Kavanaugh, Ford testify in Senate Judiciary Committee hearing

WASHINGTON — Christine Blasey Ford aired her allegation of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh, and Kavanaugh will defend himself, as the nation continues to watch Thursday’s extraordinary Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee will attempt to convince majority Republicans to confirm him despite Ford’s allegation that he assaulted her as a teenager — and as other accusations of sexual misconduct emerge from Kavanaugh’s youth.

The hearing started at 7 a.m. PST. Ford testified first and will be followed by Kavanaugh.

Each senator will get five minutes to ask questions and can hand that duty off to another senator or a staffer. Republicans have hired Arizona sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to ask questions on their behalf.

READ: Opening statements from Ford, Kavanaugh ahead of hearing

In her written testimony submitted Wednesday, Ford pushed back against Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans who have cast her as part of a smear campaign intended to thwart Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

“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,” Ford said. “It is not my responsibility to determine whether Mr. Kavanaugh deserves to sit on the Supreme Court. My responsibility is to tell the truth.”

According to his prepared testimony, Kavanaugh plans to tell senators that he “said and did things in high school that make me cringe now” — but that he “never did anything remotely resembling what Dr. Ford describes.” Earlier this month, he told Judiciary Committee staffers he didn’t recall ever meeting Ford.

The Supreme Court nominee has been “incandescent” — as in extremely angry — according to one person involved in his preparation. For Kavanaugh, his supporters say, it’s not as much about a Supreme Court seat now but defending his name. He vehemently denies Ford’s allegations and says that perhaps she was sexually assaulted by someone in some place but it wasn’t him.

Thursday’s hearing comes as two other named individuals have levied allegations against Kavanaugh. Democrats are pushing committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to subpoena Mark Judge, the Kavanaugh friend who Ford says was in the room with him when she was assaulted.

Regarding other allegations — some of which have been anonymous — that have come to the committee since Ford came forward, Kavanaugh has called some of them “ridiculous,” his supporters tell CNN.