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Senators remain fiercely divided after Kavanaugh accuser’s testimony

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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., listen as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. A professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (Photo By Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)
Tom
Williams-Pool/Getty Images


  • Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Supreme Court
    nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, testified in front
    of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
  • Republicans opted to have a seasoned prosecutor
    question Ford instead of doing it themselves.
  • Most Republicans emerged from the hearing unmoved, with
    Democrats maintaining that Ford’s testimony was
    credible.
  • Follow our live coverage.

WASHINGTON — Republicans and Democrats came out of the testimony
from professor Christine Blasey Ford on Thursday the same way
they went into it — fiercely divided on whether or not the woman
accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault
was telling the truth.

The question of Ford’s credibility was on the line, particularly
with the few senators undecided on voting to confirm Kavanaugh
and those in a political bind going into the 2018 midterm
elections. But for the overwhelming majority of senators, nothing
Ford said really changed their minds.

“Do I find her credible? Well I don’t know that we know anything
new,” Republican Sen. John Thune told reporters. “I mean I
haven’t watch it all but it seems like the fact pattern is pretty
much the same. There’s still nobody that can corroborate her
story. So I’m not sure at this point there’s anything that we’ve
learned that we didn’t already know.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who like all the Republicans on the
Judiciary Committee deferred their questioning time to the
outside counsel hired for the hearing, told reporters he “wanted
to hear it out,” but did not like the constant distractions of
other accusations.

“What I regret is all this garbage coming in from left field
— accusations that are just so over the top — has kind
of taken away from this whole process,” he said.

Graham also reiterating a common theory among Republicans,
that Ford misidentified Kavanaugh as the man who assaulted her
when they were both in high school.

“I think something happened to her somewhere in her life,
but I’m stuck with the fact that somewhere in Maryland maybe in
the summer of 1982 and I think it’d be pretty clear here in a few
minutes that the people named don’t corroborate it,” he
said.

Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, said Ford
appeared to be credible, but that he thought the same of
Kavanaugh, whose story is that he never committed any sexual
assault.

“Looks to me that she’s credible,” Shelby said. “I thought
Kavanaugh was credible too. So we don’t know, let’s let the
process work. That’s all I know.”

But Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn emerged from the
hearing with a different opinion than before it started.

“I found no reason to find her not credible,” he told
reporters after Ford’s testimony concluded. “There are obviously
gaps in her story. Obviously we know people who are traumatized
can have those sort of gaps. But again I regret that she finds
herself in this circus-like setting.”

Cornyn noted that he still needs to hear from Kavanaugh as
well.

“I think we need to hear from the judge,” he said. “I think
his reputation is on the line. His career as well. This needs to
be a fair process to both Dr. Ford and to Judge
Kavanaugh.”

Democrats are still demanding the FBI take the lead

Democrats have called on President Donald Trump to withdraw
Kavanaugh’s nomination, while also hammering in that the FBI
needs to investigate the matter. So far that has not happened,
but they continued to demand an investigation in lieu of the
committee probing the allegations on their own.

“I think she’s a very credible witness,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein,
the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Democrat, told Business
Insider. “I think she’s entirely believable.”

“I think when you think back to understand what she’s gone
through and she was 15 when this happened, the big thing is we
need an FBI investigation and that gets to the nuts and bolts of
this. And it’s believable,” she added. “There’s a real problem I
think without an investigation by the FBI because people can say
— make a lot of accusations — and none of them will be true
and yet you can’t prove or disprove it.”

For the few remaining swing voters on Kavanaugh’s
nomination, they are still delaying any judgment. Sen. Joe
Donnelly told reporters Ford’s testimony was “extraordinarily
credible and compelling,” but did not offer much more.

Montana Sen. Jon Tester, one of the handful of Democrats up
for re-election this year in conservative states, said he found
Ford to be credible, but needed to wait out the entire process
and hear from Kavanaugh as well.

“I think that proper questions have been asked and it would
be interesting to see what Kavanaugh has to say this afternoon,”
he said. “This is one side of the argument, I want to hear the
other side of the argument before we make any [decision].”

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