Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford testify on sex assault allegations
Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who has spoken about her own sexual assault as a young staffer on Capitol Hill and has been one of the main drivers of the (still stalled) sexual harassment legislation in Congress, sat in on the first session of the hearing this morning.
Speier says she specifically went to watch the Republican faces in the room, and spoke of her reflections of Sen. Jeff Flake face, still an undecided Republican on the committee.
“I watched their faces very closely. And Sen. Flake in particular has looked very pained. He was pained during her testimony of what happened. It is clear that some of these members are very uncomfortable with the way this is being handled.”
She said that the message Republicans are sending to women today is – if you come forward, "we will crucify you."
“What deeply troubles me about this process is to hear her wavering voice and the fact that she was terrified underscores why women do not come forward. And what the Republicans are doing in the Senate – all of these men -- are saying to women in this country, don’t come forward because if you do come forward we will interrogate you, we will treat you like a criminal and we will crucify you.”
She says Rachel Mitchell is a fine prosecutor and she is cross-examining Ford “gently but is cross-examining her as if her story is not going to hold up.”
Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, is in the room watching today. She is a guest of Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Burke said it has been “hard to watch,” but she is “encouraged” by Christine Blasey Ford.
She is wearing a handmade sticker, which says, “Believe women.”
At 10:00 a.m. ET, Manuel's Tavern in Atlanta opened early; coffee and their lunch menu was served.
Normally, sports are on their TVs. Today, it's the Kavanaugh-Ford hearings.
"Though it can sometimes make difficult dinner conversation, big political decisions are responsible for worldwide change, and directly or indirectly," they wrote in a post on Facebook. "For better or worse, we are all affected."
New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been watching from the audience, tells CNN during break that she doesn’t see, how after today, Republicans can confirm Kavanaugh.
“I don’t know how they could hear her testimony and watch her testify so authentically and so honestly from the heart and not believe her — and still vote for Brett Kavanaugh. I just don’t know how they could do it.”
On Republicans' decision to use an outside counsel to question Ford, Gillibrand said: “I think the fact they chose a prosecutor to ask these questions shows an extraordinary lack of judgment.”
One of the country's most popular Republican governors on Thursday called for an independent investigation into the allegations made against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and said the Senate should hold off on a vote.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker made the comments as Professor Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh sexually and physically assaulted here.
"The accusations brought against Judge Kavanaugh are sickening and deserve an independent investigation," Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker tweeted. "There should be no vote in the Senate."
Per the travel pool with the President:
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.
All of the TV’s on the flight your pooler could see were tuned to Fox News’s live coverage of the hearing.
POTUS has not spoken to Kavanaugh or Rosenstein today, Sanders said. WH will keep us updated on status of Rosenstein meeting.
The hearing is on a brief break. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley walked by stakeout cameras during the break and said this:
“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.”
Sen. Dick Durbin just asked Ford to tell her to what degree of certainty she believed it was Brett Kavanaugh who assaulted her.
Ford responded confidently: "100%."