President Trump calls Kavanaugh testimony 'riveting'

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Christine Blasey Ford, with lawyers Debra S. Katz and Michael R. Bromwich, answers questions at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., September 27, 2018.

Christine Blasey Ford tells the U.S. Senate judiciary committee how the alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh unfolded one night in 1982.

Trump missed hardly a moment of the proceedings, relying on DVRs to keep up on the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing from his private office on Air Force One as he traveled from NY to Washington, and continued monitoring back at the White House, where Ford's voice echoed from TVs around the building.

Being a sexual abuse survivor herself, Ford's experience and her public telling of it deeply resonated with her and millions of other women, Paterson said.

Ford said she could not recall all the details of the polygraph or how former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Jeremiah Hanafin was chosen to administer the test. "Just basic memory functions". She said some fear their cases will never be prosecuted.

Kavanaugh, 53, has strenuously denied assaulting anyone and insists he is the victim of a "smear campaign".

"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter, between the two, and their having fun at my expense", Ford, a research psychologist, replied. She said he put his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams.

There are so many things to say about Ford's testimony, but the thing that strikes me most, beyond her credibility, is her precision, her insistence on what she does and doesn't know, and not being railroaded into saying anything other than that.

Kavanaugh is now a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

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"I am no one's pawn", she testified, before going on to detail her allegation that Kavanaugh tried to force himself on her at a gathering more than three decades ago.

Asked by if he is confident that Kavanaugh can advance out of the committee, he said, "I am optimistic, yes".

They come against a backdrop of the #MeToo movement and the hearing included sharp exchanges between Republicans and Democrats mirroring the atmosphere of bitter political partisanship in Washington. If Kavanaugh seemed doomed at midday Thursday and revived by the end of the day, anything could still happen before the final vote, especially if additional accusations continue to pile up. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., outlining her sexual assault allegations.

Durbin was forceful in his assertion that Mark Judge, whom Ford alleges was also present and participated in the accused assault, should provide testimony of his own before the committee. Echoing Ford, he said he was "100 percent certain" he did not commit the assault.

Republicans are pushing to seat Mr Kavanaugh before the November midterms, when Senate control could fall to the Democrats and a replacement Trump nominee could have even greater difficulty.

Heitkamp stressed that a nonpartisan FBI investigation should be conducted to "bring greater clarity" to Ford's claim and Kavanaugh's denial.

A White House official who was not authorized to speak publicly said the West Wing saw the judge's opening statement as "game changing" and said Trump appeared to be reacting positively.

Ms Ford finished her evidence about four hours after the hearing began.

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