. You’ve given it your all. No one can question your effort, but your coordinated and well-funded effort to destroy my good name and to destroy my family will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. You may defeat me in the final vote, but you’ll never get me to quit. Never.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:25:27):
I’m here today to tell the truth. I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone. Not in high school, not in college, not ever. Sexual assault is horrific. One of my closest friends to this day is a woman who was sexually abused and who, in the 1990s when we were in our 30s, confided in me about the abuse and sought my advice. I was one of the only people she consulted. Allegations of sexual assault must always be taken seriously, always. Those who make allegations always deserve to be heard. At the same time, the person who was the subject of the allegations also deserves to be heard. Due process is a foundation of the American rule of law. Due process means listening to both sides. As I told you at my hearing three weeks ago, I’m the only child of Martha and Ed Kavanaugh. They’re here today. When I was 10, my mom went to law school, and as a lawyer, she worked hard and overcame barriers, including the workplace sexual harassment that so many women faced at the time and still face today. She became a trailblazer, one of Maryland’s earliest women prosecutors and trial judges. She and my dad taught me the importance of equality and respect for all people, and she inspired me to be a lawyer and a judge.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:27:13):
Last time I was here, I told you that when my mom was a prosecutor and I was in high school, she used to practice her closing arguments at the dining room table on my dad and me. As I told you, her trademark line was, “Use your common sense. What rings true? What rings false?” Her trademark line is a good reminder as we sit here today, some 36 years after the alleged event occurred, when there is no corroboration and indeed it is refuted by the people allegedly there. After I have been in the public arena for 26 years without even a hint, a whiff of an allegation like this. And when my nomination to the Supreme Court was just about to be voted on, at a time when I’m called “evil” by a Democratic member of this committee, while Democratic opponents of my nomination say people will die if I am confirmed.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:28:19):
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. I intend no ill will to Dr. Ford and her family. The other night, Ashley and my daughter, Liza, said their prayers, and little Liza — all of 10 years old said to Ashley, “We should pray for the woman.” It’s a lot of wisdom from a 10-year old. We mean no ill will. First, let’s start with my career. For the last 26 years, since 1992, I have served in many high profile and sensitive government positions for which the FBI has investigated my background six separate times. Six separate FBI background investigations over 26 years, all of them after the event alleged here. I have been in the public arena and under extreme public scrutiny for decades. In 1992, I worked for the Office of Solicitor General in the Department of Justice. In 1993, I clerked on the Supreme Court for Justice Anthony Kennedy. I spent 4 years at the Independent Counsel’s office during the 1990s. That office was the subject of enormous scrutiny from the media and the public.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:30:34):
During 1998, the year of the impeachment of President Clinton, our office generally and I personally were in the middle of an intense national media and political spotlight. I and other leading members of Ken Starr’s office were opposition researched from head to toe, from birth through the present day. Recall the people who were exposed that year of 1998 as having in engaged in some sexual wrongdoing or indiscretions in their pasts. One person on the left even paid a million dollars for people to report evidence of sexual wrongdoing, and it worked. Exposed some prominent people. Nothing about me.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:31:20):
From 2001 to 2006, I worked for President George W. Bush in the White House. As Staff Secretary, I was by President Bush’s side for three years and was entrusted with the nation’s most sensitive secrets. I traveled on Air Force One all over the country and the world with President Bush. I went everywhere with him, from Texas to Pakistan, from Alaska to Australia, from Buckingham Palace to the Vatican three years in the West Wing, five and a half years in the White House.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:31:57):
I was then nominated to be a judge on the D.C. Circuit. I was thoroughly vetted by the White House, the FBI, the American Bar Association, and this committee. I sat before this committee for two thorough confirmation hearings in 2004 and 2006. For the past 12 years leading up to my nomination for this job, I’ve served in a very public arena as a federal judge on what is often referred to as the second-most important court in the country. I’ve handled some of the most significant sensitive cases affecting the lives and liberties of the American people. I have been a good judge, and for this nomination, another FBI background investigation, another American Bar Association investigation, 31 hours of hearings, 65 senator meetings, 1,200 written questions, more than all previous Supreme Court nominees combined. Throughout that entire time, throughout my 53 years and 7 months on this earth, until last week, no one ever accused me of any kind of sexual misconduct. No one, ever. A lifetime. A lifetime of public service and a lifetime of high-profile public service at the highest levels of American government and never a hint of anything of this kind, and that’s because nothing of this kind ever happened.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:33:40):
Second, let’s turn to specifics. I categorically and unequivocally deny the allegation against me by Dr. Ford. I never had any sexual or physical encounter of any kind with Dr. Ford. I never attended a gathering like the one Dr. Ford describes in her allegation. I’ve never sexually assaulted Dr. Ford or anyone. Again, I am not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person in some place at some time, but I’ve never done that to her or to anyone.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:34:24):
Dr. Ford’s allegation stems from a party that she alleges occurred during the summer of 1982, 36 years ago. I was 17 years old, between my junior and senior years of high school at Georgetown Prep, a rigorous all-boys Catholic Jesuit High School in Rockville, Maryland. When my friends and I spent time together at parties on weekends, it was usually with friends from nearby Catholic all-girls high schools, Stone Ridge, Holy Child, Visitation, Immaculata, Holy Cross. Dr. Ford did not attend one of those schools. She attended an independent private school named Holton-Arms and she was a year behind me. She and I did not travel in the same social circles. It is possible that we met at some point at some events, although I do not recall that.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:35:26):
To repeat, all of the people identified by Dr. Ford as being present at the party have said they do not remember any such party ever happening. Importantly, her friend, Ms. Keyser, has not only denied knowledge of the party, Ms. Keyser said under penalty of felony she does not know me and does not recall ever being at a party with me ever. And my two male friends who were allegedly there, who knew me well, have told this committee under penalty of felony that they do not recall any such party, and that I never did or would do anything like this.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:36:09):
Dr. Ford’s allegation is not merely uncorroborated, it is refuted by the very people she says were there, including by a long-time friend of hers, refuted. Third, Dr. Ford has said that this event occurred at a house near Columbia Country Club, which is at the corner of Connecticut Avenue in the East-West Highway in Chevy Chase, Maryland. In her letter to Senator Feinstein, she said that there were four other people at the house, but none of those people, nor I, lived near Columbia Country Club. As of the summer of 1982, Dr. Ford was 15 and could not drive yet, and she did not live near Columbia Country Club. She says confidently that she had one beer at the party, but she does not say how she got to the house in question or how she got home or whose house it was.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:37:12):
Fourth, I have submitted to this committee detailed calendars recording my activities in the summer of 1982. Why did I keep calendars? My dad started keeping detailed calendars of his life in 1978. He did so as both a calendar and a diary. He was a very organized guy to put it mildly. Christmas time, we’d sit around and he regales us with old stories, old milestones, old weddings, old events from his calendars.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:38:23):
In ninth grade, in 1980, I started keeping calendars of my own. For me, also, it’s both a calendar and a diary. I’ve kept such calendars as diaries for the last 38 years. Mine are not as good as my dad’s in some years, and when I was a kid, the calendars are about what you would expect from a kid: some goofy parts, some embarrassing parts. But I did have the summer of 1982 documented pretty well. The event described by Dr. Ford, presumably happened on a weekend, because I believed everyone worked and had jobs in the summers. In any event, a drunken early evening event of the kind she describes, presumably happened on a weekend.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:39:28):
If it was a weekend, my calendars show that I was out of town almost every weekend night before football training camp started in late August. The only weekend nights that I was in D.C. were Friday, June 4, when I was with my dad at a pro golf tournament and had my high school achievement test at 8:30 the next morning.
PART 10 OF 18 ENDS [05:40:04]
Judge Kavanaugh (05:40:05):
I also was in D.C. on Saturday night, August 7th, but I was at a small gathering at Becky’s house in Rockville with Matt, Denise, Lori, and Jenny. Their names are all listed on my calendar. I won’t use their last names here. And then on the weekend of August 20 to 22nd, I was staying at the Garretts’ with Pat and Chris, as we did final preparations for football training camp that began on Sunday, the 22nd. As the calendars confirm, that weekend before a brutal football training camp schedule was no time for parties. So let me emphasize this point, if the party described by Dr. Ford happened in the summer of 1982 on a weekend night, my calendar shows all but definitively that I was not there. During the weekdays in the summer of 1982, as you can see, I was out of town for two weeks of the summer for a trip to the beach with friends and at the legendary five-star basketball camp in Honesdale, Pennsylvania.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:41:27):
When I was in town, I spent much of my time working, working out, lifting weights, playing basketball, or hanging out and having some beers with friends, as we talked about life and football and school and girls. Some have noticed that I didn’t have church on Sundays on my calendars. I also didn’t list brushing my teeth. And for me, going to church on Sundays was like brushing my teeth, automatic, still is. In the summer of 1981, I had worked construction. In the summer of 1982, my job was cutting lawns. I had my own business of sorts. You see some specifics about the lawn cutting listed on the August calendar page when I had to time the last lawn cuttings of the summer of various lawns before football training camp. I played in a lot of summer league basketball games for the Georgetown Prep team at night at Blair High School in Silver Spring. Many nights I worked out with other guys at Tobin’s house.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:42:50):
He was the great quarterback on our football team and his dad ran workouts, or lifted weights at Georgetown Prep in preparation for the football season. I attended and watched many sporting events as is my habit to this day. The calendars show a few weekday gatherings at friend’s houses after a workout or just to meet up and have some beers. But none of those gatherings included the group of people that Dr. Ford has identified. And as my calendars show, I was very precise about listing who was there, very precise. And keep in mind my calendars also were diaries of sorts, forward-looking and backward-looking just like my dad’s. You can see for example, that I crossed out missed workouts and the canceled doctor’s appointments. And then I listed the precise people who had shown up for certain events. The calendars are obviously not dispositive on their own, but they are another piece of evidence in the mix for you to consider.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:44:14):
Fifth, Dr. Ford’s allegation is radically inconsistent with my record and my character for my youth to the present day. As students at an all-boys Catholic Jesuit school, many of us became friends and remain friends to this day with students at local Catholic all-girls schools. One feature of my life that has remained true to the present day is that I’ve always had a lot of close female friends. I’m not talking about girlfriends. I’m talking about friends who are women. That started in high school. Maybe it was because I’m an only child and had no sisters, but anyway we had no social media or text or email and we talked on the phone. I remember talking almost every night it seemed to my friends, Amy or Julie or Kristen or Karen or Suzanne or Maura or Megan or Nikki. The list goes on, friends for a lifetime, built on a foundation of talking through school and life starting at age 14. Several of those great women are in the seats right behind me today.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:45:45):
My friends and I sometimes got together and had parties on weekends. The drinking age was 18 in Maryland for most of my time in high school and was 18 in D.C. for all my time in high school. I drank beer with my friends, almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers, sometimes others did. I liked beer. I still like beer. But I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out and I never sexually assaulted anyone. There is a bright line between drinking beer, which I gladly do and which I fully embrace, and sexually assaulting someone, which is a violent crime. If every American who drinks beer or every American who drank beer in high school is suddenly presumed guilty of sexual assault, we’ll be an ugly new place in this country. I never committed sexual assault. As high school students, we sometimes did goofy or stupid things. I doubt we are alone in looking back at high school and cringing at some things. For one thing, our yearbook was a disaster. I think some editors and students wanted the yearbook to be some combination of Animal House, Caddyshack, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which were all recent movies at that time. Many of us went along in the yearbook to the point of absurdity. This past week, my friends and I have cringed when we read about it and talked to each other. One thing in particular we’re sad about, one of our good female friends who we would admire and went to dances with had her name used on a yearbook page with the term, “alumnus.” That yearbook reference was clumsily intended to show affection and that she was one of us. But in this circus, the media has interpreted the term as related to sex. It was not related to sex. The woman herself noted to the media on the record. She and I never had any sexual interaction at all. So sorry to her for that yearbook reference. This may sound a bit trivial given all that we are here for, but one thing I want to try to make sure of in the future is my friendship with her. She was and is a great person. As to sex, this is not a topic I ever imagined would come up at a judicial confirmation hearing, but I want to give you a full picture of who I was. I never had sexual intercourse or anything close to it during high school or for many years after that. In some crowds, I was probably a little outwardly shy about my inexperience, tried to hide that. At the same time I was also inwardly proud of it. For me and the girls who I was friends with, that lack of major or rampant sexual activity in high school was a matter of faith and respect, and caution. The committee has a letter from 65 women who knew me in high school.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:50:24):
They said that I always treated them with dignity and respect. That letter came together in one night, 35 years after graduation, while a sexual assault allegation was pending against me in a very fraught and public situation where they knew they’d be vilified if they defended me. Think about that. They put their selves on the line for me, those are some awesome women and I love all of them. You also have a letter from women who knew me in college, most were varsity athletes. And they described that I treated them as friends and equals, and supported them in their sports at a time when women’s sports was emerging in the wake of Title IX. I thank all of them for all their texts and their emails, and their support. One of those women friends from college, a self-described liberal and feminist sent me a text last night that said, “Deep breaths. You’re a good man, a good man, a good man.” A text yesterday from another of those women friends from college said, “Brett, be strong, pulling for you to my core.”
Judge Kavanaugh (05:52:14):
A third text yesterday from yet another of those women I’m friends with from college said, “I’m holding you in the light of God.” As I said in my opening statement, the last time I was with you, cherish your friends, look out for your friends, lift up your friends, love your friends. I felt that love more over the last two weeks than I ever have in my life. I thank all my friends. I love all my friends. Throughout my life, I’ve devoted huge efforts to encouraging and promoting the careers of women. I will put my record up against anyone’s, male or female. I am proud of the letter from 84 women, 84 women who worked with me at the Bush White House from 2001 to 2006 and described me as “a man of the highest integrity.” Read the op-ed from Sarah Day from Yarmouth, Maine. She worked in the Oval Office operations outside of President Bush’s office. Here’s what she recently wrote in centralmaine.com. And today she stands by her comments.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:53:44):
“Brett was an advocate for young women like me. He encouraged me to take on more responsibility and to feel confident in my role. In fact, during the 2004 Republican National Convention, Brett gave me the opportunity to help with the preparation and review of the president’s remarks. Something I never would have had the chance to do if he had not included me. And he didn’t just include me in the work, he made sure I was at Madison Square Garden to watch the president’s speech instead of back at the hotel watching on TV.” As a judge since 2006, I’ve had the privilege of hiring for recent law school graduates to serve as my law clerks each year. The law clerks for federal judges are the best and brightest graduates of American law schools. They work for one year terms for judges after law school and then they move on in their careers.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:54:54):
For judges, training these young lawyers is an important responsibility. The clerks will become the next generation of American lawyers and leaders, judges, and senators. Just after I took the bench in 2006, there was a major New York Times story about the low numbers of women law clerks at the Supreme Court and federal appeals courts. I took notice and I took action. A majority of my 48 law clerks over the last 12 years have been women. In a letter to this committee, my women law clerks said I was one of the strongest advocates in the federal judiciary for women lawyers. And they wrote that the legal profession is fair and more equal because of me. In my time on the bench, no federal judge, not a single one in the country has sent more women law clerks to clerk on the Supreme Court than I have. Before this allegation arose two weeks ago, I was required to start making certain administrative preparations for my possible transfer to the Supreme Court, just in case I was confirmed.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:56:19):
As part of that I had to, in essence, contingently hire a first group of four law clerks who could be available to clerk at the Supreme Court for me on a moment’s notice. I did so and contingently hired four law clerks, all four are women. If confirmed, I’ll be the first justice in the history of the Supreme Court to have a group of all women law clerks. That is who I am. That is who I was. Over the past 12 years, I’ve taught constitutional law to hundreds of students, primarily at Harvard Law School, where I was hired by then dean and now Justice Elena Kagan. One of my former women students, a Democrat, testified to this committee that I was an evenhanded professor who treats people fairly and with respect. In a letter to this committee, my former students, male and female alike wrote that I displayed a character that impressed us all. I love teaching law, but thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to teach again.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:57:45):
For the past seven years, I’ve coached my two daughters’ basketball teams. You saw many of those girls when they came to my hearing for a couple of hours. You have a letter from the parents of the girls I coached that described my dedication, commitment and character. I coached because I know that a girl’s confidence on the basketball court translates into confidence in other aspects of life. I love coaching more than anything I’ve ever done in my whole life. But thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to coach again. I’ve been a judge for 12 years. I have a long record of service to America and to the Constitution. I revere the Constitution. I am deeply grateful to President Trump for nominating me. He was so gracious to my family and me on the July night he announced my nomination at the White House. I thank him for his steadfast support.
Judge Kavanaugh (05:59:09):
When I accepted the president’s nomination, Ashley and I knew this process would be challenging. We never expected that it would devolve into this. Explaining this to our daughters has been about the worst experience of our lives. Ashley has been a rock. I thank God every day for Ashley and my family. We live in a country devoted to due process and the rule of law, that means taking allegations seriously. But if the mere allegation, the mere assertion of an allegation, a refuted allegation from 36 years ago is enough to destroy a person’s life and career, we will have abandoned the basic principles of fairness and due process that define our legal system in our country. I ask you to judge me by the standard that you would want applied to your father, your husband, your brother, or your son.
Judge Kavanaugh (06:00:38):
My family and I intend no ill will toward Dr. Ford or her family. But I swear today under oath before the Senate and the nation, before my family and God, I am innocent of this charge.
Senator Grassley (06:01:01):
Thank you, Judge Kavanaugh. Before we start questions, I won’t repeat what I said this morning, but we’ll do it the same way as we did for Dr. Ford and five minute rounds. And so we will start with Miss Mitchell.
Rachel Mitchell (06:01:29):
Good afternoon, Judge Kavanaugh. We have not met, my name is Rachel Mitchell. I’d like to go over a couple of guidelines for our question and answer session today. If I ask a question …
Judge Kavanaugh (06:01:47):
Yeah, I’m ready. Thank you.
Rachel Mitchell (06:01:50):
Okay. If I ask a question that you do not understand, please ask me to clarify it or ask it in a different way. I may ask a question where I incorporate some information you’ve already provided. If I get it wrong, please correct me. I’m not going to ask you to guess, if you do estimate, please let me know you’re estimating. And I want to make sure that all of the committee members have gotten a copy of the definition of sexual behavior.
Senator Grassley (06:02:19):
Yes, at least I have one [crosstalk 00:22:23].
Rachel Mitchell (06:02:21):
Okay, and you have that as well, Judge Kavanaugh?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:02:27):
Rachel Mitchell (06:02:28):
Okay. First of all, have you been given or reviewed a copy of the questions that I will be asking you?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:02:35):
Rachel Mitchell (06:02:36):
Has anyone told you the questions that I will be asking you?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:02:39):
Rachel Mitchell (06:02:42):
I want you to take a moment to review the definition that’s before you of sexual behavior. Have you had a chance to review it?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:03:22):
I have, I may refer back to it if I can.
Rachel Mitchell (06:03:24):
Yes, please. I’d like to point out two specific parts among the examples of sexual behavior, it includes rubbing or grinding your genitals against somebody clothed or unclothed. And I would also point out that the definition applies whether or not the acts were sexually motivated or for example, horseplay. Do you understand the definition I’ve given you?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:03:50):
Rachel Mitchell (06:03:51):
And again, if at any time you need to review that, please let me know. Dr. Ford has stated that somewhere between five or six people were present at the gathering on this date. You, Mark Judge, Leland Ingham at the time, or Leland Keyser now, Patrick P.J. Smith, Dr. Ford, and an unnamed boy. Do you know Mark Judge?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:04:23):
Rachel Mitchell (06:04:23):
Okay. How do you know him?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:04:29):
He was a friend at Georgetown Prep starting in ninth grade. He’s someone in our group of friends, we’re a very friendly group in class. You saw the letter that’s been sent by my friends from Georgetown Prep. Funny guy, great writer, popular. Developed a serious addiction problem that lasted decades. Near death a couple of times from his addiction. Suffered tremendously from …
Rachel Mitchell (06:05:17):
What is your relationship with him like now?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:05:20):
I haven’t talked to him in a couple of years. We’ve probably been on mass emails or group emails that go around among my high school friends.
Rachel Mitchell (06:05:29):
Okay. And how did you know Patrick Smith?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:05:34):
Also ninth grade, Georgetown Prep, went by P.J. then. He and I lived close to one another. Played football together, he was defensive tackle. I was the quarterback, wide receiver. We carpooled to school along with Dee Davis every year, the three of us for two years. I didn’t have a car, so one of the two of them would drive every day and I’d be in the … they’d pick me up.
Rachel Mitchell (06:06:10):
What’s your relationship like with him now?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:06:13):
He lives in the area, I see him once in awhile. I hadn’t seen him since this thing.
Rachel Mitchell (06:06:19):
Do you know Leland Ingham or Leland Keyser?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:06:23):
I know of her. And it’s possible I met her in high school at some point at some event. Yeah, I know of her. And again, I don’t want to rule out having cross paths with her in high school,
Rachel Mitchell (06:06:40):
Similar to your statements about knowing Dr. Ford?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:06:45):
Rachel Mitchell (06:06:47):
Senator Grassley (06:06:47):
Senator Feinstein (06:06:54):
Judge Kavanaugh, it’s my understanding that you have denied the allegations by Dr. Ford, Ms. Ramirez and Ms. Swetnick, is that correct?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:07:07):
Senator Feinstein (06:07:07):
All three of these women have asked the F.B.I. to investigate their claims. I listened carefully to what you said, your concern is evident and clear. And if you’re very confident of your position and you appear to be, why aren’t you also asking the F.B.I. to investigate these claims?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:07:32):
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. Instead, 10 days passed where all this nonsense is coming out, that I’m in gangs, I’m on boats in Rhode Island. I’m in Colorado. I’m cited all over the place. And these things are printed and run breathlessly by cable news. I wanted a hearing the next day, my family has been destroyed by this Senator, destroyed. And whatever the committee decides, I’m all in immediately.
Senator Feinstein (06:08:16):
The question is-
Judge Kavanaugh (06:08:16):
I’m all in immediately.
Senator Feinstein (06:08:18):
Yeah, and the terrible and hard part of this is, when we get an allegation, we’re not in a position to prove it or disprove it. Therefore, we have to depend on some outside authority for it. And it just seemed to me then when these allegations came forward, that you would want the F.B.I. to investigate those claims and clear it up once and for all.
Judge Kavanaugh (06:08:44):
Senator, the committee investigates, it’s not for me to say how to do it, but just so you know, the F.B.I. doesn’t reach a conclusion. They would give you a couple of 302s that just tell you what we said. So I’m here, I wanted to be here the next day. It’s an outrage that I was not allowed to come and immediately defend my name and say I didn’t do this and give you all this evidence. I’m not even in D.C. on the weekends in the summer of 1982. This happened on a weekday, what was it, when I’m not at Blair High School for a summer league game. I’m not at Tobin’s house working out. I’m not at a movie with Suzanne. I wanted to be here right away.
Senator Feinstein (06:09:34):
Well, the difficult thing is that these hearings are set by the majority. But I’m talking about getting the evidence and having the evidence looked at, and I don’t understand … We hear from the witnesses, but the F.B.I. isn’t interviewing them and isn’t giving us any facts. So all we have-
Judge Kavanaugh (06:10:08):
You’re interviewing me, you’re interviewing me. You’re you’re doing it, Senator. I’m sorry to interrupt, but you’re doing it. There’s no conclusions reached.
Senator Feinstein (06:10:17):
And what you’re saying, if I understand it, is that the allegations by Dr. Ford, Ms. Ramirez and Ms. Swetnick are wrong.
Judge Kavanaugh (06:10:31):
Yeah, that is emphatically what I’m saying, emphatically. The Swetnick thing is a joke. That is a farce.
Senator Feinstein (06:10:42):
Would you like to say more about it?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:10:44):
Senator Feinstein (06:10:45):
Okay, that’s it. Thank you. Mr. Chairman.
Senator Grassley (06:10:49):
Rachel Mitchell (06:10:50):
Okay. Dr. Ford has described you as being intoxicated at a party. Did you consume alcohol during your high school years?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:11:02):
Yes. We drank beer, my friends and I, the boys and girls. Yes, we drank beer. I liked beer, still like beer. We drank beer. The drinking age as I noted was 18 so the seniors were legal, senior year in high school people were legal to drink. Yeah, we drank beer. And I said, sometimes probably had too many beers and sometimes other people had too many beers. We drank beer, we liked beer.
Rachel Mitchell (06:11:32):
What do you consider to be too many beers?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:11:36):
I don’t know. Whatever the chart says, blood alcohol chart.
Rachel Mitchell (06:11:48):
When you talked to Fox News the other night, you said that there were times in high school when people might have had too many beers on occasion. Does that include you?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:11:57):
Rachel Mitchell (06:11:57):
Okay. Have you ever passed out from drinking?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:12:05):
Passed out would be no, but I’ve gone to sleep, but I’ve never blacked out. That’s the allegation and that’s wrong.
Rachel Mitchell (06:12:17):
So let’s talk about your time in high school. In high school, after drinking. Did you ever wake up in a different location than you remembered, passing out or going to sleep?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:12:27):
Rachel Mitchell (06:12:29):
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?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:12:39):
Rachel Mitchell (06:12:42):
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?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:12:53):
No. We drank beer and so did I think the vast majority of people our age at the time. But in any event we drank beer and still do. So, whatever … yeah.
Rachel Mitchell (06:13:15):
During the time in high school when you would be drinking, did anyone ever tell you about something that you did not remember?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:13:21):
Rachel Mitchell (06:13:24):
Dr. Ford described a small gathering of people at a suburban Maryland home in the summer of 1982. She said that Mark Judge, P.J. Smith and Leland Ingham also were present as well as an unknown male, and that the people were drinking to varying degrees. Were you ever at a gathering that fits that description?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:13:49):
No, as I’ve said in my opening statements, opening statement.
Rachel Mitchell (06:13:53):
Dr. Ford described an incident where she was alone in a room with you and Mark Judge. Have you ever been alone in a room with Dr. Ford and Mark Judge?
Judge Kavanaugh (06:14:03):
PART 11 OF 18 ENDS [06:14:04]
Rachel Mitchell (06:14:00):
… ever been alone in a room with Dr. Ford and Mark Judge?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:14:04):
Rachel Mitchell (06:14:04):
Dr. Ford described an incident where you were grinding your genitals on her. Have you ever ground or rubbed your genitals against Dr. Ford?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:14:12):
Rachel Mitchell (06:14:13):
Dr. Ford describes an incident where you covered her mouth with your hand. Have you ever covered Dr. Ford’s mouth with your hand?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:14:20):
Rachel Mitchell (06:14:23):
Dr. Ford described an incident where you tried to remove her clothes. Have you ever tried to remove her clothes?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:14:29):
Rachel Mitchell (06:14:31):
Referring back to the definition of sexual behavior that I have given you, have you ever at any time engaged in sexual behavior with Dr. Ford?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:14:42):
Rachel Mitchell (06:14:44):
Have you ever engaged in sexual behavior with Dr. Ford even if it was consensual?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:14:49):
Rachel Mitchell (06:14:52):
I want to talk about your calendars. You submitted to the committee copies of the handwritten calendars that you’ve talked about for the months of May, June, July, and August of 1982. Do you have them in front of you?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:15:06):
Rachel Mitchell (06:15:07):
Did you create these calendars in the sense of all the handwriting that’s on them?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:15:11):
Rachel Mitchell (06:15:11):
Okay. Is it exclusively your handwriting?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:15:15):
Rachel Mitchell (06:15:17):
When did you make these entries?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:15:20):
Rachel Mitchell (06:15:22):
Has anything been changed for those since 1982?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:15:27):
Rachel Mitchell (06:15:33):
Do these calendars represent your plans for each day or do they document in other words, prospectively, or do they document what actually occurred more like a diary?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:15:47):
They’re both forward looking and backward looking, as you can tell by looking at them because I cross out certain doctor’s appointments that didn’t happen, or one night where I was supposed to lift weights. I crossed that out because I obviously didn’t make it that night. So you can see things that I didn’t do crossed out in retrospect. And also when I list the specific people who I was with, that is likely backward looking.
Rachel Mitchell (06:16:19):
You explained that you kept these calendars because your father started keeping them in 1978, I believe you said.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:16:25):
Rachel Mitchell (06:16:26):
That’s why you kept them. In other words, you wrote on them, but why did you keep them up until this time?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:16:33):
Well, he’s kept them too since 1978. So he’s a good role model.
Speaker 42 (06:16:39):
Ms. Mitchell, you’ll have to stop.
Rachel Mitchell (06:16:41):
Oh, I’m sorry.
Speaker 42 (06:16:42):
Judge Kavanaugh has asked for a break. So we’ll take a 15 minute break.
George Stephanopoulos (06:16:54):
Judge Kavanaugh taking a break there. Promised drama, promised emotion, got lots of it. Judge Kavanaugh, about 45 minute opening statement. If Dr. Ford started out in fear, he started out in anger talking about a search and destroy mission perpetrated by the Democrats. Went on with great emotion over that 40 minutes to deny unequivocally the allegations against him, say that nothing happened with Dr. Ford, no sexual contact of any kind. Conceded that at times, he did drink beer in high school, still drinks beer today, but was never blackout drunk. As some people have alleged in the days since these first allegations were made.
George Stephanopoulos (06:17:39):
He directed his arguments that the committee with anger at the Democrats in particular, clearly blaming them for the predicament he was in today. Said he and his family bore no ill will to Dr. Ford, even teared up as he talked about how his 10 year old daughter asked for the family to pray for her the other night. First round of questioning, he continues to express his denials. And one of the big questions on the table, the first one posed by Senator Feinstein, would he be open to an FBI investigation? Would he ask for an FBI investigation?
George Stephanopoulos (06:18:19):
David Muir there on Capitol Hill right now. You’ve now seen two examples of people who clearly believe every word of everything they were saying in their testimony today. And now it’s incumbent on the committee to decide who they believe.
David Muir (06:18:37):
Absolutely George. And for as much analysis as there was this morning for several hours on the emotion displayed by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, she admitted herself that she was terrified to be here. At times she was moved by the words being offered to her mostly by the democratic senators, obviously because the prosecutor who’s been retained by Republicans to ask the questions, that she was moved by what they would say to her.
David Muir (06:19:02):
In the very same way we’re already seeing on Twitter and across social media almost immediately is sort of an analysis of his emotion as he came into that room, his prepared statement, which he said had only been read by, I believe someone who clerked for him, that as he read through that speech, he would flip the pages with anger, visible anger for having been here multiple days after these allegations first surfaced.
David Muir (06:19:29):
He said he would have been here that very next day. He asked for it. They did not allow that to take place, in his words. There’s also an analysis of the tears, obviously, very emotional, as he talked about, as you just pointed out George, his daughter Liza, who suggested that during a family prayer, that they prayed for the lady too.
David Muir (06:19:49):
And as he has been sitting there before that Senate judiciary committee, George, just over obviously his right shoulder to our left, watching, his wife sitting there. Her bottom lip oftentimes trying to contain the emotion as she sits there and listens to her husband defend himself. You can see the image right there.
David Muir (06:20:07):
Two rows behind her are the attorneys for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. We had learned that Dr. Ford is not watching this part of the hearing, but that her attorneys would be in the room. They have sat there. We’ve been reading their facial expressions as well, though mostly contained on their part. And that moment, when Senator Feinstein asked about an FBI investigation, “Why didn’t you ask for that?” He said, “I’m here today. I’m answering your questions. I’ll do whatever the committee wants,” but almost immediately on Twitter, there were many asking why didn’t he, if he’s so angry about these allegations, why did he not demand today an FBI investigation?
George Stephanopoulos (06:20:43):
Yeah, he was not ready to do that. There’s no question about that. Sitting here at the table, Cokie Roberts. And we’ve been talking about this over the course of, as we were listening to the testimony, I have to imagine that men and women watching this-
Cokie Roberts (06:21:02):
Are seeing this very differently.
George Stephanopoulos (06:21:02):
[crosstalk 06:21:02] going to see things in very differently.
Cokie Roberts (06:21:03):
It really is a divide. Again, on the Twitter accounts, I’m getting a lot of women saying, “Suppose a woman crying like that,” because yes, there were times that Dr. Ford teared up, but he’s been weeping. And that is something that women fight against all the time. And I think that this is something that the men will say, “He’s sincere. He’s clearly moved.” And women will say, “Oh, come on.”
George Stephanopoulos (06:21:30):
Cecilia Vega, clearly playing to an audience of one in the White House.
Cecilia Vega (06:21:33):
Oh, when he first came out, that was the only thing I could think of, that this was very much directed to an audience of one. And we know that person is watching. President Trump is in the White House watching right now. We are getting our first official reaction from inside the administration. The communication advisor, Mercedes Schlapp has tweeted, “Brett Kavanaugh, as a man of highest integrity,” and of course, that was right in the middle of his first hour of testimony.
Cecilia Vega (06:21:57):
Our team is reporting that to sources close to the president say that he was concerned for the fate of this hearing, given Dr. Ford’s compelling testimony saying that she seemed very compelling and very credible. But now the Kavanaugh’s performing well, they believe, they say “What’s not to like here? [inaudible 06:22:15] what they see, even perhaps in spite of the tears. I think a lot of us thought maybe that would not appeal to this president. It seems to be going over well.
Cecilia Vega (06:22:22):
I’ve got to say, though, in terms of these tears, I am sensing a real split. That those who support the Democrats, those who are opposed to President Trump and Brett Kavanaugh, say that he these tears and this emotion we’re seeing show that he doesn’t have the temperament to be a Supreme Court Judge. While on the other side, we’re hearing people say that this is the emotion of a slandered person.
George Stephanopoulos (06:22:44):
Dan, you said he had to come out strong. He sure did.
Dan Abrams (06:22:46):
Yeah. And look, and I thought that he did exactly what he needed to do at the outset. You could argue maybe too many tears. But if you are falsely accused of this sort of crime, and this is a crime what’s being accused, even though this is not a criminal proceeding, I think you have to be angry. You have to be aggressive. He was going after her credibility in her account of what she said. I think he had to do that.
Dan Abrams (06:23:14):
I think the one area where he may have gone too far was in his specific blame of, for example, revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left wing opposition groups. Even if you believe that, even if he believes that, even if his supporters believe that, he’s still going to be taking a place on the Supreme Court, where very carefully, when they’re questioned in these sort of hearings, they say look, “I’m not going to favor one side or the other. I’m going to call balls and strikes.” That sort of statement should make people maybe a little concerned. But bottom line is I thought that he did quite well.
Sunny Hostin (06:23:52):
I thought the tone was all wrong. I thought that he didn’t exhibit the temperament of a judge or certainly not a Supreme Court Justice. He’s had many people say that he was an aggressive and a mean drunk. And I will tell you after seeing that display, I don’t think it’s hard to imagine him as an aggressive drunk, as a mean drunk. And so that tone in and of itself will turn off many women. I know it turned me off. We saw him smearing. He was blaming the committee members for unleashing this upon him rather than addressing the allegations not by one, but two, but three women who don’t know each other.
Speaker 42 (06:24:29):
Sara Fagen, close friend and colleague, former colleague of judge Kavanaugh. Is that the man you know? The man you saw today?
Sara Fagen (06:24:37):
Well, he certainly was angry and rightfully so. And with respect to the last comment, it is ridiculous. When you stop and think about what he’s been through for him to have any other reaction. The Democrats did do this. They did. They stalled this out in a way that would maximize the impact on him in a negative way to his family. He had every right to have that reaction. There’d be something wrong with him if he didn’t.
George Stephanopoulos (06:25:05):
Sara, you say the Democrats-
Sara Fagen (06:25:07):
And really, and honestly, I want to say one more time.
George Stephanopoulos (06:25:08):
Yeah. Go ahead.
Sara Fagen (06:25:10):
To suggest somehow in the light of what has happened over the last two weeks that, wow he had an emotional reaction at a hearing. And well, imagine what a mean drunk he would have been 37 years ago, gives me a break.
George Stephanopoulos (06:25:25):
The question on the table about blaming the Democrats though, Sara, these are three different women who come forward. And according to the testimony today, Dr. Blasey Ford asked that her name be kept confidential after she sent the letter to Representative Eshoo and Senator Feinstein.
Sara Fagen (06:25:45):
She did ask for it to be kept confidential. She also made … her first call was to the Washington Post tip line. So those things don’t necessarily add up in my view. But more importantly than that, Senator Grassley offered to send people to interview her in California. And for whatever reason, she evidently was unaware of that. It’s hard to imagine she was unaware of that. But she said under oath, she was unaware of it. So I don’t think it’s … Someone leaked the letter. Republicans didn’t have the letter. So it leads us to believe that some member of some Congresswoman or Senator staff leaked the letter who was on the democratic minority.
David Muir (06:26:34):
I wonder though, what does it matter what the Democrats did or didn’t do? I mean, I understand from a political perspective, it’s important to discuss it. But in terms of assessing who’s telling the truth here, whether the Democrats released it earlier or not earlier, it doesn’t seem to me to really make much of a difference in terms of assessing credibility, does it?
Sunny Hostin (06:26:50):
I don’t think so.
Sara Fagen (06:26:50):
George Stephanopoulos (06:26:50):
Well, let Sara go. Go ahead, Sara.
Sara Fagen (06:26:53):
I was going to say, I think that’s actually a very, very fair question, a very fair point. And with respect to Judge Kavanaugh’s reaction and emotion to it, you can imagine why he would feel that he had been very abused by the process. As has [inaudible 06:27:10]. So I do … One of my complaints about it that. I would have liked to have seen more questioning from the prosecutor of her and him because I suspect the Democrats when they have their turn this afternoon will have a very similar tact that they had with Dr. Ford, which is that they’ll make statements. Or they’ll ask them some questions, but they’ll mostly make statements.
George Stephanopoulos (06:27:34):
Okay. Sara Fagen, thanks so much. I want to bring in Terry Moran as well. And Terry, right now, we get to this question of credibility. As I said, it’s clear that both Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh believe they are telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, both 100% sure about what did or didn’t happen on that day. The question is what the rest of us are going to do with it at this point.
George Stephanopoulos (06:27:54):
I wonder if you might also address the point that Dan and [Sonny 06:27:58] brought up about whether or not he did do this as charged. Did his performance somehow make it more difficult for him to serve on the court, even if he was fully justified in showing that emotion?
Terry Moran (06:28:12):
Well, that’s a great point. It’s a catch-22 for him. But on truth, what we’ve seen today, I think is a cost of truth, of speaking the truth. This morning, we saw the terrible emotion and lifelong cost of trauma that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was talking about. And I think we just saw a man struggling to keep himself from disintegrating, from falling apart on national TV. He roared with anger, unjudicious, raw anger. And then wept as Cokie pointed out for a long time. And because he knows, he’s never going to walk a college campus again and teach. That’s over for him. It may be that he’s not going to be able to teach girls basketball in the liberal suburbs of Washington DC. A lot has been taken from him, perhaps rightly depending on who you believe. But I think we have seen the cost of all this. And that is part of the cost of this process.
Terry Moran (06:29:11):
The Democrats had an opportunity to beat him fair and square on the merits. There are good arguments against putting Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court of the United States. They didn’t make them in a compelling enough way. And then there was this knowledge that the Senator Feinstein and several staffers had. And there were plenty of people that had it because it was leaking. People were leaking it, they were chasing Christine Blasey Ford around Palo Alto. And the Republicans weren’t told about it, Kavanaugh wasn’t told about it. And then bam. So you can see why he does get angry. And then to be told “Well your anger is at temperament problem,” it might be fair to vote on that basis, but that’s a heck of a catch-22.
George Stephanopoulos (06:29:52):
Yeah, there’s no way out for him in that trap.
George Stephanopoulos (06:29:56):
Mary Bruce, you’ve gotten the first reaction from chairman Grassley.
Mary Bruce (06:30:01):
Just a very brief reaction from the chairman George, as he was walking out out of the committee room just now. He was asked about all of the emotion in the room, all of the emotion from Judge Kavanaugh. And he said that he thinks that’s natural. And we certainly saw that emotion, not just from the judge, but from the senators as well. Just as they were moved by the powerful testimony of Dr. Ford, we noticed that Senator Graham, that Senator Cornyn, the number two Republican in the Senate were visibly emotional and moved when Kavanaugh was explaining the impact that all of this has had on his family.
Mary Bruce (06:30:30):
And we’re also hearing more broadly from the Republican side in general. One Republican aid telling us that they think that all of this emotion is good for them. They like all the anger and frustration that Judge Kavanaugh is conveying. But they also … you can see that Dr. Ford had very powerful testimony. And [inaudible 06:30:47] top aid telling us top Republican aid that they know that Judge Kavanaugh has to knock this one out of the park.
George Stephanopoulos (06:30:51):
John Carl, we’re getting more reaction from inside the White House.
Jonathan Karl (06:30:55):
Well, we’re hearing from inside the White House, officials saying that they think Kavanaugh’s doing what he need to hae done, positive reviews. He’s showing the passion that certainly the president wanted to see out of him. Not simply refuting the charges, but being angry about the charges and hitting back. Also something of an indicator perhaps from Trump world, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted just a short while ago, “I love Kavanaugh’s tone. It’s nice to see a conservative man fight for his honor and his family against a 35 year old claim with zero evidence.” So clearly it’s being positively received by those inside the president’s orbit. And we assume by the president himself. But of course, George, it really comes down to not what the president of the president’s team thinks, but what do those Republicans who could potentially swing this nomination think? What Susan Collins think? What does Jeff Flake sitting on that committee think about all of this?
George Stephanopoulos (06:31:53):
That’s right. Lisa Murkowski, as well. I want to bring in Carrie Severino, ally of Judge Kavanaugh from Judicial Crisis Network, has been working hard for his confirmation. Your reaction?
Carrie Severino (06:32:03):
You know, I feel like at first I was very impressed with Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony. I thought it was powerful. It was compelling. And you could understand the emotion of someone whose entire career has been … his entire reputation has been dragged through the mud these last few weeks. At the end of the day, I agree, Dr. Ford had a … what she described was awful. But also, we started the day with an allegation that had no corroboration, did not have evidence. And every witness that Dr. Ford herself placed at the scene had refuted her story. And after her testimony, we end in the same place. If anything, with a story, having shifted even slightly through her testimony and becoming slightly more muddled.
Carrie Severino (06:32:49):
And so, well again, the story she describes sounds awful. Anyone who sympathizes with her at this point should be outraged that the Democrats having politicized this for the impact on her, for the impact that Judge Kavanaugh described. This didn’t need to happen this way. They should have done this in a confidential setting.
George Stephanopoulos (06:33:06):
Carrie Severino, thanks very much. Judge Kavanaugh back at the witness table. Let’s listen.
Speaker 42 (06:33:36):
Patrick Leahy (06:33:38):
Thank you Mr. Chairman. Judge, you said before, and again today that Mark Judge was a close friend of yours in high school. Now Dr. Ford as you know, has said that he was in the room when she was attacked. She also says you were, too. Unfortunately, the FBI has never interviewed him. We’ve not been able to have his attendance here. The chairman refuses to call him. If she’s saying Mark judge was in the room then, then he should be in the room here today. Would you want him called as a witness?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:34:27):
Senator, this allegation came into the committee-
Patrick Leahy (06:34:30):
Oh, no I’m just asking the question. Would you want him to be here as a witness?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:34:35):
He’s already provided sworn testimony to the committee. This allegation has been hidden by the committee, by members of the committee.
Patrick Leahy (06:34:43):
It has not been investigated by the FBI. The committee has refused to allow it to be.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:34:48):
It was dropped on [crosstalk 06:34:49], it was sprung.
Patrick Leahy (06:34:50):
It was not investigated by the FBI. And he has not been called where he might be under oath.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:34:55):
Should have been handled in the due course, senator, when he came in.
Patrick Leahy (06:34:59):
I would disagree with that. I’ve been on this committee 44 years, both Republicans and Democrats, I’ve never seen somebody that critical and not allowed to be here, to called to be testified or FBI background.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:35:14):
He’s provided sworn testimony. And senator, let me finish. The allegation came in weeks ago and nothing was done with it by the ranking member. And then it sprung on me.
Patrick Leahy (06:35:28):
Judge Kavanaugh, I’ve heard your line and you’ve stated it over and over again. And I have that well in mind. But let me ask you this. He authored a book titled Wasted: Tales of a Genx Drunk. He references a Bart Kavanaugh vomiting in someone’s car during beach week, and then passing out. Is that you that he’s talking about?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:35:51):
Senator, Mark Judge was-
Patrick Leahy (06:35:55):
To your knowledge, was that you that he’s talking about?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:35:57):
I’ll explain if you, let me.
Speaker 42 (06:36:01):
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:36:03):
Mark Judge was a friend of ours in high school who developed a very serious drinking problem and addiction problem that lasted decades and was very difficult for him to escape from. And he nearly died. And then he had leukemia as well on top of it. Now, as part of his therapy, or part of his coming to grips with sobriety, he wrote a book that is a fictionalized book and an account. I think he picked out names of friends of ours to throw them in as kind of close to for characters in the book. So, we can sit here-
Patrick Leahy (06:36:46):
So we don’t know whether that’s you or not?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:36:48):
We can sit here and make fun of some guy who has an addiction. I don’t think that really makes-
Patrick Leahy (06:36:52):
[crosstalk 06:36:52]. I’m trying to get a straight answer from you under oath. Are you Bart Kavanaugh that he’s referring to? Yes or no.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:37:03):
You’d have to ask him.
Patrick Leahy (06:37:05):
Well, I agree with you there. And that’s why I wished that the chairman had him here under oath. Now you’ve talked about your yearbook. In your yearbook, you talked about drinking and sexual exploits. Did you not?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:37:26):
Senator, let me take a step back and explain high school. I was number one in the class and-
Patrick Leahy (06:37:37):
And I thought-
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:37:38):
No, no, no, no, no. You brought this up. I’m going to talk about my high school.
Speaker 42 (06:37:43):
Let him answer.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:37:44):
I’m going to talk my high school record if you’re going to sit here and mock me.
Speaker 42 (06:37:48):
I think we were all very fair to Dr. Ford. Shouldn’t we be just as fair to Judge Kavanaugh?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:37:54):
I busted my butt in academics. I always tried to do the best I could. So I recall I finished one in the class first in freshman and junior year, right up at the top with Steve Clark and Eddie Ayala. We were always kind of in the mix. I played sports. I was captain of the varsity basketball team. I was wide receiver and defensive back on the football team. I ran track in the spring of ’82 to try to get faster. I did my service projects at the school, which involved going to the soup kitchen downtown. Let me finish. And going to tutor intellectually disabled kids at the Rockville Library. Went to church. And yes, we got together with our friends.
Patrick Leahy (06:38:38):
Does this reflect what you are? Does this yearbook reflect your focus on academics and your respect for women? That’s easy, yes or no. You don’t have to filibuster the answer. Does it reflect your focus-
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:38:51):
I already said the yearbook, in my opening statement, the yearbook, obviously-
Speaker 42 (06:38:55):
Judge, just wait a minute. He’s asked the question. I’ll give you time to answer it.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:39:02):
The yearbook, as I said, in my opening statement was something where the students and editors made a decision to treat some of it as farce and some of it is exaggeration. Some of it’s celebrating things that don’t reflect the things that were really the central part of our school. Yes, we went to parties though. Yes, of course, we went to parties. And the yearbook page describes that and kind of makes fun of it. And 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 taken us to a new level of absurdity.
Speaker 42 (06:39:40):
Patrick Leahy (06:39:43):
We got a filibuster, but not a single answer.
Speaker 42 (06:39:47):
Rachel Mitchell (06:39:49):
Judge, do you still have your calendars there?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:39:52):
Rachel Mitchell (06:39:54):
I would like you to look at the July 1st entry.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:40:02):
Rachel Mitchell (06:40:04):
The entry says, and I quote, “Go to Timmy’s for skis with Judge, Tom, PJ, Bernie, and [Squi 00:26:13]?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:40:13):
Rachel Mitchell (06:40:13):
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:40:16):
It’s a nickname.
Rachel Mitchell (06:40:17):
To what does this refer and to whom?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:40:21):
So first says Tobin’s house workout. So, that’s one of the football workouts that we would have that [Dr. Phonesio 00:26:30] would run for guys on the football team during the summer. So we would be there. That’s usually six to eight or so. Kind of till dark. And then it looks like we went over to Timmy’s. You want to know their last names too? I’m happy to do it.
Rachel Mitchell (06:40:48):
If you could just identify, is Judge, Mark Judge?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:40:53):
Rachel Mitchell (06:40:54):
And is PJ, PJ Smith?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:40:57):
It is. So it’s Tim Gaudette, Mark Judge, Tom Kane, PJ Smith, Bernie McCarthy, Chris Garrett.
Rachel Mitchell (06:41:06):
Chris Garrett is Squi?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:41:08):
Rachel Mitchell (06:41:10):
Did you and your calendar routinely document social gatherings, like house parties or gatherings of friends in your calendar?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:41:22):
Yes. It certainly appears that way. That’s what I was doing in the summer of 1982, and you can see that reflected on several of the entries.
Rachel Mitchell (06:41:33):
If a gathering like Dr. Ford has described had occurred, would you have documented that?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:41:40):
Yes. Because I documented everything, those kinds of events, even small get-togethers. August 7th is another good example where I documented a small get-together that summer. So yes.
Rachel Mitchell (06:41:55):
August 7th. Could you read that?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:42:02):
Think that’s go to Becky’s. Matt, Denise, Laurie, Jenny.
Rachel Mitchell (06:42:17):
Have you reviewed every entry that is in these calendars of May, June, July and August of 1982?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:42:23):
Rachel Mitchell (06:42:24):
Is there anything that could even remotely fit what we’re talking about in terms of Dr. Ford’s allegations?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:42:34):
Rachel Mitchell (06:42:38):
As a lawyer and a judge … we’ve talked about the FBI. Are you aware that this type of offense would actually be investigated by local police?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:42:50):
Yes. I mentioned Montgomery County Police earlier. Yes.
Rachel Mitchell (06:42:55):
Okay. Are you aware that in Maryland, there is no statute of limitations that would prohibit you being charged, even if this happened in 1982?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:43:05):
That’s my understanding.
Rachel Mitchell (06:43:07):
Have you at any time been contacted by any members of local police agencies regarding this matter?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:43:16):
Rachel Mitchell (06:43:21):
Prior to your nomination for Supreme Court, you’ve talked about all of the female clerks you’ve had and the women that you’ve worked with, I’m not just talking about them. I’m talking about globally. Have you ever been accused either formally or informally of unwanted sexual behavior?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:43:40):
Rachel Mitchell (06:43:41):
And when I say informally, I mean just a female complains. It doesn’t have to be to anybody else but you.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:43:47):
Rachel Mitchell (06:43:51):
Since Dr. Ford’s allegation was made public, how many times have you been interviewed by the committee?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:44:01):
It’s been three or four. I’m trying to remember now. It’s been several times. Each of these new things, absurd as they are, we’d get on the phone and kind of go through them.
Rachel Mitchell (06:44:17):
So have you submitted two interviews specifically about Dr. Ford’s allegation?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:44:24):
Rachel Mitchell (06:44:24):
And what about Deborah Ramirez’s allegation that you waved your penis in front of her?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:44:29):
Rachel Mitchell (06:44:30):
What about Julie Swetnick’s allegation that you repeatedly engaged in drugging and gang raping? Or allowing women to be gang raped.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:44:43):
Yes. Yes. I’ve been interviewed about it.
Rachel Mitchell (06:44:45):
Were your answers to my questions today, consistent with the answers that you gave to the committee in these various centers?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:44:51):
Rachel Mitchell (06:44:52):
Okay. [inaudible 06:44:53] of time.
Speaker 42 (06:44:54):
Senator Durbin (06:44:55):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Judge Kavanaugh, earlier today, Dr. Christine Ford sat in that same chair. And under oath, she said clearly and unequivocally that she was the victim of sexual assault at your hands. She answered our questions directly and she didn’t flinch at the prospect of submitting herself to an FBI investigation of these charges. We know, and I’m sure she’s been advised by her attorneys, that a person lying to the FBI can face criminal prosecution.
Senator Durbin (06:45:26):
You have clearly and unequivocally denied that you assaulted Dr. Ford. With that statement you must believe that there is no credible evidence or any credible witness that could prove otherwise. You started off with an impassioned statement at the beginning. And I can imagine, try to imagine what you have been through and your family’s been through, and I’m sure I wouldn’t get close to it, but it was-
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:45:48):
No, you wouldn’t.
Senator Durbin (06:45:49):
I’m sure I wouldn’t. It was an impassioned statement. And in the course of it, you said, “I welcome any kind of investigation.” I quote you. “I welcome any kind of investigation.” I’ve got a suggestion for you, right now, turn to your left in the front row to Don McGahn, counsel to President Donald Trump. Ask him to suspend this hearing and nomination process until the FBI completes its investigation of the charges made by Dr. Ford and others, and goes to bring the witnesses forward and provides that information to this hearing.
Senator Durbin (06:46:27):
I’m sure that the chairman at that point will understand that that is a reasonable request to finally put to rest these charges, if they are false, or to prove them, if they are not. You spent years in the White House office that approved judicial nominees. You’ve turned to the FBI over and over and over again for their work. Let’s bring them in here and now. Turn to Don McGahn and tell him it’s time to get this done. An FBI investigation is the only way to answer some of these questions.
Speaker 42 (06:46:58):
Stop the clock. This committee is running this hearing, not the White House, not Don McGahn, not even you as a nominee. We are here today because Dr. Ford asked for an opportunity here. I know you did too, as well. In fact, maybe even before she did. We’re here because people wanted to be heard from charges that they all thought were unfair or activities, like sexual assault was unfair. So I want to assure Senator Durbin, regardless of what you say to Senator Don McGahn, we’re not suspending this hearing. Proceed to answer the question. Or if the gentlemen …
Senator Durbin (06:47:51):
I’d just say this, if you Judge Kavanaugh turn to Don McGahn and to this committee and say, “For the sake of my reputation, my family name, and to get to the bottom of the truth of this, I …”
PART 12 OF 18 ENDS [06:48:04]
Senator Durbin (06:48:00):
Think of my reputation, my family name, and to get to the bottom of the truth of this. I am not going to stay [inaudible 06:48:05] being an obstacle to an FBI investigation. I would hope that all of the members of the committee would join me in saying, we’re going to abide by your wishes and we will have that investigation.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:48:14):
I welcome whatever the committee wants to do, because I’m telling the truth.
Senator Durbin (06:48:17):
I want to know what you want to do.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:48:18):
I’m telling the truth.
Senator Durbin (06:48:19):
I want to know what you want to do Judge.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:48:20):
I’m innocent. I’m innocent of this charge.
Senator Durbin (06:48:23):
Then you’re prepared for an FBI investigation.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:48:25):
They don’t reach conclusions. You reach the conclusions [inaudible 06:48:28].
Senator Durbin (06:48:28):
No, but they do investigate questions.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:48:30):
Senator Durbin (06:48:30):
And you can’t have it both ways Judge. You can’t say here at the beginning, [pass 06:48:33] your moment.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:48:33):
I wanted a hearing.
Senator Durbin (06:48:34):
I welcome any kind of investigation and then walk away from this.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:48:37):
This thing was sprung on me, this thing was sprung at the last minute after being held by staff and I called for a hearing immediately.
Senator Durbin (06:48:48):
Judge, if there is no truth to her charges, the FBI investigation will show that. Are you afraid that they might not?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:48:58):
The FBI does not reach- you know that’s a phony question because the FBI doesn’t reach conclusions, they just provide 302s. With 302s, so I can explain to people who don’t know what that is, they just go and do what you’re doing. Ask questions and then type up a report. They don’t reach the bottom line.
Senator Durbin (06:49:15):
This morning I asked Dr. Ford, I asked her about this incident where she ran into Mark Judge in Safeway. And she said, “Sure, I remember it, six to eight weeks after this occurrence.” Well, someone at the Washington Post went in and took a look at Mr. Judge’s book and has been able to- the run that he wrote about his addiction and his alcoholism, and they have narrowed it down what they think was a period of time, the six or eight weeks after the event. And he would have been working at the Safeway at that point.
Senator Durbin (06:49:43):
So the point I’m getting to is we at least can connect some dots here and get some information. Why would you resist that kind of instigation?
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:49:52):
Senator, I welcome… I wanted the hearing last week.
Senator Durbin (06:49:57):
I’m asking about the FBI investigation.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh (06:49:58):
The committee figures out how to ask the questions. I’ll do whatever. I’ve been on the phone multiple times with committee council. I’ll talk to-
Senator Durbin (06:50:04):