Senator Richard Blumenthal had kind words for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing where she appeared to answer questions about allegations of sexual misconduct that she has brought against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
When Blumenthal’s turn came to question Ford, he told her that he believed her story and praised her for the courage she showed by appearing before the panel.
“I have found your testimony powerful and credible and I believe you,” he said when it was his turn to question Ford.
Ford has accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her when she was 15, and described to the committee how at a small gathering of teenagers in suburban D.C., a drunken Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her — grinding against her and trying to remove her clothes. She escaped his grasp when another boy, Mark Judge, jumped on the bed and fled, locking herself in a bathroom across the hallway until she heard them laughing as they walked down the stairs to the first floor. Ford did not recall many specific details of the evening but was certain of what she claims Kavanaugh did. He vehemently denies it all.
Blumenthal said the gaps in her memory actually give her more credibility.
“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,” he said.
As Blumenthal prepared to praise Ford for her courage, he took aim at Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican member of the committee who has questioned the veracity of Ford’s accusations. From Graham’s 2015 autobiography, Blumenthal highlighted what Graham had to say as a prosecutor of rape cases.
“I learned how much unexpected courage from a deep and hidden place it takes for a rape victim or sexually abused child to testify against their assailant,” Blumenthal quoted as Graham — seated nearby nodded in agreement. “If we agree on nothing else today I hope on a bipartisan basis we can agree on how much courage it has taken for you to come forward. And, I think you have earned America’s gratitude.”
Given only a five-minute window for questioning, Blumenthal used most of the time to speak himself. He posed a single question to Ford asking her if she believes it would be helpful if the FBI had been brought in to investigate her allegation and perhaps have interviewed other key figures including Mark Judge.
“That would be my preference. I’m not sure it is really up to me,” she said.
Blumenthal told her that it wasn’t up to her but was up to the president to request.
“His failure to ask for an FBI investigation, in my view, is tantamount to a cover up,” Blumenthal closed.
Frank Luntz, a Republican political consultant and pollster, was critical of the political grandstanding by Democrats at the hearing — posting a link on Twitter of Blumenthal’s speech.
“Dr. Ford is proving to be even more credible than the Democrats who are speaking at today’s hearing. She’s committed to explaining her experience; they’re committed to playing politics,” he observed in a tweet.
Kavanaugh appeared after Ford completed her testimony and questioning by the committee. He angrily denied the allegations and accused Senate Democrats of orchestrating a “grotesque and coordinated character assassination” against him in the hopes of derailing his nomination to the Supreme Court.
He defiantly proclaimed he would not withdraw his nomination saying: “You may defeat me in the final vote but you’ll never get me to quit.”