We feature excerpts from the questioning at Thursday’s historic hearing, when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified she was “100 percent positive” that Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her in the summer of 1982 during Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, as both Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh faced hours of questioning. Not one of the eleven Republican senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who are all white men, questioned Dr. Blasey Ford directly. Instead, they ceded their time to Arizona sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, who Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called a “female assistant.” Mitchell was also scheduled to question Kavanaugh on behalf of Republican senators, but they quickly stopped her line of questioning after she asked Kavanaugh about details of the parties he attended in the summer of 1982. Kavanaugh repeatedly refused to call for an FBI investigation into Dr. Blasey Ford’s claims during the hearing. Senator Richard Blumenthal said that President Trump’s failure to call for an FBI investigation is “tantamount to a cover-up.”
AMY GOODMAN: We end the hour, today, with the questioning of both people who testified yesterday at the Senate judiciary committee, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified in the morning into the early afternoon, and then Judge Brett Kavanaugh responded, though he said he did not hear her testimony in the morning. This is Senate Judiciary Committee member, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois questioning Judge Kavanaugh.
SEN. DICK DURBIN: Judge Kavanaugh, earlier today, Dr. Christine Ford sat in that same chair, and under oath, she said clearly and unequivocally that she was a victim of sexual assault at your hands. She answered our questions directly, and she didn’t flinch at the prospect of submitting herself to an FBIinvestigation of these charges. We know, and I’m sure she’s been advised by her attorneys, that a person lying to the FBI can face criminal prosecution.
You have clearly and unequivocally denied that you assaulted Dr. Ford. With that statement, you must believe that there is no credible evidence or any credible witness that could prove otherwise. You started off with an impassioned statement at the beginning, and I can imagine, try to imagine what you have been through, and your family’s been through, and I’m sure I wouldn’t get close to it. But it was an impassioned…
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: No, you wouldn’t.
SEN. DICK DURBIN: I’m sure I wouldn’t. It’s an impassioned statement. And in the course of it, you said, “I welcome any kind of investigation.” I quote you. I welcome any kind of investigation. I’ve got a suggestion for you: right now, turn to your left in the front row to Don McGahn, counsel to President Donald Trump. Ask him to suspend this hearing and nomination process until the FBIcompletes its investigation of the charges made by Dr. Ford and others, and goes to bring the witnesses forward, and provides that information to this hearing. I am sure that the chairman at that point will understand that that is a reasonable request to finally put to rest these charges, if they are false, or to prove them if they are not.
You spent two years in the White House office that approved judicial nominees. You turned to the FBI over, and over, and over again for their work. Let’s bring them in here and now. Turn to Don McGahn, and tell him it’s time to get this done. An FBI investigation is the only way to answer some of these questions.
SEN CHARLES GRASSLEY: Stop the — stop the clock. This committee is — is running this hearing, not the White House, not Don McGahn, not even you as a nominee. We’re — we are here today because Dr. Ford asked for an opportunity to hear. I know you did too, as well, in fact, maybe even before she did.
We’re here because people wanted to be heard from charges that they all thought were unfair, or activities like sexual assault was unfair. So I want to assure Senator Durbin, regardless of what you say to Senator Don McGahn, we’re not suspending this hearing.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley responding to Senator Dick Durbin. Not one of the 11 Republican Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who are all white men — there’s never been a Republican woman in the history of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Not one of these 11 questioned Dr. Blasey Ford directly. Instead, ceding all their time to Arizona sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, who Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called a female assistant. Mitchell was also scheduled to question Judge Kavanaugh on behalf of the Republican Senators, but they quickly stopped her line of questioning after she asked judge Kavanaugh about details of parties and gatherings he attended in the summer of 1982.
Stay in the loop
Never miss the news and analysis you care about.
RACHEL MITCHELL: Judge, do you still have your calendar — calendars there?
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: I do.
RACHEL MITCHELL: I would like you to look at the July 1st entry.
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: Yes.
RACHEL MITCHELL: The entry says — and I quote — “Go to Timmy’s for skis with Judge, Tom, P.J., Bernie and Squee”?
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: Squee. That’s a nick—
RACHEL MITCHELL: What does—
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: — that’s a nickname.
RACHEL MITCHELL: OK. To what does this refer, and to whom?
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: So first, says “Tobin’s house workout”. So that’s one of the football workouts that we would have — that Dr. (inaudible) would run for guys on the football team during the summer. So we would be there — that’s usually 6:00 to 8:00 or so, kind of — until near dark. And then it looks like we went over to Timmy’s — you want to know their last names too? I’m happy to do it.
RACHEL MITCHELL: If you could just identify, is — is “Judge,” Mark Judge?
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: It is.
RACHEL MITCHELL: And is “P.J.,” P.J. Smith?
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: It is.
AMY GOODMAN: During his answer, Brett Kavanaugh confirmed he attended this gathering on July 1, 1982, with Mark judge and P.J., that’s Patrick Smyth, two of the same people identified by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. But, Rachel Mitchell, the sex crimes prosecutor, brought in by the Republicans, never got a chance to ask a follow-up round of questions. Soon after, Senator Lindsey Graham jumped in, becoming the first Republican to directly question Brett Kavanaugh and then the others followed suit. Graham began by going after his Democratic counterparts.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: If you wanted a FBI investigation, you could have come to us. What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open and hope you win in 2020. You’ve said that, not me. You’ve got nothing to apologize for.
When you see Sotomayor and Kagan, tell them that Lindsey said hello because I voted for them. I would never do to them what you’ve done to this guy. This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy.
Are you a gang rapist?
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: No.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: I cannot imagine what you and your family have gone through.
Boy, you all want power. God, I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham. That you knew about it and you held it. You had no intention of protecting Dr. Ford; none. She’s as much of a victim as you are.
AMY GOODMAN: Brett Kavanaugh’s drinking habits came up repeatedly during Thursday’s hearing, including by the judge himself.
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: My friends and I sometimes got together and had parties on weekends. The drinking age was 18 in Maryland for most of my time in high school, and was 18 in D.C. for all of my time in high school. I drink beer with my friends. Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers. Sometimes others did. I liked beer. I still like beer. But, I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out, and I never sexually assaulted anyone.
AMY GOODMAN: Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar later questioned Kavanaugh about his drinking.
SEN AMY KLOBUCHAR: OK. Drinking is one thing, but the concern is about truthfulness, and in your written testimony, you said sometimes you had too many drinks. Was there ever a time when you drank so much that you couldn’t remember what happened, or part of what happened the night before?
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: No, I — no. I remember what happened, and I think you’ve probably had beers, Senator, and — and so I —
SEN AMY KLOBUCHAR: So you’re saying there’s never been a case where you drank so much that you didn’t remember what happened the night before, or part of what happened.
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: It’s — you’re asking about, you know, blackout. I don’t know. Have you?
SEN AMY KLOBUCHAR: Could you answer the question, Judge? I just — so you — that’s not happened. Is that your answer?
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: Yeah, and I’m curious if you have.
SEN AMY KLOBUCHAR: I have no drinking problem, Judge.
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: Yeah, nor do I.
AMY GOODMAN: They went to break, and after returning from recess, Judge Kavanaugh apologized to Senator Klobuchar. I want to turn now to Democratic Senator Kamala Harris questioning Brett Kavanaugh.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: Thank you. Judge Kavanaugh, have you taken a professionally administered polygraph test, as it relates to this issue?
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: No, the — I’ll do whatever the committee wants. Of course, those are not admissible in Federal court, but I’ll do whatever the committee wants, they’re not admissible in Federal court because they’re not reliable —
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: Thank you — thank you.
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: As you know.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: So you’ve not taken one?
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: Right.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: All three of the women who have made sworn allegations against you have called for an independent FBI investigation in to the claims. You’ve been asked during the course of this hearing — by four different members by my count, at least eight times today, and also earlier this week on national television whether you would call for the White House to authorize an FBI investigation. Each time you have declined to do so. Now you know, I know you do — that the FBI is an agency of men and women who are sworn and trained law enforcement who in the course of conducting background investigations on nominees for the Supreme Court of the United States and others, are charged with conducting those background investigations because they are sworn law enforcement and they have the expertise and the ability and the history of doing that. So, I’m going to ask you one last time, are you willing to ask the White House to authorize the FBI to investigate the claims that have been made against you?
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: I’ll do whatever the committee wants, of course —
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: And I’ve heard you say that —
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: The witness statements —
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: But I’ve not heard you answer a very specific question that’s been asked, which is, are you willing to ask the White House to conduct an investigation by the FBI to get to whatever you believe is the bottom of the allegations that have been levied against you?
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: The FBI would gather witness statements, you have witness statements —
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: Sir, it’s — I don’t want to debate with you how they do their business, I’m just asking are you willing to ask the White House to conduct such an investigation? Because as you are aware, the FBI did conduct a background investigation in to you, before we were aware of these most recent allegations. So are you willing to ask the White House to do it — and say yes or no and then we can move on.
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: I’ve had six background investigations over 26 years —
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: Sir, as it relates to the recent allegations are you willing to have them do it?
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: The witness testimonies before you know a witness who was there, supports that I was there —
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: OK, I’m going to take that as a no and we can move on. You have said in your opening statement, you characterized these allegations as a conspiracy directed against you. I’ll point out to you that Judge — Justice now, Neil Gorsuch was nominated by this president. He was considered by this body, just last year. I did a rough kind of analysis of similarities — you both attended Georgetown Prep, you both attended very prestigious law schools, you both clerked for Justice Kennedy, you were both circuit judges, you were both nominated to the Supreme Court, you were both questioned about your record — the only difference is that you have been accused of sexual assault. How do you reconcile your statement about a conspiracy against you with the treatment of someone who was before this body not very long ago?
HON. BRETT KAVANAUGH: I explained that in my opening statement, Senator. Look at the evidence here, the calendars, look at the witness statements, look at Ms. Keyser’s statement.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Kamala Harris questioning Judge Kavanaugh. Before his opening statement and the questions, the Democratic Senators talked to and questioned Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. This is Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: I have found your testimony powerful, incredible, and I believe you. You’re a teacher, correct?
DR. CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD: Correct.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: You have given America an amazing teaching moment. And you may have other moments in the classroom, but you have inspired and you have enlightened America. You have inspired and given courage to women to come forward, as they have done to every one of our offices in many other public places. You have inspired and you have enlightened men in America to listen respectfully to women survivors — and men who have survived sexual attack, and that is a profound public service regardless of what happens with this nomination. And so the teachers of America, people of America, should be really proud of what you have done. Let me tell you why I believe you. Not only because of their prior consistent statements and the polygraph test and your request for an of a investigation and your urging that this committee hear from other witnesses who could corroborate or dispute your story, but also you have been very honest about what you cannot remember. And someone composing a story can make it all come together in a seamless way, but someone who is honest — I speak from my experience as a prosecutor as well — is also candid about what she or he cannot remember. The Senators on the other side of the aisle have been silent. This procedure is unprecedented in a confirmation hearing.
AMY GOODMAN: We end today with Democratic Senator Dick Durbin questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
SEN. DICK DURBIN: Last night, the Republican staff of this committee released to the media a timeline that shows that they’ve interviewed two people who claimed they were the ones who actually assaulted you. I’m asking you to address this new defense of mistaken identity directly. Dr. Ford, with what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?
DR. CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD: One hundred percent.
SEN. DICK DURBIN: One hundred percent.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Dr. Christine Blasey Ford being questioned by Senator Durbin. And that ends are highlights of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, historic moment. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote today on the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh. That does it for our show.