POLITICS
09/27/2018 09:27 am ET Updated Sep 28, 2018

Live Updates: Brett Kavanaugh Testifies At Senate Hearing

Christine Blasey Ford has already testified about her allegations of sexual misconduct against the Supreme Court nominee.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, and Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who has accused him of sexual assault, both testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

Blasey was the first of three women to publicly accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Trump nominated Kavanaugh in July to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Blasey will be questioned by Rachel Mitchell, a prosecutor from Arizona who was hired by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he hired Mitchell to “de-politicize the process,” which otherwise would have involved only Republican men questioning Blasey.

Read live updates on the hearing below. (You may need to refresh the page to see the latest updates.)

6:46 p.m. ET 

6:46 p.m. ET

After nearly nine hours, the hearing has been adjourned.

― Sara Boboltz

6:45 p.m. ET

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) repeated the question asked by several other Democratic senators: Will Brett Kavanaugh ask the White House to start an FBI investigation into the allegations against him?

After much back and forth without an answer from Kavanaugh, Harris said, “I’m going to take this as a no and we can move on.”

Harris also asked Kavanaugh whether he agreed that it is possible for men to both be friends with some women and treat other women badly.

“Of course,” he replied, before repeating his assertion that he has many female friends who hold him in high regard.

— Lydia O’Connor and Sara Boboltz

6:42 p.m. ET

Kavanaugh did not watch Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony, the judge told Harris.

― Sara Boboltz

6:33 p.m. ET 

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) again defended why she didn’t share Blasey’s letter earlier. “I held it confidential until she decided that she would come forward.” When asked if her staff “leaked” the letter, she replied, “The answer is no.”

“I was asked to keep it confidential, and I’m criticized for that, too,” Feinstein added.

― Saba Hamedy

6:32 p.m. ET

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) called out Kavanaugh for yet again invoking Leland Ingham Keyser’s statements in his defense, saying that Kavanaugh isn’t telling the whole story.

“She says she doesn’t remember the night in question, but she also says that she believes Dr. Ford,” Booker said.

— Lydia O’Connor

6:14 p.m. ET

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) asked Kavanaugh, who has spent much of the hearing being agitated, whether “temperament” should also be “a trait we should consider” on the Supreme Court. She pointed out that he is not entitled to be on the court.

— Marina Fang

6:03 p.m. ET

“Judge, do you believe Anita Hill?” Blumenthal threw out in a last-minute question to Kavanaugh as Grassley moved the hearing along.

— Lydia O’Connor

6:01 p.m. ET 

Kavanaugh has increasingly grown visibly frustrated with Democratic senators as the hearing goes on.

During questioning from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Grassley finally had to step in to stop Kavanaugh from interrupting mid-question.

— Lydia O’Connor

5:54 p.m. ET

Kavanaugh has now defended himself several times by referencing Leland Keyser’s public statement that she does not recall Blasey’s assault.

It’s a little more complicated: Blasey says Keyser was at the house where she was assaulted. After her accusation became public, a lawyer for Keyser put out a statement saying she does not remember the gathering yet believes her friend’s accusation. Blasey said earlier Thursday that Keyser texted her to apologize for the statement after it was used to discredit her. Blasey also said she did not tell Keyser about the assault at the time.

― Sara Boboltz

5:40 p.m. ET 

“Yes, if Mark Judge were before us today we’d be able to assess his credibility,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) snapped back at Kavanaugh as the nominee again listed witnesses at the party who reject Blasey’s claims.

The Republican-controlled committee has not called for Judge to testify.

― Lydia O’Connor

5:38 p.m. ET 

Hatch raised his voice as he emphasized that Blasey’s claims are from Kavanaugh’s “teenage years.”

“He was an immature high schooler,” he said, dismissing other senators’ inquiries into his past drinking habits.

― Lydia O’Connor

5:37 p.m. ET

“Porn star lawyers with facially implausible claims are driving the news cycle,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told the committee in reference to Michael Avenatti, who represents both Stormy Daniels and Julie Swetnick. Swetnick says she saw Kavanaugh at parties where women were raped.

― Sara Boboltz

5:33 p.m. ET

Before senators proceeded with their questioning after the break, Kavanaugh apologized to Klobuchar for responding to her questions about his drinking with questions about her own.

― Lydia O’Connor

5:10 p.m. ET 

The hearing has paused for a 15-minute break. 

― Nina Golgowski

5:09 p.m. ET 

“Drinking is one thing,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), “but the concern is about truthfulness and in your written testimony you said you sometimes had too many drinks.”

She then asked whether Kavanaugh ever drank so much that he did not remember certain events. Kavanaugh twice directed the question back to Klobuchar, who said she does not have “a drinking problem.”

“Neither do I,” Kavanaugh said.

― Sara Boboltz

5:01 p.m. ET 

Kavanaugh appeared emotional while responding to Sen. John Cornyn’s encouragement to persevere.

“I will always be a good person and try to be a good judge, whatever happens,” he told the Texas senator. 

― Nina Golgowski

5:00 p.m. ET 

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to Graham’s questioning of Kavanaugh, during which he erupted at Democrats.

“@LindseyGrahamSC has more decency and courage than every Democrat member of the committee combined,” Sanders tweeted. “God bless him.”

― Saba Hamedy 

4:58 p.m. ET 

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) asked a series of questions about captions in Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook. The nominee said they referred to drinking games, “the F word” and flatulence, prompting some laughter from those gathered.

― Sara Boboltz

4:51 p.m. ET 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the hearing was “the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics.”

“Are you a gang rapist?” Graham asked Kavanaugh.

“No,” Kavanaugh replied. (None of Kavanaugh’s accusers have suggested he participated in a gang rape. One said she saw him attend parties where other boys engaged in such behavior.)

“This is not a job interview. This is hell,” Graham said forcefully. “This is going to destroy the ability for good people to come forward because of crap.”

Graham told Kavanaugh, “You have nothing to apologize for.”

He went on to unload on Democrats: “I would never do to them what you’ve done to this guy. This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics.”

“Boy, y’all want power,” Graham said in regard to Democrats on the committee running for office in 2020. “Boy, I hope y’all never get it.”

― Nina Golgowski, Lydia O’Connor, Saba Hamedy

4:48 p.m. ET 

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) advised Kavanaugh to turn to White House counsel Don McGahn and request that the committee suspend the hearing and start an FBI investigate the allegations.

The suggestion drew anger from Grassley.

“This committee is running this hearing, not the White House, not Don McGahn,” Grassley said. 

“I think an FBI investigation will help all of us on both sides of the issue,” Durbin concluded.

― Nina Golgowski

4:39 p.m. ET 

Leahy asked Kavanaugh point-blank whether he was the “Bart O’Kavanaugh” ― a character who vomits in a car after a party ― mentioned in Judge’s memoir. Kavanaugh said Leahy would have to ask Judge before shouting over the senator, whom he accused of mocking him.

Leahy also asked Kavanaugh to explain any references to drinking and sexual activity in his yearbook. The nominee responded by touting his academic and athletic record.

“We got a filibuster but no answer,” Leahy said.

― Sara Boboltz

4:32 p.m. ET

The hearing has resumed with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) questioning Kavanaugh, asking whether he believes Judge should be present to testify.

Kavanaugh replied: “He’s already provided sworn testimony to the committee.”

― Nina Golgowski

4:26 p.m. ET 

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that it’s “nice to see a conservative man fight for his honor.”

― Sara Boboltz

4:17 p.m. ET

President Donald Trump is “riveted” by the hearing and so far views Kavanaugh’s testimony positively, said Washington Post reporter Robert Costa, citing unnamed sources inside the White House.

 ― Sara Boboltz

4:11 p.m. ET 

The hearing is taking a 15-minute break at the request of Kavanaugh.

― Nina Golgowski

4:11 p.m. ET 

Kavanaugh said nothing in his personal calendars have been changed since he created them in 1982.

― Nina Golgowski

4:10 p.m. ET 

Mitchell went point-by-point through Blasey’s story about the assault. Kavanaugh said he has never been alone in a room with Judge and Blasey, nor has he ever engaged in any sexual behavior with Blasey, including consensual behavior.

― Sara Boboltz

4:07 p.m. ET 

Kavanaugh called “the Swetnick thing” a “joke” and a “farce.”

Asked by Feinstein whether he wanted to say anything more on Julie Swetnick’s accusation that he attended parties where women were gang-raped, Kavanaugh said forcefully, “No.”

― Sara Boboltz

4:06 p.m. ET 

Kavanaugh continued to express anger over having not been able to address the allegations against him immediately. “It’s an outrage that I was not allowed to come and immediately defend my name and say I didn’t do this and give you all this evidence. I’m not even in D.C. on the weekends in the summer of 1982.”

― Nina Golgowski

4:02 p.m. ET 

Mitchell asked Kavanaugh how he knows Mark Judge.

Kavanaugh identified Judge as a friend from school who was a “funny guy, great writer, popular, developed a serious addiction problem that lasted decades. Near death a couple of times from his addition. Suffered tremendously.”

Kavanaugh said he hadn’t spoken with Judge in a few years.

Kavanaugh said he knows of Blasey’s friend Leland Ingham Keyser and wouldn’t rule out having crossed paths with her in high school.

― Nina Golgowski

CORRECTION: This entry previously misstated Judge’s first name as Mike. 

3:57 p.m. ET

Kavanaugh said the experience has been beyond challenging for him and his family.

“Explaining this to our daughters has been about the worst experience of our lives,” he said, before calling his wife his “rock.”

Kavanaugh also lamented the impact Blasey’s accusation has had on his reputation. He said he may never be able to teach law or coach girls basketball again.

― Nina Golgowski, Sara Boboltz

3:56 p.m. ET 

Kavanaugh emphasized his long history of hiring female law clerks. If confirmed, he said, he would be the first Supreme Court judge with only female clerks.

HuffPost previously reported that professors at Yale coached women seeking clerkships with Kavanaugh to dress a certain way. One said “it’s no accident” Kavanaugh’s clerks look “like models.”

― Sara Boboltz

3:49 p.m. ET 

Kavanaugh recalled receiving a supportive text from a “liberal” female friend reading: “Deep breaths. You’re a good man, good man, a good man.”

Kavanaugh’s wife, sitting behind him, nodded several times upon hearing her husband talk about that assurance from a friend.

― Sara Boboltz

3:45 p.m. ET 

Kavanaugh said he drank alcohol in high school, saying the legal age to drink in Maryland was 18 at the time.

“I drank beer with my friends,” he said. “Sometimes I had too many beers. I liked beer. I still like beer. But I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out and I never sexually assaulted anyone.”

― Nina Golgowski

3:42 p.m. ET 

Kavanaugh defended his use of the calendar as evidence, pointing to appointments and workouts he crossed out if he’d missed them. He acknowledged that the calendar isn’t definitive, but rather one piece of evidence.

He also appeared to cite his female friendships as further evidence that he would not sexually assault anyone.

― Sara Boboltz 

3:36 p.m. ET

Kavanaugh got choked up when talking about his dad, who taught him how to keep calendars. Lawyers for Kavanaugh released pages from his 1982 calendar this week as an attempt to prove that he didn’t assault Blasey. The party was not listed on the calendar. However, it’s feasible that a 17-year-old would not list a small gathering on his calendar.

Kavanaugh insisted the calendar “all but definitively shows that I was not there.”

— Marina Fang

3:31 p.m. ET

Kavanaugh mentioned his previously clean background in his defense.

“Until last week, no one ever accused me of any kind of sexual misconduct,” he said. “No one ever. A lifetime. A lifetime of public service and a lifetime of high profile public service at the highest levels of American government and never a hint of anything of this kind and that’s because nothing of this kind ever happened.”

― Nina Golgowski

3:26 p.m. ET 

Kavanaugh’s voice broke when he told the committee one of his daughters wanted to pray for “the woman.”

― Sara Boboltz

3:24 p.m. ET 

“I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone,” Kavanaugh said. “Not in high school, not in college, ever.”

He cited a friendship with a woman who once told him she was sexually abused and talked about how his mother faced sexual harassment in her career. 

Kavanaugh said “allegations of sexual assault must always be taken seriously” but went on to say that “the person who is the subject of those allegations must also be heard.”

“Due process means listening to both sides,” he said. 

― Saba Hamedy, Sara Boboltz

3:23 p.m. ET 

“This has destroyed my family and my good name, a good name built up through decades of very hard work and public service at the highest levels of public government,” Kavanaugh said.

― Nina Golgowski

3:22 p.m. ET 

Kavanaugh called the claims against him a “coordinated” partisan effort to derail his confirmation.

“What goes around comes around,” he said. “You may defeat me in the final vote, but you’ll never get me to quit. Never.”

― Sara Boboltz

3:19 p.m. ET 

Kavanaugh, reading from a previously unreleased statement and appearing visibly angry, said he had “demanded a hearing for the very next day” after Blasey’s allegation became public. 

“Unfortunately, it took the committee 10 days to get to this hearing,” he said.

“My family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false additional accusations,” he said. “The 10-day delay has been harmful to me and my family, the Supreme Court and my family.”

Attorneys for Blasey said last week that they felt rushed and “bullied” by Republican senators pushing to hold the hearing as soon as possible.

Kavanaugh also emphasized that four people allegedly at the gathering had not corroborated Blasey’s story. 

“I was not at the party described by Dr. Ford,” he said. “This confirmation process has become a national disgrace.”

― Nina Golgowski, Sara Boboltz

3:09 p.m. ET 

Kavanaugh just arrived to testify, holding the hand of his wife. 

 ― Nina Golgowski

2:29 p.m. ET 

Graham, speaking to reporters, said, “I don’t doubt something happened to her” but called Blasey’s story “uncorroborated.”

“She is just as much a victim of this as Brett Kavanaugh because someone betrayed her trust,” he said, apparently referencing the fact that her letter became public despite her desire to remain anonymous. 

― Nina Golgowski

2:19 p.m. ET

Mitchell concluded her questions for Blasey by pointing out that the format of the day’s questioning was not ideal. She cited research that suggests the best way to talk to trauma survivors is one-on-one in private.

― Sara Boboltz

2:15 p.m. ET 

Grassley thanked Blasey for her testimony and called for a 45-minute recess.

― Sara Boboltz

2:11 p.m. ET 

“Nothing remarkable happened to them. They were downstairs,” Blasey said about statements made from her friend Leland Ingham Keyser and others at the party who have said they have no memory of the event.

“Mr. Judge is a different story,” she said. “I would expect that he would remember this happened.” 

― Sara Boboltz, Nina Golgowski

2:08 p.m. ET

Ed Whelan, Kavanaugh’s friend and a conservative lawyer who last week promulgated a conspiracy theory designed to discredit Blasey’s claims, came up during the questioning. He alleged that she may have mistaken Kavanaugh for someone else.

“I just don’t feel like it’s right for us to be talking about that,” Blasey said.

― Marina Fang

2:02 p.m. ET 

“We wanted her to know we support her and what she is doing is important,” one current student of Holton-Arms, where Blasey attended school, told The New York Times from her seat in the audience.  

 ― Sara Boboltz

2:02 p.m. ET 

Blasey said she went to four to five parties that Kavanaugh also attended during her freshman and sophomore years of high school. 

― Nina Golgowski

1:58 p.m. ET

Blasey’s lawyers say they are not being paid and “have no expectation of being paid.”

― Sara Boboltz

1:57 p.m. ET 

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) praised Blasey for being “heroic.”

“Your brilliance, shining a light onto this, speaking your truth, is nothing short of heroic,” he said. “You are speaking truth that this country needs to understand and how we deal with survivors who come forward right now is unacceptable.”

― Saba Hamedy

1:49 p.m. ET

Blasey said she does not know how her letter to Feinstein became public. She agreed to sit down for an interview after reporters began showing up to her home and workplace.

― Sara Boboltz

1:46 p.m. ET

Mitchell pressed Blasey for an answer on who paid for the polygraph test she took.

“Let me put an end to this misery. Her lawyers paid for the polygraph,” said Debra Katz, one of Blasey’s lawyers. “As is routine.”

“As is routine,” Michael Bromwich, another lawyer, repeated.

― Sara Boboltz

1:42 p.m. ET

When Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) asked whether there was any political motivation behind her decision to speak out, Blasey said there was not. 

“I’d like to reiterate that I was trying to get the information to you while there was still a list of what looked like equally qualified candidates,” she said of the other potential Supreme Court nominees released by President Donald Trump.

― Nina Golgowski

1:38 p.m. ET 

The hearing has resumed after a lunch break.

― Nina Golgowski

1:37 p.m. ET

Graham told reporters that he is looking forward to hearing the rest of what Blasey has to say and is reserving judgment until the end of the hearing. 

“It does take a lot of courage for people to come forth and talk about being victimized. I’ve represented people who have been accused of things that they didn’t do and that’s why I am listening,” he said, adding that he wants “more detail” on how Blasey got to the house where the event allegedly occurred and how she left.

He said he’s disappointed in and suspicious of his Democratic colleagues for how they have presented information.

― Nina Golgowski and Igor Bobic

1:25 p.m. ET

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), speaking to reporters during the break, said he is not convinced from Blasey’s testimony and that her “hiring a lawyer and taking a polygraph makes me more suspicious.”

Later, he seemed to dismiss a woman who said she had been raped.

― Nina Golgowski 

12:45 p.m. ET 

The hearing is taking a 30-minute break for lunch.

― Nina Golgowski

12:44 p.m. ET

When asked why the polygraph test had happened at a hotel, Blasey said she “had just left my grandmother’s funeral.”

 ― Saba Hamedy 

12:44 p.m. ET

Blasey, speaking of her experience taking the polygraph test, said she was “scared of the test itself but was comfortable that I could tell the information and the test would reveal whatever it was going to reveal.”

She said she was never given tips on how to take the test.

― Nina Golgowski

12:37 p.m. ET 

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) echoed other Democratic senators in thanking Blasey for her courage.

“I believe you,” he said. “You have given American an amazing teaching moment. You may have other moments in the classroom but you have inspired and you have enlightened America.”

Blumenthal cited Blasey’s polygraph test, as as well as her request for an FBI investigation and other witnesses to testify, as reasons behind his belief in her.

“But also you have been very honest about what you cannot remember and someone composing a story can make it all come together in a seamless way but someone who is honest ... is also candid about what she or he cannot remember as well,” he said.

Blumenthal also asked Blasey whether she would like Mark Judge to testify before the committee.

“That would be my preference,” Blasey replied. She reiterated that knowing when Judge worked at a local Safeway, where she saw him working a few weeks after the incident, would help her narrow down the date.

― Saba Hamedy, Nina Golgowski and Sara Boboltz

12:28 p.m. ET 

Blasey told Grassley “it wasn’t clear” to her that the chairman had offered to fly committee members to California to hear her testimony, as he stated earlier in the hearing. She told Grassley she sincerely appreciated the offer.

“I would have happily hosted you,” Blasey said.

― Sara Boboltz

12:27 p.m. ET 

Asked by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) to respond to the excuse “boys will be boys,” Blasey said: “I think the younger you are when these things happen, it could possibly have worse impact than when you’re brain is fully developed and you have better coping skills that you’ve developed.”

― Nina Golgowski

12:23 p.m. ET 

12:21 p.m. ET

Mitchell asked Blasey a string of questions about her fear of flying. The questions seemed to be focused on the severity of the fear and Blasey’s anxiety, as Mitchell pointed out that Blasey had traveled on airplanes to visit family, go on vacation vacation and appear at the committee hearing.

Blasey has said the sexual assault has “drastically altered” her life and sparked a lifelong struggle with anxiety. Mitchell’s line of questioning appeared to attempt to cast doubt on that claim. 

― Sara Boboltz

12:19 p.m. ET 

Mitchell asked Blasey to describe why and when she had approached certain people with her story.

“I was panicking because I knew the timeline was short for the decision and people were giving me advice on the beach, people who don’t know about the processes and many people told me you need to hire a lawyer,” Blasey said. “I didn’t understand why I would need a lawyer. Somebody said [to] call The New York Times, call the Washington Post. Go to your congressperson. When I weighed those options, [my choice] was to try to do the civic route, which was go to my congressperson. And I also put in the anonymous tip to the Washington Post. Unfortunately, neither got back to me before the selection of the nominee.”

― Saba Hamedy

12:13 p.m. ET

When asked by Mitchell what she hasn’t forgotten about the incident, Blasey answered: “The stairwell, the living room, the bedroom, the bed on the right side of the room as you walk inside the room ... the bathroom in close proximity, the laughter, the uproarious laughter and the multiple attempts to escape and the final ability to do so.”

― Nina Golgowski

12:07 p.m. ET 

Mitchell questioned whether the Kavanaugh incident directly caused Blasey’s anxiety issues or if it was one of many contributing factors. Blasey acknowledged that there may have been other risk factors that contributed to her anxiety, saying there may have been a biological predisposition to it, but said she couldn’t think of another environmental risk factor ― “certainly nothing as striking as that event,” she said.

― Nina Golgowski

11:59 a.m. ET 

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) lamented the lack of a FBI investigation, apologizing to Blasey that her request for one hadn’t been fulfilled.

“Never in the history of background investigations has an investigation not been pursued when new, credible, derogatory information was brought forward about the nominee or the candidate,” he said. “In my view it’s a grave disservice to you. ... I will make a personal pledge to you here, however long it takes, whenever it’s possible I will do whatever’s in my power to make sure your claims get a full and proper investigation.”

― Saba Hamedy

11:57 a.m. ET 

Mitchell asked how Blasey had narrowed down the date of the incident. She said she was able to say it occurred in the summer of 1982 based on when she obtained her driver’s license, but that it would be helpful if she knew when Mark Judge worked at the Potomac Safeway because she saw him working there a few weeks after the incident. 

― Sara Boboltz

11:48 a.m. ET

The hearing has resumed with questioning by Mitchell.

― Nina Golgowski

11:32 a.m. ET

The hearing is taking a 15-minute break.

― Nina Golgowski

11:31 a.m. ET 

11:31 a.m. ET 

Durbin praised Blasey’s bravery to come forward and acknowledged that she is not expected to remember everything that happened to her.

“A polished liar can create a seamless story, but a trauma survivor cannot be expected to remember every painful detail,” he said. 

― Nina Golgowski

11:28 a.m. ET 

“Dr. Ford, with what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?” asked Durbin.

“100 percent,” Blasey said.

― Sara Boboltz

11:26 a.m. ET 

“Mark Judge should be subpoenaed from his Bethany Beach hideaway” and testify before committee, said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). 

He also echoed Leahy in thanking Blasey for her courage in coming forward. 

“You had absolutely nothing to gain by bringing these facts to the Senate Judiciary Committee,” he said.

― Saba Hamedy

11:18 a.m. ET 

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) asked Blasey what she couldn’t forget about her sexual assault.

“Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter,” Blasey said. “The uproarious laughter between the two [Kavanaugh and Mark Judge] and their having fun at my expense.”

― Jenna Amatulli

11:17 a.m. ET 

Mitchell asked Blasey to confirm details of her story. 

She asked whether Blasey drank before arriving or was taking any medications. Blasey said no.

Mitchell then inquired about the atmosphere at the house where she was assaulted. Blasey once again said it was clear that Kavanaugh and Judge were drinking before they got there. She said the room was “sparsely furnished” and “fairly modern.” The scene was less of a “party” than a casual gathering that she assumed would lead to a party. It wasn’t very loud.

― Sara Boboltz

11:14 a.m. ET 

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), ahead of his questioning, said he has been inspired by Blasey’s courage.

“You sharing your story is going to have a lasting, positive impact on so many survivors in our country,” he said. “We owe you a debt of gratitude. Thank you.”

― Nina Golgowski

11:10 a.m. ET

Feinstein asked Blasey to say how she knows it was Kavanaugh who pushed her into a room.

“The same way I know I’m talking to you right now,” Blasey said. “Basic memory functions.”

“What you are telling us is that this could not be a case of mistaken identity,” Feinstein pressed.

“Absolutely not,” Blasey answered.

― Nina Golgowski

11:06 a.m. ET

Feinstein asked Blasey why she had kept relatively quiet about the assault for so long. Blasey described the issues she has faced since the assault, including the claustrophobia that prompted her to push for a second front door to her family’s home as they remodeled it. She said she suffered academically in the years directly following the assault and had difficulty making friends, particularly male friends.

Blasey stated unequivocally that her accusation against Kavanaugh could not be a case of mistaken identity.

― Sara Boboltz

11:03 a.m. ET

Grassley interrupted Mitchell’s questioning of Blasey to allow Feinstein to begin asking questions.

― Nina Golgowski

11:02 a.m. ET

10:58 a.m. ET 

Mitchell begins her questioning.

“The first thing that struck me from your statement this morning is you were terrified,” she said. “I’m very sorry. That’s not right. I know this is stressful.”

— Saba Hamedy

10:58 a.m. ET 

10:57 a.m. ET 

Blasey’s testimony is playing on televisions at the White House, according to Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Jacobs.

― Sara Boboltz

10:56 a.m. ET 

In addition to having to relive her trauma publicly, Blasey said she and her family have been the target of “constant harassment and death threats” and have been called “the most vile and hateful names imaginable.” She said her personal information has been posted online, her work email has been hacked, and her family has been forced to move to various secure locales with guards.

― Nina Golgowski

10:55 a.m. ET 

10:54 a.m. ET 

Blasey said her “greatest fears have been realized” since coming forward with her allegation against Kavanaugh. 

“I’ve had to relive this trauma in front of the world, and I have seen my life picked apart on television, on Twitter, on other media, and in this body,” she said. “I have been accused of partisan political motives. Those who say that don’t know me. I’m an independent person. I’m no one’s pawn. My motivation in coming forward was to be helpful. ... My responsibility is to tell you the truth.”

― Saba Hamedy

10:50 a.m. ET

“Brett’s assault on me drastically altered my life,” Blasey said. She explained that she did not want to tell her parents that she had been “drinking beer with boys” at a party without adult supervision. She said she told very few friends over the years about having been assaulted.

Blasey said she was compelled to recount the assault while at couple’s counseling in May 2012 because it had interfered with an extensive remodel of the family’s home. Blasey insisted on adding a second front door, which her husband could not understand until she described her memory of being locked in a bedroom and assaulted.

She then recalled the slow process of telling other people close to her about the assault as Kavanaugh emerged as a potential Supreme Court nominee.

― Sara Boboltz

10:41 a.m. ET

In Blasey’s opening statements, she said she was “terrified” of giving her testimony.

Blasey said she met Kavanaugh through friends and that they sometimes attended the same parties, although they did not know each other well.

“It was almost surely a spur-of-the-moment gathering,” Blasey said of the party where she says she was assaulted. “The details about that party that bring me here today are ones I will never forget.”

― Sara Boboltz

10:40 a.m. ET

Blasey beings to tear up as she delivers her prepared remarks on the night of the alleged assault.

You can read her full statement here.

― Alana Horowitz Satlin

10:34 a.m. ET 

Feinstein concluded by saying, “This is not a trial of Dr. Ford, it’s a job interview for Judge Kavanaugh. ... Is he the best we can do?”

The senator reviewed the allegations made by Debbie Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, along with statements from women who say they knew Kavanaugh at Yale University and that he drank much more heavily at that time than he has claimed.

Ramirez told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh thrust his penis in her face at a party in the 1980s. Swetnick says Kavanaugh attended parties where women were sexually assaulted, but did not accuse the nominee himself of assault.

Grassley previously said that his staff made eight requests for evidence from attorneys for Ramirez and six requests for evidence from attorneys from Swetnick but that the attorneys did not make their clients available.

― Nina Golgowski and Sara Boboltz

10:31 a.m. ET 

Feinstein slammed the Senate Judiciary Committee for failing to subpoena Mark Judge, a friend of Kavanaugh who Blasey says was in the room during the alleged sexual assault. Blasey says she was pinned on a bed beneath Kavanaugh but escaped when Judge jumped on top of them.

― Sara Boboltz

10:29 a.m. ET 

“I’m here because I believe her,” said Meghan Foley, one of the demonstrators.

― Igor Bobic

10:27 a.m. ET

Feinstein said the FBI investigated Anita Hill’s allegations against Clarence Thomas and called the agency’s involvement a “normal process and squarely within its jurisdiction.”

― Nina Golgowski

10:23 a.m. ET

Feinstein responded to Grassley’s criticism by saying she withheld the letter at Blasey’s request.

“Yes, I did receive a letter from Dr. Ford ... The next day I called Dr. Ford,” she said. “We spoke on the phone. She reiterated that she wanted this held confidential, and I held it confidential up to a point where the witness was willing to come forward. I think as I make my remarks perhaps you’ll see why. How women are treated in the United States with this kind of concern is really wanting a lot of reform.”

Feinstein went on to thank Blasey for sharing her story.

― Saba Hamedy

10:22 a.m. ET 

Grassley further downplayed requests for the FBI to investigate the Kavanaugh allegations by quoting then-Sen. Joe Biden’s remarks during the 1991 hearing for Clarence Thomas, who was a Supreme Court nominee at the time. Biden was quoted as saying, “The next person who refers to an FBI report as being worth anything obviously doesn’t understand anything.” Biden was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee when Thomas was accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill.

― Nina Golgowski

10:18 a.m. ET

Grassley pointed to the FBI’s background check on Kavanaugh, saying nowhere in the report was there a “whiff” of inappropriate sexual behavior. He then emphasized that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, was aware of Blasey’s allegation against Kavanaugh but chose not to question him about it during the judge’s original hearings earlier this month. He said Feinstein revealed her “secret evidence” in the “eleventh hour.”

The chairman also addressed calls for the FBI to reopen its background investigation on Kavanaugh, saying that doing so would not be of much help.

― Sara Boboltz

10:09 a.m. ET

Grassley apologized to Blasey and Kavanaugh for the harassment and threats they and their families have endured over last few weeks.

“Both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh have been through a terrible couple of weeks,” he said, kicking off the hearing. “What they have endured ought to be considered by all of us as unacceptable and a poor reflection on the state of civility on the state of democracy. I want to apologize to you both.”

― Saba Hamedy

10:05 a.m. ET 

Blasey has sat down before the committee with her attorney, and Grassley has gaveled-in the hearing.

— Sara Boboltz

9:53 a.m. ET 

More than 50 progressive groups wrote to Grassley on Thursday, asking him to resign as chair of the Judiciary Committee over his treatment of Blasey.

“You have publicly bullied a woman who has stepped forward to report allegations of sexual assault,” reads the letter, endorsed by groups including Progress Iowa and MoveOn. “You and your staff had knowledge of the allegation prior to it becoming public, and prepared a defense for the nominee while expeditiously moving through the nomination process with the hope it would never be uncovered.”

Grassley is probably not going to resign because a bunch of progressive groups want him to, but hey, points for trying. Read the full letter here

― Jen Bendery

9:42 a.m. ET

Actress Alyssa Milano is among those attending the hearing, reportedly as a guest of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). She told reporters that she wants to show support for Blasey.

― Nina Golgowski

9:40 a.m. ET

Deborah Ramirez, who became the second person to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, sent Blasey a positive message on Thursday.

“Thinking of you today, Christine,” she said in a message tweeted by her lawyer John Clune. “They want us to feel alone and isolated but I’m there wrapping my arms around you and I hope you feel the people of this nation wrapping their arms around all of us. Holding you up in spirit.” 

― Saba Hamedy

9:35 a.m. ET 

Reporters have been told Christine Blasey Ford has arrived on the Hill.

― Paige Lavender

9:30 a.m. ET

People are lining up to witness history. TPM’s Cameron Joseph captured the long line outside of the overflow room.

― Paige Lavender 

9:25 a.m. ET

You can read Kavanaugh’s prepared testimony on the accusations against him here; you can read Blasey’s prepared testimony here

Both released their written statements Wednesday. 

Paige Lavender

9:05 a.m. ET

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