The testimony of Christine Blasey Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court was a plus for Democrats who want to derail the nomination, because Republicans were walking on eggshells.
The 11 Republican senators on the committee – all men – clearly did not want to appear to be bullying Ford or to look like they were being accusatory or insensitive toward a woman who claims she was a victim of sexual assault committed by Kavanaugh when the two were in high school.
Ford came across as earnest, likeable through her nervousness, and seemed to do her best to answer questions from both sides during her testimony.
But it’s a fact that there is no corroboration of her version of the sexual assault she says happened about 36 years ago (she said she is not sure of the exact year). And when you take a step back, aspects of her account do not make sense under any objective examination.
At the end of the testimony, Mitchell laughed with Ford, commiserating with her about how bad the hearing format was. All of this strengthened Ford's standing and made her a more sympathetic figure.
For example, Ford (about 15 at the time) obviously needed a ride home right after the alleged assault. But she could not or would not say who took her home or what she said to that person in the immediate aftermath of what she said was a sexual assault.
Republicans faced a two-fold problem at the hearing.
First, Rachel Mitchell, the experienced prosecutor to whom Republicans ceded their five-minute questioning rounds, treated the proceeding as if she was taking a deposition from Ford. Attorneys routinely take depositions – statements under oath – to be presented as evidence during trials or hearings.
However, Ford was not being questioned to prepare for a future trial or hearing. She was speaking at a hearing – a proceeding more like an adversarial trial.
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