Two more allegations last night, although they were anonymous and went to the Senate Judiciary Committee. They were released last night in an effort by Republicans, I suspect, to show that there are many loony accusations. Also two men came forward to take “credit” for the Kavanaugh assault on Dr. Ford, which actually does not HELP Kavanaugh.
I will not live blog the hearings. I might not even listen to them that much. I think, on the whole, they are a farce. I think most Republicans have made up their mind. I think it only focuses one Ford’s allegation, and not the other two. And even with Ford’s allegation, it doesn’t call necessary witnesses.
People not testifying at today’s hearing:
1. Deborah Ramirez
2. Julie Swetnick
3. Mark Judge
4. Mark Judge’s ex-girlfriend
5. Kavanaugh’s freshman year roommate
6. Four people Ford told about the alleged assault before Kavanaugh was nominated
7. Experts on sexual assault
This may be moot — here’s why:
54% of Republicans say Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court *even if Ford’s allegation of sexual assault is true* vs. 32% who say he should not be confirmed via new NPR/PBS/Marist poll this week.— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) September 27, 2018
Senator Grassley has already started his spiel and is already attacking Senator Feinstein and the process, subtly backing the President’s theme that this is all a con. And now he calls for civility. If Grassley was concerned about civility, maybe he should allow Ford to speak before blasting the process in which Ford came forward and engaging in an extensive defense of Kavanaugh’s sterling character.
This is starting off like you would expect
This is starting off about how you’d expect. pic.twitter.com/lppdGLieea— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) September 27, 2018
10:40pm. Seriously, I am not live-blogging this. But Ford is reading her opening statement and immediately, she comes off as credible if not traumatized.
Am I tearing up at #ProfessorFord‘s description of the sexual assault she endured?— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) September 27, 2018
There is no reason other than the truth that she would be up there in front of the world.#KavanaughHearings
Ron Lieber, a columnist for the NY Times is on a plane with others, watching the hearing:
JFK-SLC. 16A: Crying. 14B: Crying. 17C: Weeping.— (((Ron Lieber))) (@ronlieber) September 27, 2018
Here is her prepared opening statement:
when conservatives tell you who they are, believe them https://t.co/VWD1J2lS6b— we’re going to abolish ICE (@SeanMcElwee) September 27, 2018
The GOP is fighting a social media battle. This was released online AS Dr. Ford is reading her opening statement. I think it will backfire.
This is so weird. A female prosecutor is now questioning Ford, in the Senate Judiciary Committee, as the all-male Republican senators on the committee sit there and let her do their jobs.— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) September 27, 2018
Ford taps into her psychology background to explain why she’s so sure it was Kavanaugh that attacked her.
Feinstein asked, “How are you so sure that it was he?”
Ford: “The way that I’m sure I’m talking to you right now, it’s just basic memory functions, and also just the level of norepinephrine and epinephrine in the brain that sort of, as you know, that neurotransmitter encodes memories into the hippocampus so that trauma-related experience is locked there so other memories just drift.”
Rachel Mitchell, an outside prosecutor who is questioning Ford on behalf of the GOP committee member, is using a typical “good cop” cross examination tactic — gentle style, non-confrontational, but methodically attempting to build a battery of alleged errors, mistakes or gaps in testimony.
11:30 — They are on break. I have missed a lot so far, but it seems clear that the FORMAT is not helpful. Five minutes with the Dems and five minutes with Mitchell breaks Mitchell’s line of questioning. It is all scattershot.
I have witnessed well over 500 witnesses testify in court and in deposition over the course of my career. There is no question that Dr. Ford is credible. This nomination must be withdrawn immediately and an honest, moral individual should be nominated. America deserves better.— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 27, 2018
Curious how the right is taking it:
“Very sympathetic witness,” says Brit Hume on Fox News’s coverage.— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) September 27, 2018
Fox News’ Chris Wallace at the first break in Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony: Her testimony is “extremely emotional, extremely raw, and extremely credible,” while cross-examination format “is a disaster for the Republicans.” pic.twitter.com/fHy0rcwAV2— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) September 27, 2018
Grassley says to reporters during break: “I don’t think I can make any comments at all today, maybe it’s something I ought to sleep on. This is pretty important. We ought to be thinking about it a lot and not making hasty comments.” from @DaniellaMicaela— Sarah Mucha (@sarahmucha) September 27, 2018
“Sarah Huckabee Sanders came back to the press cabin during the flight to say that the president was watching Ford’s testimony on AF1 on a bit of a delay.” via pooler @nancook— Annie Karni (@anniekarni) September 27, 2018
Oh, here’s one of the deplorables:
We are witnessing the end game of the feminists— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) September 27, 2018
I’m no psychology professor but it does seem weird to me that someone could have a selective fear of flying.— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 27, 2018
Can’t do it to testify but for vacation, well it’s not a problem at all.
11:50 pm — They are back and I am listening to Mitchell’s cross. It’s an attempt at “death at a thousand cuts”. She is picking at inconsistencies in her statements and press reports. Her answers are usually, “I don’t have a perfect memory of these things”, which is a valid answer.
All of these questions, though, only manage to highlight THE NEED FOR AN FBI INVESTIGATION.
And now Grassley is defending his decision not to have had an FBI investigation.
Grassley seems to be taking this somewhat personally— Alexandra Petri (@petridishes) September 27, 2018
Dr. Ford on what she says she’s been unable to forget: “The stairwell. The living room. The bedroom. The bed on the right side of the room… The laughter. The uproarious laughter. And the multiple attempts to escape. And the final ability to do so.” #KavanaughHearing #11MSNBC— 11th Hour (@11thHour) September 27, 2018
Whoa…. NY Times is moved
We’re sorry for this tweet. In retrospect, a Twitter poll is insensitive in light of the gravity of this hearing. We’ve deleted it. pic.twitter.com/4CqRhkuCat— NYT Opinion (@nytopinion) September 27, 2018
WHOA — THIS IS BIG!
Trump telling people he’s furious that WH aides didn’t have advance knowledge of how credible Ford would seem, per 2nd source— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) September 27, 2018
Every prominent Republican I've spoken to in the past two hours believes the decision to have Mitchell do the questioning is an unmitigated disaster.— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) September 27, 2018
Oh my God….
Hatch just called Ford an “attractive witness.” Asked to elaborate what he meant, he said “she’s pleasing.”— Kate Irby (@kateirby) September 27, 2018
Lunch break. How Fox is reporting it:
When Air Force One landed at Joint Base Andrews late Thursday morning, all of the televisions were tuned to Fox News’ coverage of Christine Blasey Ford’s Senate testimony, according to a pool report. The analysis from President Donald Trump’s favorite network’s news hosts may not have been what he was hoping to hear.
“Compelling testimony, obviously emotional,” anchor Bret Baier said, as the hearing entered its first break.
Fellow news anchor Martha MacCallum, noting the disjointed nature of the questioning by a prosecutor brought in by Republicans for the hearing, said, “You have to believe that the Republican senators right now are asking themselves whether this was a good idea, whether or not they have robbed themselves of the opportunity to ask pointed questions in a way that perhaps might be more compelling.”
But it was veteran news host Chris Wallace who dropped the hammer the hardest.
“This was extremely emotional, extremely raw, and extremely credible,” he said. “Nobody could listen to her deliver those words and a talk about the assault and the impact it had on her life and not have your heart go out to her.”
“This is a disaster for Republicans,” Wallace said, referring to the format and sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell’s questioning. He later added, “The Democrats are landing haymakers.”
A viral moment, though, came Thursday, when Wallace discussed conversations he’d had with his daughters about sexual assault. “Two of my daughters have told me stories that I had never heard before about things that happened to them in high school and hadn’t told their parents,” he said.
“There are teenage girls who don’t tell stories to a lot of people,” he said. “I don’t think we can disregard that. I don’t think we can disregard Christine Blasey Ford and the seriousness of this.”
Lindsey Graham just falsely told a bunch of reporters that Democrats are never subjected to accusations of sexual misconduct, and warned them that if Kavanaugh fails, Republicans will gin up false accusations against future Democratic nominees to even the score. Wow.— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) September 27, 2018
Good story here:
Silence on Wall Street. Tears in a retirement home. Yelling at the TV in a Milwaukee bar. The country watches, transfixed, as Ford testifies. https://t.co/70zFSPW1gE— David Fahrenthold (@Fahrenthold) September 27, 2018
Ben Shapiro is not optimistic:
Republicans did a terrible job of establishing what was at stake here: the presence or absence of an evidentiary trail sufficient to stop Kavanaugh. Instead, they allowed the question to become Ford's "credibility" — meaning her believability. She's believable. So they lose.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) September 27, 2018
But Senator Graham, who has pre-judged this, is having a meltdown:
Graham's full meltdown: pic.twitter.com/i3bW3L5aSJ— digby (@digby56) September 27, 2018
Hearing devolves into discussion about procedure — Lawyers for Ford pipe up with….
Can we all be excused?— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) September 27, 2018
Add we’re adjourned for now. Ford is done with testimony.
ANOTHER UPDATE — Lindsay Graham is having a fit…. video coming, I think….
Sen. Lindsey Graham just now to reporters: "I don't doubt that something happened to her, but she can't say the house, the city, the month of the year. When you have an emotional accusation and an emotional denial, use the rule of law." pic.twitter.com/9pax4MBK3I— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) September 27, 2018
"I feel ambushed" — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R), visibly outraged, tells reporters as he ticks through a series of process grievances with Senate Democrats.— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) September 27, 2018
These comments from just a moment ago from Sen Graham is a good illustration of the position Republicans have put themselves in. pic.twitter.com/SLr7XjJVPb— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) September 27, 2018
John Roberts at the White House: Because Ford came across as "very credible," "Judge Kavanaugh has to probably have the interview of his life if he wants to get confirmed." pic.twitter.com/X0lZBqyouS— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) September 27, 2018
This is an incredible photo.— Vera Bergengruen (@VeraMBergen) September 27, 2018
(Photo: Tom Williams/Pool via Reuters) pic.twitter.com/gqGyTwWrRU
3:10 pm — And we’re back. Kavanaugh is reading his written testimony. He’s playing outrage. Speaking loudly and forcefully.
Yeah, yelling your statement with petulance and vitriol will incline us to believe you.— Jane Larkworthy (@JaneLarkworthy) September 27, 2018
But he seems to be attacking Democrats. Saying that rhetoric of the Democrats lead to this. In his statement, an angry Brett Kavanaugh blamed the Democrats, including the Clintons for his troubles
If Kavanaugh wants to convince people he’s not a sexual predator he might want to tone down the I AM VERY ANGRY THAT PEOPLE FOUND OUT THAT I AM A SEXUAL PREDATOR schtick.— The Volatile Mermaid (@OhNoSheTwitnt) September 27, 2018
Folks, we are all getting a taste of the aggression that emerged when Kavanaugh got drunk, and it ain't pretty. His demeanor is not rebutting the allegations–if anything, it is validating them. pic.twitter.com/rgkVc0qTDq— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) September 27, 2018
He is calling a an orchestrated character assassination.
KAVANAUGH: "I will not be intimidated into withdrawing for this process… Your coordinated and well-funded effort to destroy my good name and destroy my family will not drive me out."— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) September 27, 2018
"You may defeat me in the final vote, but you'll never get me to quit."
He’s breaking down. Crying a little. Gathers himself. I’m not sure how that will play.
Here’s my take. You’re seeing a man with deep regrets and sadness about trying to rape a woman in a drunken stupor when he was 17. He was never honest with his wife or family about it so he can’t be honest with himself and us about it. That’s where the emotion is coming from.— andy lassner (@andylassner) September 27, 2018
"I select women to be around me more often than any other judge does" is not the compelling claim he thinks it is when it's coming from someone close to Kozinski.— Susan Simpson (@TheViewFromLL2) September 27, 2018
Kavanaugh's opening statement was approx. 45 minutes.— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 27, 2018
So Kavanaugh has already confirmed that:— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) September 27, 2018
1) he was hiding his angry, aggressive side.
2) he's vengeful AF
3) he is a hyperpartisan activist judge whose loyalty will remain with his party, not the country.
4) He can't be on the SCOTUS. Not now, not ever.
He is asked about why he doesn’t want FBI to clear his name. He just rants (almost cries) about how unfair everything has been. Says he will do whatever the committee wants. But he won’t answer the question.
Brett Kavanaugh is shouting at this point and crying as Senator Feinstein is calmly questioning him.— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) September 27, 2018
Kavanaugh, angrily: “The Swetnick thing is a joke. It’s a farce.”— Kimberly Atkins (@KimberlyEAtkins) September 27, 2018
Feinstein: “Would you like to say more about it?”
The GOP is again passing off their questions to Mitchell. A bit of a surprise since prosecuting sex assaulter crimes is her milieu. And indeed, she seems to be asking more probing questions of Kavanaugh than Ford.
Trump likes this, reportedly:
President Trump is "riveted" and telling people, "This is why I nominated him," in a positive way, per person close to him. Talking to lots of people inside WH about how he likes how Kavanaugh is fighting back. Admires the defiance.— Robert Costa (@costareports) September 27, 2018
Asked if Mark Judge should be called as a witness to testify before the committee, Judge Kavanaugh does not provide a yes or no answer, but notes that Judge has provided a statement to the committee.— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 27, 2018
Best point made so far in Kavanaugh questioning just made by @SenatorDurbin. Kavanaugh in his opening said he will welcome any investigation — Dick Durbin just instructed Kavanaugh to turn to Don McGahn and ask for an FBI investigation. Kavanaugh balks.
BREAKING: Sen. Graham breaks from letting the woman prosecutor do questioning for Republican senators, and delivers an angered and impassioned defense of Judge Kavanaugh.— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 27, 2018
Righteous indignation from Lindsay Graham.
An angry @LindseyGrahamSC: "This is the most unethical sham since I've been in politics… You're looking for a fair process?! You came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend."— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 27, 2018
MUST WATCH: Graham slams Democrats, says they want to "destroy this guy's life" and hope they win in 2020, calls the process a "sham" and tells Kavanaugh, "you're looking for a fair process? You came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend" – ABC pic.twitter.com/u0oXxK6wKg— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) September 27, 2018
Cornyn now trying to rehabilitate Kavanaugh. I guess they’ve abandoned their female prosecutor.
Bizarre turn there: Sen. Amy Klobuchar asks if Kavanaugh ever "drank so much that you couldn't remember what happened, or part of what happened the night before?"— Dan Merica (@merica) September 27, 2018
Kavanaugh turns it on her. "Have you," he said.
Klobuchar looked astonished.
“Have you ever been black out drunk?— Justine Bateman (@JustineBateman) September 27, 2018
“Have you ever not recalled things die to drinking?”
“Can you answer the question?”
“WELL HAVE YOU EVER BEEN BLACKOUT DRUNK?!”