Kavanaugh Hearing Live Updates: Christine Blasey Ford Is Questioned

Senator Grassley tried to establish Judge Kavanaugh’s credibility, excoriating Democrats for bringing up the Blasey allegations at the last minute, and defending Republicans, who have refused to allow an F.B.I. inquiry into Dr. Blasey’s and other allegations.

He started by noting that Judge Kavanaugh has undergone six background checks in the past.

“Nowhere in any of these six F.B.I. reports, which committee investigators have reviewed on a bipartisan basis, was there whiff of any issue, any issue at all in anyway related to inappropriate sexual behavior,” Mr. Grassley said.

Ms. Feinstein delivered a blistering assessment of Judge Kavanaugh’s fitness for the Supreme Court, running through not just Dr. Blasey’s accusations but other accusations from other women. Mr. Grassley called those accusations unsubstantiated.

At the conclusion of her opening remarks, Senator Feinstein said that the issue for the Senate to decide is not just whether it is true that Judge Kavanaugh, as a teenager, sexually assaulted Dr. Blasey, but also whether Judge Kavanaugh is being honest today about his past behavior.

She noted that in recent days, Judge Kavanaugh has not just denied attacking Dr. Blasey, but has also denied that he ever drank so much as a young man that he could not remember what happened and that as a teenager he was mainly focused on school, basketball, service projects and going to church. She contrasted that with various accounts by his former associates and classmates that he was a heavy drinker as a young man and that his defensive portrayal of himself had gone too far and was not credible.

“We are here for one reason, to determine whether Judge Kavanaugh should be elevated to one of the most powerful positions in our country,” she said. “This is not a trial of Dr. Ford. It’s a job interview for Judge Kavanaugh. Is Brett Kavanaugh who we want on the most prestigious court in our country? Is he the best we can do?”

Even before Dr. Blasey had come forward, Democrats had attacked Judge Kavanaugh’s credibility, arguing that Bush White House emails had shown that he had misled the Senate when he came before it as an appeals court nominee in 2004 and 2006, in distancing himself from various Bush-era controversies including work on other disputed appeals court nominees and Senate Republican staffers’ then-secret infiltration of internal Democratic computer files to learn which nominees they were likely to try to block and with what tactics.

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