Brett M. Kavanaugh took a page from Clarence Thomas’s defense Thursday, accusing Democratic senators and “the left” of seeking to smear his good name in order to defeat his Supreme Court nomination.
Thomas, defending himself a generation ago against charges of sexual harassment leveled by Anita Hill, denounced the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing into the accusation as a “high-tech lynching for uppity blacks.” He successfully portrayed himself, not Hill, as the victim in the process.
Kavanaugh described the current committee’s hearings as a “national disgrace,” and “grotesque and coordinated character assassination.” In emotional testimony, interrupted several times as he fought back tears, he condemned the process as a “coordinated … political hit.”
Before Brett M. Kavanaugh followed his accuser Christine Blasey Ford in testifying at the Senate Judiciary Committee, the viewers inside President Trump’s White House concluded that she had proved to be a good witness and that the hearing “was a mess” for the cause of Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, according to one aide there.
"She's credible," the aide, insisting on anonymity given the controversy, said of Ford, while the sight of 11 white Republican men on the committee sitting by silently to let a female prosecutor question Ford "was a mess."
The president, who watched first on Air Force One while returning from New York and then at the White House, had defended Kavanaugh during a news conference on Wednesday but said he could change his mind after the hearing, depending on how Ford and Kavanaugh came off.
Embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh emphatically and passionately denied allegations that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford in the early 1980s.
“I have never done this — to her or anyone,” Kavanaugh said during a lengthy opening statement at which he turned both angry and tearful.
“This has destroyed my family and my good name. A good name built up through decades of very hard work and public service,” he said, calling the allegations brought by Ford and other women a “calculated and orchestrated political hit.”
Millions of people heard Christine Blasey Ford tell the Senate Judiciary Committee about a long-ago gathering where she said Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, pushed his body against hers, tried to remove her clothes and held his hand over her mouth as she tried to scream for help.
Christine Blasey Ford wants to know when Mark Judge worked at the Potomac, Md., Safeway store.
During Thursday’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ford said she could better nail down the date of her alleged assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh if she knew when Judge, a friend of Kavanaugh’s who Ford said participated in the attack, worked at the grocery store.
Ford said she ran into Judge at the store six to eight weeks after the assault during a summer in the early 1980s. Ford believes it was 1982, but is unsure.
“It would be helpful … to figure out when he worked there, if people are wanting more details from me about when the attack occurred,” Ford said. “If we could find out when he worked there, then I could provide a more detailed timeline as to when the attack occurred.”
GOP senators’ strategy of bringing in an outside counsel to do their questioning may have saved Republicans from embarrassing flubs, but two hours into the hearing, she doesn’t appear to have successfully undermined Christine Blasey Ford’s story, observers say.
“The Republicans’ choice to hire an outside prosecutor, which frankly initially filled me with dread because I thought we’d see a harsh prosecutorial style today, has worked out better than I had expected,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.). “Her questioning has been professional and level. It does lead to the odd visual of a whole group of senators sitting in silence with someone they hired to question for them is questioning.”
Conservative TV commentators have been frustrated that special counsel Rachel Mitchell hasn’t been able to discredit Ford’s claim that she was assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh when they were both in high school. Democrats say Mitchell was undercut by there not having been an FBI investigation of the allegation, which Republicans have resisted.