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

28 September 2018

Just moments after announcing he planned to vote for Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination Friday, Republican Senator Jeff Flake was confronted by two women in an elevator who said they survived sexual assaults.

"He's on trial for being basically a white conservative who went to an elite school", said Mike Glasoe of West Fargo, North Dakota, who considers himself independent politically and said he has voted for both Democrats and Republicans.

The outside prosecutor who was hired by Senate Republicans to question Supreme Court nominee Brett Ford and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford has said she would not charge Kavanaugh if it were a criminal complaint in her jurisdiction.

Kavanaugh at times choked back tears, especially when he mentioned that his daughter suggested they pray for Ford, when he spoke of his father and when he mentioned women friends who had rallied to support him.

On Thursday, the committee heard testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, now a professor of psychology in California, who says Mr Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers in the 1980s.

Asked by Hirono if there was any "political motivation" for her to come forward, Ford said "no" there was not. The hearing was a rollercoaster of emotion, with Democrats taking every opportunity to praise Ford's courage in coming forward, while Mitchell delivered the tougher questioning, challenging her on a number of issues, including the circumstances surrounding her polygraph test and her fear of flying. Kavanaugh angrily said he was innocent and the victim of "grotesque and obvious character assassination".

There was anger, yelling, interrupting of women, and a sense of not needing to answer hard questions. "I have never seen someone who wants to be elevated to the highest court in our country behave in that manner", Feinstein said.

As The Associated Press notes, "Republicans are concerned, among other reasons, that further investigations could push a vote past the November elections that may switch Senate control back to the Democrats and make consideration of any Trump nominee more hard".

Trump's son, Donald Jr., also tweeted his review: "I love Kavanaugh's tone".

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Friday to advance the nomination to the full Senate, but Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley noted the timing on Senate vote was up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Kavanaugh is a former top aide in Bush's administration.

The committee comprises 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats.

During Thursday's historic hearing, Ford offered emotional testimony about her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh groped and attempted to rape her in high school. She said he put his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams.

Mr. Judge has said he does not recall the incident and he reiterated that point in a letter to the committee released late September 27.

Flake, a Republican, backed Kavanaugh in a committee vote on Friday, but extracted a verbal commitment for an Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry into sexual misconduct allegations against the nominee.

Ford was widely praised for her compelling and convincing testimony in Thursday's hearing, but the fact that she can't name the date and location of the alleged offence makes the claim hard to prosecute, experts say.

For his part, Kavanaugh testified he was "100 per cent certain" the alleged incident did not occur.

"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter", said Ford, referring to the area of the brain where traumatic memories are stored.

After the hearings, the American Bar Association took the extraordinary step of recommending an FBI investigation into the allegations before proceeding with his confirmation.

When a male senator read Kavanaugh's denial, Ford appeared to shudder.

During a lunch break, even typically talkative GOP senators on the panel were without words.

Then Kavanaugh strode into the committee room, arranged his nameplate, and with anger on his face started to testify with a statement he said he had shown only one other person.

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