Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford testify on sex assault allegations

By Meg Wagner, Brian Ries, Sophie Tatum and Paul P. Murphy, CNN
8:22 p.m. ET, September 27, 2018
1:24 p.m. ET, September 27, 2018

Republican senator reacts to Ford's testimony: "She’s attractive and she’s a nice person"

From CNN's Liz Landers

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch said "it’s too early to say" if Ford is credible.

"I don’t think she’s uncredible. I think she an attractive, good witness," he said.

I asked what he meant by “attractive.” He said, “In other words, she’s pleasing.”

Hatch said he thinks the committee will be prepared to vote tomorrow.

When asked if he’s learned anything new, Hatch said, “No I haven’t. At least I can’t think of anything.” He says he doesn’t have a strong impression so far.

“l’ll say this, she’s attractive and she’s a nice person,” he said as he headed to the elevator bank.

12:59 p.m. ET, September 27, 2018

Republican senator thanks Ford for appearing at hearing

From CNN's MJ Lee

One Republican senator who went up to say something to Christine Blasey Ford as break started was Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse. 

“Thank you for being here,” he said to her, shaking her hand.

 

12:52 p.m. ET, September 27, 2018

The committee is taking a lunch break

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley just announced that there will be a 30-minute lunch break.

After that, questioning will continue. We'll hear more from Christine Blasey Ford before Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in and testifies.

12:43 p.m. ET, September 27, 2018

White House moves Trump-Rosenstein meeting to next week so as not to interfere with hearing

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders just announced the previously announced meeting between President Trump and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wouldn't happen today, and instead would be moved to next week.

"The President spoke with Rod Rosenstein a few minutes ago and they plan to meet next week. They do not want to do anything to interfere with the hearing," she said.

12:34 p.m. ET, September 27, 2018

More Democratic senators meet with protesters outside hearing

As protesters continue to mingle outside the hearing room, Democrat politicians continue to engage with them.

As Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois -- and her infant daughter -- entered the atrium, the crowd erupted in cheers.

"This is the only way we defeat this -- is for you and the voices of people to show up," Sen. Duckworth told the crowd gathered around her.

"It's so critical what you are doing."

Sen. Tammy Duckworth and her infant daughter, Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, meet with protesters.

Shortly before, Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon also met with protesters.

12:25 p.m. ET, September 27, 2018

The stairs. The bed. The laughter. Ford lists the things she will never forget.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, asked Christine Ford about the things she remembers about the night of the alleged attack.

Here's how she answered:

"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."

Watch the moment:

12:23 p.m. ET, September 27, 2018

Prosecutor asks Ford about her fear of flying

Attorney Rachel Mitchell, the prosecutor Republicans hired to conduct their line of questioning, took time to ask Christine Blasey Ford about her time traveling on airplanes following reports from friends of Ford describing her having issues being in enclosed spaces.

"May I ask, how did you get to Washington?" Mitchell inquired.

Ford replied: "In an airplane."

Mitchell went on to ask about several other trips Ford took, despite her fear of flying.

"I ask that because it has 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?" Mitchell said.

Ford said she "was hoping they would come to me," but added, "I realized that was an unrealistic request."

"It would have been a quicker trip for me," Mitchell joked.

Prior to Thursday's hearing, CNN reported that two longtime friends of Ford said she had previously described feeling uncomfortable in enclosed spaces.

12:18 p.m. ET, September 27, 2018

Photos show protesters crying as Ford testifies about her sexual assault

Joy Gerhard, of Seattle, cries in the Hart Senate Office Building atrium as she listens on her phone to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testify about the alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Protestors rallying against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh watch testimony from Christine Blasey Ford on a smartphone inside the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill.

12:16 p.m. ET, September 27, 2018

Jeff Flake looked "pained" during Ford's testimony, congresswoman observes

From CNN's Sunlen Serfaty

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.”