Kavanaugh’s interruptions of Democratic senators in hearing draw ire and support

01 October, 2018, 15:44 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Sen. Joe Manchin  answers questions before a meeting of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Across the US, people spent the day rapt, watching or listening to the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

Brett Kavanaugh's contentious Supreme Court nomination will be put to an initial vote on Friday, after a dramatic Senate hearing saw the judge furiously fight back against sexual assault allegations recounted in harrowing detail by his accuser.

In the committee's packed hearing room for hour upon hour Thursday, both Kavanaugh and Ford said the alleged assault and the storm of controversy that has erupted 36 years later had altered their lives forever and for the worse - perhaps the only thing they agreed on during their separate testimony marked by a stark contrast of tone and substance.

The judge, however, has "unequivocally and categorically" denied Dr Ford's allegation and called himself a victim of "grotesque and obvious character assassination".

In Mr Kavanaugh's angry and tearful opening statement, supporters saw an expression of the frustration Republicans have felt since he was nominated by USA president Donald Trump in July.

The White House confirmed that Trump watched the testimony aboard Air Force One as he returned to Washington from NY.

He said the Senate's confirmation process was a "circus" and "a national disgrace" and that it had replaced "advice and consent with search and destroy".

The next step comes Friday morning when the Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

"I welcome whatever the committee wants to do", he said.

The confirmation process of 53-year-old Kavanaugh has found itself in jeopardy after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against him as a teenager from a number of women.

Ford said Kavanaugh pushed her into a room and pinned her to a bed.

Kavanaugh accurately summarized those statements when he told senators: "All of the people identified by Dr. Ford as being present at the party have said they do not remember any such party ever happening".

Ford had repeatedly asked for an FBI investigation during her testimony, which only Democrats on the committee then supported.

Following Thursday's testimony, Trump - who a day earlier had defended Kavanaugh but left the door open that he might reconsider his support - praised the nominee.

"Late Thursday, the magazine of the Jesuit religious order in the United States withdrew its endorsement of Kavanaugh, saying the nomination was no longer in the interests of the country and "should be withdrawn".

Kavanaugh had been stilted and overly programmed prior to Thursday, including in his initial round of Senate hearings and in an interview with Fox News earlier in the week.

Several Republican senators accused Democrats of trying to delay Kavanaugh's nomination until November in the hopes of capturing control of the Senate.

Flake didn't ask Kavanaugh any questions during the hearing. Sanders tweeted that Graham "has more decency and courage than every Democrat member of the committee combined". Viewing the hearing from their desks, some aides expressed concerns that Ford appeared highly credible, though others noted there were still gaps in her decades-old story. Though Ford is the only accuser testifying, three women have made allegations against Kavanaugh.

The Washington Post via Getty Images Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh's testimony was not enough, legal expert Alan Dershowitz said.

As to whether he had a message for undecided senators like Collins and Murkowski, Trump said "they have to do what they think is right" and be comfortable with themselves.

But Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from SC, hit out at the Democrats following Blasey Ford's testimony.

With Kavanaugh's confirmation vote set for Friday, and the schedule permitting his ascension to the Supreme Court as quickly as next week, Democrats' only option to oppose Kavanaugh may be impeachment.



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