Trump says his past accusers influence his thinking on Kavanaugh

Kavanaugh-Ford hearing: A dramatic lesson on gender roles

One of the country's most popular Republican governors on Thursday called for an independent investigation into the allegations made against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and said the Senate should hold off on a vote.

He lashed out over the time it took the committee to convene the hearing after Ford's allegations emerged, singling out the Democrats for "unleashing" forces against him.

The letter was the first time Ford says she told anyone other than her husband and therapist that Kavanaugh was the man who allegedly sexually assaulted her in high school in the early 1980s. She said it was her attackers' laughs.

Kavanaugh concluded his opening remarks by swearing before the committee, "my family and God", that he denied Ford's allegations. "Just basic memory functions".

"People were responding to her very strongly", Jackson said, although he also cautioned that it measured posts on Twitter and Facebook and was not a representation of total public sentiment. She said he put his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams, and testified, "I believed he was going to rape me".

"The best way to do it is to have a trained interviewer talk to you one-on-one in a private setting, and to let you do the talking", she said. Judge has said does not recall the incident.

Collins and Murkowski have appeared to be the most outspoken Republican senators in seeking additional investigation into the allegations of inappropriate behavior that have surfaced against Kavanaugh in recent days.

In the end, Ms Mitchell herself seemed slightly exasperated by the format she was working under.

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.

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It was a powerful day in an intimate hearing room in a Senate office building, and while the accusations against Kavanaugh are criminal and both Kavanaugh and Ford would be breaking the law if they lied under oath, the central question was purely political: will Kavanaugh be confirmed to a lifetime appointment on the highest court in the nation?

Ford, who had never spoke in a similar setting before, began deliberately and mostly stuck to her written statement, setting out in some detail her allegations against Kavanaugh.

He broke down in tears at multiple points during his testimony, and alternately raged at the committee Democrats and the "disgrace" of the process. Echoing Ford, he said he was "100 percent certain" he did not commit the assault.

As Anita Hill did more two decades ago when she alleged sexual misconduct by Clarence Thomas, the mom of two testified before a committee with only male senators on the Republican side of the dais.

Before the Senate hearing on Thursday, Ford had never appeared on camera, and was only depicted in news media reports with a grainy photo lifted from the internet.

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.

"I will have to listen to the testimony before I make up my mind about the testimony", he said.

Should that fail and Kavanaugh be confirmed, it would amount, to a "devastating blow" - at least for now.

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