Kavanaugh-Ford Hearing: What New England's Senators Are Saying

Sep 27, 2018

A hearing on an accusation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is underway Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy was one of the first senators to question accuser Christine Blasey Ford.

"What is the strongest memory you have, strongest memory of the incident, something you cannot forget?" Leahy asked.

"The laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two (Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge) and their having fun at my expense," Blasey Ford responded.

Leahy: "You've never forgotten that laughter -- you've never forgotten them laughing at you?" 

Blasey Ford: "They were laughing with each other."

Leahy: "And you were the object of the laughter?"

Blasey Ford: "I was underneath one of them, while the two laughed. Two friends having a really good time with one another."

Before questioning Blasey Ford, Leahy addressed Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, calling for an FBI investigation into the claims of Blasey Ford, and two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick.

"To use your words this morning, you want to reach the truth," Leahy said. "The easy way to do that: Ask the FBI to investigate. It's what we've always done...Let's have a non-partian professional investigation and then take the time to have these witnesses testify. "

Also taking the opportunity to speak was Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, who blasted the decision not to re-open Kavanaugh's background investigation, and took to task the Senate's own inquiry into the allegations against the nominee.

Whitehouse then addressed Blasey Ford and echoed Senator Leahy's call for an FBI investigation.

"The very bare minimum a person who comes forward is owed is sincere and thorough investigation and you've been denied that," Whitehouse said. "I will make a personal pledge to you here that however long it takes, and in whatever forum I can do it, whenever it's possible, I will do whatever is in my power to make sure that your claims get a full and proper investigation, and not just this." 

And Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal told Blasey Ford her testimony was "powerful and credible."

"You have given America an amazing teaching moment and you may have other moments in the classroom, but you have inspired and have enlightened America," Blumenthal said.

Later, Kavanugh appeared before the committee, and had a testy exchange with Leahy over entries in the nominee's high school yearbook that had to do with drinking and sexual exploits.

"I was number one in the class," Kavanaugh began.

As Leahy tried to speak over Kavanaugh, the nominee repeatedly said "No, no, no no," to which Leahy shot back, "I thought only the Senate could filibuster."

The two continued to talk at the same time, and Grassley told Leahy, "Let him answer."

Kavanaugh then continued, "I'm going to talk about my high school record if you're going to sit here and mock me."

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