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Senate Judiciary Committee hears testimony on Kavanaugh sexual assault allegations
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Senate Judiciary Committee hears testimony on Kavanaugh sexual assault allegations

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony [CNN Live Updates] from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and US Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh regarding the sexual assault allegations [Washington Post WEB] made by Blasey Ford earlier this month.

In her opening statement [transcript], Blasey Ford said:

My motivation in coming forward was to provide the facts about how Mr. Kavanaugh’s actions have damaged my life, so that you can take that into 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 the truth.”

She set the tone for her portion of the hearing by stating:

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. I have described the events publicly before. I summarized them in my letter to Ranking Member Feinstein, and again in my letter to Chairman Grassley. I understand and appreciate the importance of your hearing from me directly about what happened to me and the impact it has had on my life and on my family.”

Following her opening statement, she answered questions from the Democratic senators and from female sex-crimes prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, who was hired by the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The members asked her questions about the details of the assault allegations and the gaps in her memory. When asked how sure she was that Kavanaugh was the one who assaulted her, she responded that she was “100% sure.” A running theme in her testimony was why she decided to testify in front of the world. Blasey Ford summarized the answer to this question in her opening statement: “All sexual assault victims should be able to decide for themselves whether their private experience is made public.”

After four hours of questioning, Kavanaugh was sworn in for testimony. In Kavanaugh’s opening statement [transcript], he set the tone for the remaining five hours of the hearing.

The allegation of misconduct is completely inconsistent with the rest of my life. The record of my life, from my days in grade school through the present day, shows that I have always promoted the equality and dignity of women. 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 am not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person in some place at some time. But I have never done that to her or to anyone. I am innocent of this charge.

Following his opening statement, Kavanaugh was questioned about Blasey Ford’s statements, his recollection of that night, and his drinking habits. The questioning of Kavanaugh for the Republicans was not done solely through Mitchell, as it was for Blasey Ford, and some of the Republicans chose to question Kavanaugh himself.

The hearing lasted nine hours. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to reconvene on Friday at 9:00 AM EST to vote whether to recommend Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.