Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford Testify on Sexual-Assault Allegations [Live Updates]

Illustration for article titled Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford Testify on Sexual-Assault Allegations [Live Updates]
Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

The shit show that shouldn’t be is finally upon us and the idea that sexual-assault testimony is being treated like a lead-up to the Super Bowl is sickening and befitting of the times.


But here we are.

For those living in UnderARock, Wis., Brett Kavanaugh is President BumbleFuck von RussiaOp’s pick for the Supreme Court and Christine Blasey Ford is the first of three women to come out and claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her during a party when both were in high school. Now, Blasey Ford will have her day in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee to explain her side of what she claims happened.

The Root will be watching live so you don’t have to. Check back for updates.

Updated: Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 10:20 a.m. EDT:

Random observations:

Christine Blasey Ford is here! This is the first look that the public has had of Blasey Ford since her anonymous letter about the alleged sexual assault that took place.

Blasey Ford is wearing a blue suit. You know who else wore a blue suit when they faced a group of mean-looking white men to address sexual assault allegations against a Supreme Court nominee? Anita Hill. This can’t be accidental.

Sen. Chuck Grassley is not reading on grade level. The Iowa senator opened the show and never looks up from his opening statement. Apparently, Grassley doesn’t know how to hold the space he’s reading enough to actually look up at the crowd. Also, not sure why he didn’t practice some of the larger words like the last name of Deborah Ramirez—the second woman to claim sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh—which he consistently stumbles over.


Updated: Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 10:43 a.m. EDT:

Quotes from Blasey Ford’s opening statement:

“I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty ...”


“The details about that night that bring me here today are ones I will never forget. They have been seared into my memory and have haunted me episodically as an adult.”

“I was pushed from behind into a bedroom.”

“I was pushed onto the bed and Brett got on top of me.”

“I believed he was going to rape me.”

“I tried to yell for help.”

“Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from screaming.”

“It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me.”


Updated: Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 11:10 a.m. EDT:

Blasey Ford notes that she came forward after reporters were camped outside her home. She adds that one reporter even went so far as to pose as a student in her classroom and Blasey Ford didn’t realize that she was a reporter until the woman came over to ask her a question about the assault.


Looks like all of the Republican men on the panel are going to refer to Rachel Mitchell, the Maricopa County Arizona prosecutor. Mitchell appears to be trying to get a concrete retelling of the events that took place that night that alleged assault took place.

Seems rather gutless for these senators to speak publicly about the allegations and publicly denounce Blasey Ford’s account of events, yet they can’t say it to her face.


Also, this needs to be noted—Mitchell’s hair looks like a human hair helmet with handles. I can’t get past her hair.

Blasey Ford testifies that she’s 100 percent certain it was Kavanaugh who assaulted her.


The hearing is on a 15-minute break.

Updated: Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 12:12 p.m. EDT: 

Mitchell’s cross-examining in five minute chunks is proving to be a horrible strategy for the GOP. Because the GOP are a gutless bag of blowhards who’ve actively tried to destroy Blasey Ford’s accusations but also her character, they’ve been unable to paint Blasey Ford as an unreliable witness. They’ve been unable to grandstand. They’ve been unable to make undisputed statements.


In turn, before Democratic senators question Blasey Ford, they not only get to thank her for coming forward but they get to continuously reiterate that women’s sexual assault testimony is not only difficult to rehash but that sexual assault survivors are rarely believed by men like those in the Grand Ole Party.

Mitchell, who is a prosecutor and not a politician, is trying to paint a picture of Blasey Ford’s account but she only gets five-minute increments to do this. As such, her questioning is becoming a rehashing of nonsensical blah, which includes hard-hitting questions like, “How did you get here today.”


To which Blasey Ford replied: “An airplane.”

Updated: Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 2:15 p.m. EDT: 

Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony has come to an end. She appeared believable and credible. Both Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris spent the majority of their allotted time commending Blasey Ford for attending this hearing voluntarily and blasting their fellow senators for treating this hearing as if Blasey Ford were on trial.


Also, this can’t be overstated: The GOP really blew it by allowing Rachel Mitchell to question Blasey Ford. At the end of her questioning, Mitchell even joked that this questioning in five-minute intervals was not the best way to handle these types of allegations. Nevertheless, Blasey Ford’s day is over.

There will be a 45-minute break and then Brett Kavanaugh will be up to tell his side of the story, although Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is convinced that Kavanaugh didn’t do anything. Yes, Sen. Graham, the same man who couldn’t say any of this to Blasey Ford’s face, but had all of this to say after her testimony. Oh, and Graham is continuing to argue that Blasey Ford is merely a pawn in a larger political game for the Democrats to take over Congress and never fill the Supreme Court seat.


Yep, Lindsey Graham is still trash.

Updated: Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 3:10 p.m. EDT:

Kavanuagh is here and he looks pissed! In his opening statement, which he proudly notes he wrote himself, Kavanaugh is coming off angry. I don’t know if the plan was to come off intense and therefore believable, but this pissed Kavanaugh isn’t going to play well in the court of public opinion.


Kavanaugh claims that this confirmation process “has become a national disgrace.” (Well, withdraw your name as that is the fastest way to end it.) Kavanaugh is painting himself as the victim. Claims that his name has been destroyed and that his family has suffered. Also alludes to the entire process being a ploy to destroy his character. Claims that the whole process is a circus to assassinate his character.

This is a “calculated, coordinated political hit.”

Then Kavanaugh dropped a “closest friend” reference. Yep, Kavanaugh just laid out a “one of my closest friends was a woman who was sexually abused.”


Holy shit, Kavanaugh just started crying. Not full on crying, but he definitely got choked up a bit and had to stop speaking. He was talking about his daughter praying before bed and noted that she wanted to pray for Christine Blasey Ford. Then Kavanaugh composed himself to add that he means no ill will to Blasey Ford or her family.

Kavanaugh keeps pump-fake crying. Not fake crying, but no tears are coming out. He’s doing the whole “I’m not going to cry” crying thing that men do to show that we are both vulnerable and tough.


Kavanaugh claims that he loved being a professor but because of some of the political motives by those on the committee, he may not be able to teach again. He also coaches girls basketball and he may not be able to coach again.

He wants the members of the committee to treat him as they would their dad, or brother or son.


Kavanaugh then states emphatically that he did not sexually assault Blasey Ford.

Updated: Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 4:13 p.m. EDT: 

Because Kavanaugh took up all of the time with his opening statement—seriously his opening statement was over 30 minutes long—Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rachel Mitchell, who is also questioning Kavanaugh, were the only two able to asks questions before they went to a break.


Couple of points:

1. Kavanaugh is going to have to answer the yearbook entry truthfully. As it stands, Kavanaugh and nine other members of the Georgetown Preparatory high school football team claimed to be “Renate Alumnius.” Renate was a female student at a sister school, who had no idea that her name or that Prep students claimed to be “Renate Alumnius.”


During his opening statement, Kavanaugh claimed that they included her in their group because she was a good friend who was like one of the guys.

That’s bullshit and he knows it. In fact, if she was such a friend, how come she didn’t know that “Renate Alumnius” existed until a few days before the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing.


“I learned about these yearbook pages only a few days ago,” Renate said in a statement to The New York Times. “I don’t know what ‘Renate Alumnus’ actually means. I can’t begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way. I will have no further comment.”

2. Brett Kavanaugh needs to calm the fuck down.

Updated: Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 5:02 p.m. EDT: 

Well, this shit show has officially gone off the rails. Sen. Lindsey Graham put on a damn spectacle that included tears and a reference to Bill Cosby. Kavanaugh is continuing to get more fired up, and at one point there was a reference to flatulence, the f-word, a drinking game called Devil’s Triangle and the continuous claim that something happened to Christine Blasey Ford and they’re sorry about that, but this event that Blasey Ford clearly remembers didn’t happen ... and they don’t think that is remotely condescending or disrespectful.


Kavanaugh is continuing to be combative. He’s talking over senators and being snippy with his answers. When senators ask him questions that he doesn’t like or want to answer he ask those senators the same question.

Ex.: “Have you ever passed out while drinking?”

Kavanaugh: “Have you?”

In fact what appears to be on trial more than anything is white privilege. For Kavanaugh, his nomination was all wrapped up and now that his lifetime appointment is in jeopardy and he’s being questioned, he doesn’t like it. What’s more baffling is that Kavanaugh isn’t even trying to maintain decorum or professionalism, in fact, he’s acting like an entitled white man who’s losing his power.


And now they’ve taken another break.

Updated: Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 5:50 p.m. EDT:

Oh shit where the hell is Rachel Mitchell? She’s gone. I mean she may still be in the room but she’s no longer asking questions for the Republican senators because they just couldn’t take it. They’ve kicked her to the curb and started grandstanding and asking their own questions because Kavanaugh has been combative during the entire proceedings. Maybe the Republican senators realized that he’s not doing himself any favors. Maybe the Republican senators realized that the hearing is live and they couldn’t stand being around a camera where they weren’t performing.


Holy shit!

Holy shit, again. There’s a Senator Crapo! How did I never know this?

Updated: Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 7:55 p.m. EDT: 

“How long is this going on?” is what we all wanted to know about two hours ago. I guess until they get through all the members of the Senate Judiciary and Politics Editor Stephen A. Crockett Jr. tapped out and tapped me in, since I’m in on nights, so I, Angela Bronner Helm, will do the last wrap up for those who missed what has rightfully been deemed the “testerical” and “himotional” shit show that was Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary.


So many things … and mostly a lot of political grandstanding, but there were definitely a few stand out moments:

First, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) accuses Democrats of “doing crap” to Kavanaugh’s family. The rage of the white men were on full display, and that was indeed evident when this senator was so mad at the way that poor Brett Kavanaugh was treated that he used the word “crap.” The word “crap” said


After pivoting away from Rachel Mitchell, who outlived her usefulness as a female pawn, Republican senators of the Judiciary Committee all tried to paint the process as if Democrats were withholding Blasey Ford’s information in some sinister plot to prolong these hearings and block Kavanaugh from his god given whiteman right to the high court.

Egads! Politics in the Supreme Court?! Right. Moving on.

The three senators of color on the committee took no tea for the fever and I was so here for it. All three took a very prosecutorial stance with Kavanaugh (i.e., tried to keep his answers to a minimum) and kept it real direct.


Going with the bronze, we had Sen. Mazie Horino (D-HI) who was quite short with Kavanaugh and I think I love her (goes to follow her on Twitter). She was not being talked over, or mansplained in any way shape or form.

Going with the silver (but only shortly) was our favorite guy from Newark, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). Sen. Booker opened up with a can of whup ass from the rip.


His first question: “You drank on weekdays, not on weekends?”

“Yes or no?”

I think we all know that Kavanaugh liked to get fucked up, and drink more than Beer, Beer, I love Beer, and Booker honed in on that absurdity.


He also took issue with Kavanaugh’s opening statement, which seemed to allude to some left-wing, Clintonesque cabal trying to destroy his life and take his dreams.

Booker: “Let’s just be clear. You have problems with the senators up here, but not with Dr. Ford, correct?” and then made him say that she was not a political pawn.


When Kavanaugh tried to mansplain, Booker was having none of it.

“That’s not my question, sir. Could you try to answer my question, sir?”

In all, I thought Cory B. was very effective.

Commercial Break 1: Next up was Grandpa Munster in a 47-year-old’s body, Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the senator that even Republicans don’t eff with.


Oh Lawd. Ted and his smarmy voice went on and on, and I don’t believe asked one question during his allotted time. “This has been one of the most shameful chapters in the history of the United States …” yadda yadda yadda. It was more of “these attacks that the media is airing” (huh? Isn’t that the job of the media, to air stories?) and his grandstanding sucked all the air out the room

Commercial break two: Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) felt like she was being besmirched. And would be damned if they drag her good name by saying she— or a member of her staff—leaked Blasey Ford’s name to the press.


Diane: “I did not.”

There may have been others but they were a blur. The gold, the pure gold, of course, goes to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who also jumped right into it with her allotted five minutes. The gold, the gold goes to Kamala, Bison babe, HU, you know. You know?


Kamala: “Have you taken a professionally recognized polygraph on this issue?”

Cause um, all three women who have accused you did (according to Harris).

Again, like the others who medaled in this event, she maintained control of the questions, ending with, “So I am going to ask you one last time, 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 levied against you?”


Kavanaugh: Yadda, yadda, yadda…I will do whatever this committee asks of me… not recognized in a court of law… yadda.

Sen. Harris: “ I’m going to take that as a no.”

And then, Sista Senator flipped a very excellent lob (which ran through my mind, as Kavanaugh tried to paint himself as women’s best friend during his long-ass opening statement): “Do you think it’s possible for me to be friends with some women, and also treat other women badly?”


Finally, she ended with “Did you watch Dr. Ford’s testimony?” No? “Thank you.”


Sen. Jeff Flake, whom CNN is reporting is meeting with four other key centrist votes on the Republican side—the four that can make or break this fool: Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Jeff Flake and Joe Manchin—ended with words that we can all agree with:

And I would just urge my colleagues to recognize that in the end we are 21 very imperfect senators trying to do our best to provide advice and consent. And in the end, there is likely to be as much doubt as certainty going out of this room today. As we make decisions going forward, I hope that people will recognize that. In the rhetoric that we use and the language that we use going forward that we’ll recognize that, that there is doubt.


No doubt, this was a shit show, and the fate of millions is in the hands of a few who appear to have no moral center, grounding, or respect for women.

Fin. (for now)

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.


kidelo *ask me about my Covid-19 vaccine!*

Of course, Grassley starts out propping up his boy.