As it happened: Kavanaugh and his accuser Ford testify before Senate Judiciary Committee
The scandal has dominated the news cycle in recent weeks, with Democrats calling for an FBI investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh made by Ford and three other women, while Republicans have cast the accusations as dubiously timed and a last-ditch effort to prevent Kavanaugh from being confirmed.
The testimonies were heard ahead of a committee vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which has been scheduled by Republicans for Friday.
27 September 201822:48 GMT
Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2018
- 22:45 GMT
“Do you believe in God?” asks Senator Joe Kennedy (R-Louisiana), asking Kavanaugh to look him in the eye and tell the truth “before God and country.”
“I do,” Kavanaugh replies.
Kennedy asks him about allegations from Ford, Ramirez and Swetnick. “None of these are true?”
“That’s correct,” says Kavanaugh.
“No doubt in your mind, even a scintilla?” asks Kennedy.
“Do you swear to God?” Kennedy asks.
“I swear to God.”
And with that, the hearing is done.
- 22:44 GMT
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) asks if Kavanaugh has taken a polygraph test. Kavanaugh says no, but adds that they are not admissible in federal court, as Harris – a former prosecutor – is well aware.
Harris repeats the question brought up by other Democrats: is Kavanaugh willing to ask the White House for a FBI investigation. Demands a yes or no question.
Harris argues that proof against a Democrat conspiracy is that Democrats did not attack Neil Gorsuch, whose biography matches Kavanaugh’s. “The only difference is that you have been accused of sexual assault.” Asks if it is possible if men can be friends with some women and treat others poorly.
“Did you watch Dr. Ford’s testimony?” Harris asks.
“I did not,” Kavanaugh replies. “I was preparing mine.”
- 22:34 GMT
“I did not hide Dr. Ford’s allegations. I did not leak her story,” says Sen. Feinstein. She does not say how the letter came out, only that Ford was “stalked by the press.”
“I held it confidential until she decided that she would come forward,” Feinstein says.
“Can you tell us that your staff did not leak it?” asks Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
“I have not asked that question directly,” Feinstein says. After briefly consulting her staffer, she comes back with, “The answer is no.”
Cruz asks if there is a process for the committee to consider confidential allegations. Grassley says yes, explains the process.
“So bipartisan investigators could’ve investigated this two months ago?” Cruz asks, while keeping Ford’s name confidential or publicizing the charges against Kavanaugh.
“Yes,” says Grassley.
“It is my understanding that her story was leaked before the letter came public,” says Feinstein, saying “her friends” from the beach might have told the press. “I don’t think the letter was ever leaked.”
- 22:33 GMT
Both Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford have been “treated incredibly poorly by Senate Democrats and the media,” says Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). He accuses the Democrats of not treating Kavanaugh with the same respect the committee gave Dr. Ford.
“We should look for the facts, not anonymous innuendo and slander,” Cruz says.
- 22:31 GMT
Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) tries to get Kavanaugh to attack Ford personally. Kavanaugh repeats he bears her “no ill will.”
- 22:30 GMT
“I think you’ve been treated unfairly,” says Sen. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), arguing the Democrats refused to investigate the charges only they knew about.
“You’re the first major target of a new strategy that’s developed here,” says Tillis, saying that Democrat groups already have a website to oppose the next judicial nomination.
- 22:15 GMT
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) praised Dr. Ford’s “quiet, raw, emotional power,” then brought up the claims of Kavanaugh’s college roommate about him being a “sloppy drunk.” Kavanaugh denied the characterization.
Hirono submits to the record four letters from committee Democrats, requesting an FBI investigation.
- 22:03 GMT
Senator Mike Crapo (R-Utah) points out that Democrats refused to participate in investigating the allegations, of which the majority heard 45 days after Feinstein, adding that Democrats seem less interested in a FBI investigation than in further delaying the confirmation process.
Kavanaugh confirms Feinstein did not raise the allegations in their meeting on August 20, even though her staff had advised Ford to retain Katz two weeks earlier.
- 21:56 GMT
Blumenthal then switches gears, asking if Kavanaugh’s opening statement claimed that “the courageous woman” (Ford) was a pawn of “some left-wing conspiracy.”
“She preferred confidentiality. Her confidentiality was destroyed by the actions of this committee,” Kavanaugh responds.