The main test for Dr. Blasey was whether she could appear credible before the senators, especially Republicans who have suggested that she is suffering from a case of mistaken identity — or that she has partisan motives.
She addressed the latter issue directly.
“I have been accused of acting out of partisan political motives,” she said. “Those who say that do not know me. I am a fiercely independent person, and I am no one’s pawn. My motivation in coming forward was to provide the facts about how Mr. Kavanaugh’s actions have damaged my life, so that you can take that into serious consideration as you make your decision about how to proceed.”
She also poked holes in the mistaken identity theory when she described how she and Judge Kavanaugh met when their social circles intersected. She remembered his friends, including Mark Judge, who she said was in the room, while practicing swimming and diving at Columbia Country Club in suburban Maryland.
“This is how I met Brett Kavanaugh, the boy who eventually assaulted me,” she said.
Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, when asked if he found Dr. Blasey credible, answered: “Let me suggest this. I know that we’ve got to take what she says very seriously.”
— Sheryl Gay Stolberg
Here are some of the standout quotes from the hearings
Senator Lindsey Graham:
“To my Republican colleagues, if you vote no, you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics.”
“I hate to say it because these have been my friends. But let me tell you, when it comes to this, you’re looking for a fair process, you came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend.”
“If this is the new norm, you better watch out for your nominees.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal:
“If we agree on nothing else today, I hope on a bipartisan basis we can agree on how much courage it has taken for you to come forward.”
Christine Blasey Ford:
“Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter — the uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
“I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.”
“It was hard for me to breathe and I believed that Brett was going to accidentally kill me.”
“I remember being on the street and feeling an enormous sense of relief that I escaped that house and that Brett and Mark were not coming outside after me.”
Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh:
“Such grotesque and obvious character assassination — if allowed to succeed — will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from serving our country.”
“This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups. This is a circus. The consequences will extend long past my nomination. The consequences will be with us for decades.”
“I’m not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person, in some place, at some time, but I have never done that to her or to anyone.”
“I ask you to judge me by the standard that you would want applied to your father, your husband, your brother or your son.”
— Emily Baumgaertner
Gone is the tone of contrition
In stark contrast to his subdued appearance this week on Fox News and contrite testimony released on Wednesday, Judge Kavanaugh was sharp and emotional — fulfilling a wish of Mr. Trump, who felt he was too robotic on television. He addressed directly the portrait Dr. Blasey painted of him as a drunken young man who tried to rape her and muffled her screams as she pleaded for help.
“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.” Behaving like the lawyer he is, Judge Kavanaugh cited evidence — the testimony of other witnesses who said they have no memory of the assault, and his own “very precise” calendars from the summer of 1982 — in an effort to prove that he was never at a party with Dr. Blasey, and that the assault never happened.