A Running List of Senators' Comments on Christine Blasey Ford's Allegation

Democratic women in the Senate have spoken out to say they stand by Brett Kavanaugh's accuser, while Republican men have been her biggest detractors.

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Sep 19 2018, 6:20pm

Aaron P. Bernstein for Getty Images

Christine Blasey Ford knew bringing sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh would mean giving herself over to intense scrutiny, particularly from the senators who will ultimately decide whether the federal judge is worthy of being confirmed to the Supreme Court bench.

This is why she'd intended to remain anonymous, conveying her account of assault by Kavanaugh in a letter she sent to Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Diane Feinstein, who forwarded it to the FBI. But Ford's lawyer, Debra Katz, said her client was more or less forced to come forward publicly when her decision to remain unnamed was "essentially taken away from her as those allegations were leaked."

Ford's allegations against Kavanaugh were revealed in a New Yorker story last week where, keeping Ford anonymous, writers Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer detail her accusations of Kavanaugh holding her down and attempting to force himself onto her at a high school party more than three decades ago.

Since the allegations became public—and since Ford's name became attached to them—a number of senators have spoken out with words of support for Ford. Her detractors, however, have been just as vocal in suggesting she's lying or "confused" about the allegations; others argue that Kavanaugh is still a man of upstanding character who deserves to be confirmed to the highest court in the country, even if what Ford says is true.

Here's a running list of the senators who have commented on Christine Blasey Ford's allegations:

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D)

Gillibrand has long been at the helm of the #MeToo movement on Capitol Hill, most notably for her role in leading calls for former Minnesota Senator Al Franken to step down when he became embroiled in his own sexual misconduct allegations. (It's worth noting that had Franken not resigned his post, he would've been sitting on the Senate Judiciary Committee, questioning Kavanaugh.)

Gillibrand offered words of support to Ford during a Tuesday interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes, telling him simply: "I believe Kavanaugh's accuser."

"I think this should affect every senator's view on Judge Kavanaugh," Gillibrand said. "I'm hopeful the Senate will at least have some measure of review, maybe a hearing, some measure of analysis of this accusation, and have some measure of clarity on whether this is disqualifying. I believe it is disqualifying, given what we know."

California Senator Kamala Harris (D)

Harris has also been unequivocal in her belief that Ford is telling the truth, pointing out that Ford—who moved out of her home this week after an onslaught of death threats—has nothing to gain from coming forward with these allegations.

"I believe her," Harris told CBS in a Tuesday interview. "Listen, first of all, anybody who comes forward at this point to be prepared to testify in the United States Senate against someone who's being nominated to one of the most powerful positions in the united States government, that takes an extraordinary amount of courage.

"She's doing it, I believe, because she knows that this is an important matter," Harris continued. "It's a serious matter. And she has the courage to come forward. She has nothing to gain. What does she have to gain?"

California Senator Dianne Feinstein (D)

Feinstein has come under fire from both sides for her handling of the initial letter she received from Ford: While Democrats wonder why Feinstein didn't question Kavanaugh about the allegations during his Senate confirmation hearings, President Donald Trump has accused her for deliberately keeping the accusations to herself so that she could bring them to light at a more politically opportune time.

Nonetheless, Feinstein has emphasized her support for Ford and called on her Senate colleagues to honor Ford's wishes to delay the Monday's hearing, where Ford is supposed testify before the judiciary committee.

"The decision to come forward or not come forward has always been Christine Blasey Ford’s, and that includes her participation in a hearing," Feinstein wrote on Twitter. "During every step of this process, I’ve found every single piece of information from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford eminently credible, sincere and believable. She knew this would have a huge effect on her life and she was incredibly brave to come forward."

Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono (D)

Hirono is raising hell over the allegations against Kavanaugh, and Republicans' treatment of Ford.

On Tuesday, she took the mic at a news conference to tell her male colleagues—and all men—to "shut up and step up," and "do the right thing for once" in addressing Ford's accusations.

During an interview with CNN the next morning, she made clear that she believes Ford and that she thinks it's unfair to ask Ford to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee before an FBI investigation into her claims.

"Not only do these women need to be heard, they need to be believed," Hirono said Wednesday. "And you know what, we’re setting up on Monday a situation where there’s not even a modicum of fairness extended to her through an appropriate FBI investigation so there can be at least some attempt at corroboration.

"She’s not even going to get that and now she’s being faulted for not coming forward?" Hirono added. "Give me a break here."

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (D)

Warren weighed in on Ford's allegations on Tuesday, both to affirm Ford and to cast doubt on Kavanaugh's character.

Warren tweeted out a video clip from a 2015 speech Kavanaugh gave at the Catholic University's Columbus School of Law in Washington, where he says, of the high school he and Ford attended: "What happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep."

"I can't imagine any parent accepting this view," Warren wrote. "Is this really what America wants in its next Supreme Court Justice?"

On Monday,
she'd tweeted: "Christine Blasey Ford is brave, deserves to be heard, and treated with respect as she raises new questions about Brett Kavanaugh. No votes until that happens."

Iowa Senator Orrin Hatch (R)

Hatch, the longest sitting Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee—who also questioned Anita Hill during her 1991 hearings—has been one of Kavanaugh's most vocal defenders.

Hatch has said that Ford must be "confused" or "mixed up" about her encounter with Kavanaugh in high school, and has argued that even if her allegations were "true" they shouldn't have any bearing on senators' decision to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

"The judge, who I know very, very well, is an honest man, said this didn’t happen," Hatch said. "If that was true, I think it would be hard for senators to not consider who the judge is today, That’s the issue. Is this judge a really good man? And he is. And by any measure he is."

Texas Senator John Cornyn (R)

Like Hatch, Cornyn, the Senate Majority Whip, has suggested that Ford may not be remembering her encounter with Kavanaugh correctly, arguing there are "gaps" in her recollection.

"We don’t know what happened 36 years ago, and there are gaps in her memory,” Cornyn told reporters on Tuesday, according to Vox. “She doesn’t know how she got there, when it was, and so that would logically be something where she would get questioned.”

He also intimated that it's too late to investigate Ford's accusations against Kavanaugh because of the statute of limitations on misdemeanor assault.

"The question is 36 years after the alleged incident," Cornyn told Politico. This is why, in criminal cases, we have statute of limitations. You’re simply not going to have enough witnesses or documents or other evidence to be able to, I think, reach a conclusive decision about the allegations.”

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (R)

Graham, another Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released a statement earlier this week saying that he's open to hearing Ford's testimony, but has already expressed doubts over some of her claims.

"I don’t know when she took the polygraph," Graham later said, referring to a lie detector test Ford's lawyer says was administered to her by an FBI agent. "I don’t know who paid for it. I don’t know when she hired the lawyer.

"But if you didn’t want to go public why are you buying a polygraph and why are you hiring a lawyer?" he added. "All those things will come out.”