Brett Kavanaugh's open hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee commenced on Thursday.
Christine Blasey Ford, the first of three women to lodge allegations of sexual assault and/or misconduct against Kavanaugh, began testifying at 10 a.m. Republican Senators called upon prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to lead the questioning, hoping to eschew what would have been an imbalanced dynamic if 11 male Senators were to freely question Ford, a female alleging sexual assault by a man. All senators retained the right to interject their own questioning.
During a testimony that lasted nearly four hours, Ford's answers were consistent with the graphic account she has previously released. Despite being "terrified" to testify, Ford's opening statement contained a detailed description of the assault, for which Mark Judge was allegedly present. "Brett's assault on me drastically altered my life," Ford avowed. In her opening statement, she tearfully recalled the incident at the source of the charges, detailing how Kavanaugh cornered her during a house party that the two attended in their high school years.
"The stairwell, the living room, the bedroom, the bed on the right side of the room — as you walk into the room, there was a bed to the right — the bathroom in close proximity, the laughter, the uproarious laughter, and the multiple attempts to escape and the final ability to do so."
Kavanaugh began testifying late Thursday afternoon. He gave an emotionally charged denial of all allegations, often answering a short, vehement, "No" in response to questioning. Kavanaugh also directed attention to the damaging effects these allegations have had on his life:
He lamented: "I love teaching law, but thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to teach again...I love coaching more than anything I've ever done in my whole life, but thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to coach again."
A resolute answer was given on the issue of how the committee plans to interfere with Judge Kavanaugh's appointment as the next Supreme Court Judge. Chuck Grassley, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, asserted to Kavanaugh that the hearing's purpose is not to suspend the confirmation process, as "This committee is running this hearing, not the White House, not Don McGahn, not even you as a nominee."
Questioning continued late into Thursday evening, with tensions running high as the GOP-appointed prosecutor fell silent as Kavanaugh parried with the GOP and Democratic Senators questioning him.