The Senate Judiciary Committee will follow through with a planned vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh Friday morning, several senators said Thursday after a long day of emotional testimony from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexual assault.
But by the time she finished detailing her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers, Ford was being widely praised as credible and courageous.
Her stunning claims are made on the eve of scheduled testimony before a Senate Committee by Kavanaugh and his first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.
As claims of sexual assault took center stage, Houston Area Women's Center Chief Program Officer Sonia Corrale said she hears from victims of abuse days, weeks, months or even years after incidents.
She cannot only relate to Ford's experience, the Yale graduate can also back up descriptions of the misogynistic culture at the elite university's DKE fraternity to which Brett Kavanaugh belonged to during his time at Yale. "Just basic memory functions". "I am an independent person", she said.
Mr Kavanaugh, now 53, has denied them all and awaited his own chance to give evidence later.
Before the witness could speak a word, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, and its ranking member, California Democratic Sen.
"And their having fun at my expense", Ford responded, adding, "They were laughing with each other".
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The psychology professor described what she says was a harrowing assault in the summer of 1982: How an inebriated Kavanaugh and another teen, Mark Judge, locked her in a room at a house party as Kavanaugh was grinding and groping her. Dianne Feinstein of California, asked how she could be sure that Kavanaugh was the attacker, Ford said, "The same way I'm sure I'm talking to you right now".
After the Republican conference meeting, a colleague of Collins, Murkowski, and Flake said the potential Kavanaugh defectors did not tip their hands. Rachel Mitchell, a veteran sex crimes prosecutor from Arizona who asked all questions for the committee's all-male GOP senators, seemed to elicit no significant inconsistencies in her testimony. Lindsay Graham after the South Carolina Republican railed against Democrats, accusing them of treating Kavanaugh "despicably".
Mitchell seemed to elicit criticism from all quarters with her questioning, with some saying she was too harsh and was on the Republicans' side while others suggested she was too soft on Ford. "I like beer", he said, but he also said he'd never passed out and never attacked Ford.
Later, she told Senator Dick Durbin that her certainty was "100%". She is now one of three women to have publicly accused the Judge of sexual assault or misconduct.
"If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could have come to us", Graham (R-SC) said, his voice shaking, as he addressed Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. After being repeatedly asked about the circumstances of the polygraph test - when she took it, where she took it, who had recommended the tester - Ford's lawyers interjected to say that they had paid for the test, "as is routine".
Republicans' margin for error in the full Senate is slim.
"The Democrats are playing this game that's disgraceful", Trump said on Wednesday.