Headlines: September 28, 2018
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A stunning and emotionally charged Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday riveted the nation as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified in front of a national audience before the man who she accused of assaulting her when they were both teenagers, followed. Dr. Ford’s testimony was universally seen as sympathetic, credible, honest, and devastating to Republican efforts to paint their Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a believable and honest figure. Not a single Republican senator questioned Dr. Ford. She was instead interrogated by Rachel Mitchell, the deputy county attorney and division chief of the Special Victims Division in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, Arizona. GOP Senators did speak directly with Judge Kavanaugh when it became his turn to testify.
For his part Kavanaugh’s portion of the hearing, which was after Blasey Ford’s, had an entirely different tone. Kavanaugh’s opening remarks were twice as long as his accuser’s. He opened by literally yelling into the microphone defiantly, using Donald Trump’s manner and strategy of aggressively blaming Democrats for orchestrating a conspiracy against him.
Judge Kavanaugh’s opening remarks on Thursday – the part where he spoke in a loud, raised voice with startling defiance. He then switched to crying repeatedly during the rest of his remarks.
That was Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh breaking down emotionally during his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday. The New York Times in an editorial later in the day pointed out that Kavanaugh’s testimony was, “evidence of an unsettling temperament in a man trying to persuade the nation of his judicial demeanor.”
Although Republican Senators refused to question Dr. Blasey Ford they did not hold back in their unequivocal support of Kavanaugh when it was his turn to testify. Perhaps the most belligerent response came from Senator Lindsey Graham. Senator Lindsey Graham accused Democrats of violating ethical standards, destroying Kavanaugh’s life, and making a power play. He made no mention of the GOP’s double standard in stymying President Obama’s right to nominate a justice to the court, or of their ramming through Kavanaugh’s confirmation without releasing all documents.
Democratic Senators on the Judiciary Committee also had a chance to question Kavanaugh. Senator Mazie Hirono, perhaps startled by Kavanaugh’s lack of emotional maturity asked him a pointed question about the qualities most important in a Supreme Court justice.
Senator Kamala Harris also grilled Kavanaugh pressing a point that her colleagues repeatedly made about requesting an FBI investigation that could establish the facts of the accusation he faces.
Senators asked Kavanaugh multiple times about his drinking habits in high school and his answers mostly revolved around how much he liked drinking beer. Brett Kavanaugh expressed repeatedly during Thursday’s hearing just how much he liked to drink beer.
President Trump spun the entire hearing as a success for his party and tweeted on Thursday afternoon that, “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!”
The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote to nominate Kavanaugh 11 to 10 along partisan lines early on Friday morning and then start taking procedural votes as soon as Saturday with a formal vote in the Senate on Tuesday. During the mid-morning session four Democratic Senators briefly walked out in protest and GOP Senator Jeff Flake announced he would vote for Kavanaugh.
Outside the Senate committee hearing on Thursday hundreds of protesters gathered to show their support for Blasey Ford and demand Kavanaugh not be confirmed.