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Christine Blasey Ford Testifies on Kavanaugh Allegations. Aired 12:30-1p ET
Aired September 27, 2018 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[12:30:00] CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, KAVANAUGH ACCUSER: I was interviewing lawyers during that period of time, sitting in the car in the driveway and in the Walgreens parking lot in Rehoboth, Delaware. And I'm trying to figure out how the whole system works of interviewing lawyers and how to pick one, et cetera, so.
RACHEL MITCHELL, STAFF COUNSEL: You testified earlier that you had -- you didn't see the need for lawyers. And now, you're trying to hire them. What made you change your mind?
FORD: It seemed like most of the individuals that I had told, which didn't -- the -- the total number -- the total was not very high. But those persons advised me to, at this point, get a lawyer for advice about whether to push forward or to stay back.
MITCHELL: Did that include Congresswoman Eshoo and Senator Feinstein?
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, R-IA: I want to thank Dr. Ford for what you said about acknowledging that we had said we'd come to California.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CT.: Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
I want to join in thanking you for being here today. And just tell you I have found your testimony powerful, incredible and I believe you. You're a teacher, correct?
BLUMENTHAL: Well, you have given America an amazing teaching moment, and you may have other moments in the classroom, but you have inspired and you have enlightened America. You have inspired and given courage to women to come forward, as they have done to every one of our offices and many other public places. You have inspired and you have enlightened men in America to listen respectfully to women survivors, and men who have survived sexual attack, and that is a profound public service, regardless of what happens with this nomination. And so the teachers of America, the people of America should be really proud of what you have done. Let me tell you why I believe you: not only because of the prior consistent statements and the polygraph tests and your request for an FBI investigation and your urging that this committee hear from other witnesses who could corroborate or dispute your story, but also, you have been very honest about what you cannot remember. And someone composing a story can make it all come together in a seamless way, but someone who is honest -- I speak from my experience as a prosecutor, as well -- is also candid about what she or he cannot remember.
The senators on the other side of the aisle have been silent. This procedure is unprecedented in a confirmation hearing. But I want to quote one of my colleagues, Senator Lindsey Graham, in a book that he wrote in 2015, when he was describing his own service, and very distinguished Naval service as a traveler.
(UNKNOWN): Air Force, Air Force.
BLUMENTHAL: I'm not under oath.
(UNKNOWN): I don't want to be in the Navy (ph).
BLUMENTHAL: He said, quote, of his prosecutions of rape cases, "I learned how much unexpected courage from a deep and hidden place it takes for a rape victim or sexually abused child to testify against their assailant." I learned how much courage from a deep and hidden place it takes for a rape victim or sexually abused child to testify against their assailant. If we agree on nothing else today, I hope on a bipartisan basis, we can agree on how much courage it has taken for you to come forward, and I think you have earned America's gratitude.
[12:35:00] Now, there's been some talk about your requesting an FBI investigation, and you mentioned a point just a few minutes ago that you could better-estimate the time that you ran into Mark Judge if you knew the time that he was working at that supermarket. That's a fact that could be uncovered by an FBI investigation that would help further elucidate your account. Would you like Mark Judge to be interviewed in connection with the background investigation and the serious credible allegations that you've made?
FORD: That would be my preference. I'm not sure it's really up to me, but I certainly would feel like I could be more helpful to everyone if I knew the date that he worked at the Safeway so that I could give a better -- a more specific date of the assault.
BLUMENTHAL: Well, it's not up to you. It's up to the president of the United States, and his failure to ask for an FBI investigation, in my view, is tantamount to a cover-up.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
GRASSLEY: Now it's time for Senator Flake. Ms. Mitchell for Senator Flake.
MITCHELL: Thank you. And we've heard this morning several times that you did take a polygraph, and that was on August the 7th. Is that right?
FORD: I believe so. It was the day I was flying from BWI to Manchester, New Hampshire.
MITCHELL: OK. Why did you decide to take a polygraph?
FORD: I -- I didn't see any reason not to do it.
MITCHELL: Were you advised to do that?
(UNKNOWN): Again, you're -- you're seeming to call for communications between counsel and client. I don't think you mean to do that. If you do, she shouldn't have to answer that.
GRASSLEY: Could -- what -- Counsel, could you let her answer the extent to which it doesn't violate the -- the relationship between you and Dr. Ford?
(UNKNOWN): Say what you understood.
FORD: Based on the advice of the counsel, I was happy to undergo the polygraph test, although I found it extremely stressful, much longer than I anticipated. I told my whole life story, I felt like, but I endured it. It was fine.
MITCHELL: I understand they can be that way.
Have you ever taken any other polygraphs in your life?
MITCHELL: OK. You went to see a gentleman by the name of Jeremiah Hanafin to serve as the polygrapher. Did anyone advise you on that choice?
FORD: Yes, I believe his name was Jerry.
MITCHELL: Jerry Hanafin.
MITCHELL: OK. Did anyone advise you on that choice?
FORD: I don't understand the -- the -- yeah, I didn't choose him myself. He was the person that came to do the polygraph test.
MITCHELL: OK. He actually conducted the polygraph, not in his office in Virginia, but actually, at the hotel next to Baltimore Washington Airport. Is that right?
MITCHELL: Why was that location chosen for the polygraph? FORD: I had left my grandmother's funeral at Fort Lincoln Cemetery that day, and was on tight schedule to get a plane to Manchester, New Hampshire, so he was willing to come to me, which was appreciated.
MITCHELL: So he administered a polygraph on the day that you attended your grandmother's funeral.
FORD: Yeah, correct.
FORD: Or it might have been the next day. I spent the night in a hotel, so (inaudible) the exact day.
MITCHELL: Have you ever had discussions with anyone, beside your attorneys, on how to take a polygraph?
MITCHELL: And I don't just mean countermeasures, but I mean just any sort of tips, or anything like that.
FORD: No. I was scared of the test itself, but was comfortable that I could tell the information, and the test would reveal whatever it was going to reveal. I didn't expect it to be as long as it was going to be, so it was a little bit stressful.
[12:40:00] MITCHELL: Had -- have you ever given tips or advice to somebody who was looking to take a polygraph test?
MITCHELL: OK. Did you pay for the polygraph yourself?
FORD: I don't -- I don't -- I don't think so.
MITCHELL: OK. Do you know who did pay for the polygraph?
FORD: Not yet, so.
MITCHELL: Did -- you -- you have the hand-written statement that you wrote out. Did anyone assist you in writing that statement?
FORD: No, but you can tell how anxious I was by the terrible handwriting.
MITCHELL: Did you -- we -- we touched on it earlier. Did you know that the committee has requested the -- not only the charts from the polygraph test, but also any audio or video recording of the polygraph test?
MITCHELL: Were you audio- and video-recorded when you were taking that test? FORD: OK, so I remember being hooked up to a machine, like, be -- being placed onto my body, and being asked a lot of questions, and crying a lot. That's my primary memory of that test. I don't know -- I know he took laborious detail into explaining what he was going to be doing, but I was just focused on kind of what I was going to say, and my fear about that. I wasn't listening to every detail about the -- what -- whether it was audio- or video-recorded.
MITCHELL: Well, you were in a hotel room, right?
MITCHELL: A regular hotel room with a bed and bathroom?
FORD: No, no, no. It was a conference room.
FORD: So I was sitting at a chair, and he was behind me.
MITCHELL: Did you note any cameras in the room?
FORD: Well, he had a computer set up, so I guess I assumed that he was somehow taping and recording me.
MITCHELL: OK. So you assumed you were being video- and audio-recorded.
MITCHELL: But you don't know for sure.
FORD: I don't know for sure.
MITCHELL: OK, thank you.
GRASSLEY: We're going to recess now for a half hour for lunch. Thank you, Dr. Ford.
FORD: We're going to keep going for (inaudible)
FEINSTEIN: So 10 minutes after one, we're going to...
GRASSLEY: Yeah, roughly. Yeah.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, this hearing has been going on now for, Jake, for almost three hours. She comes across very credible. She's answering all of the questions. It's unclear at least to me what the special outside counsel is driving at right now in her questioning, but clearly she's got some motive.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: If I had to guess, I would suggest that Ms. Mitchell, the prosecutor is trying to suggest that there are political motives going on here. She asked Professor Blasey Ford why she didn't reach out to a Republican. Of course being from Palo Alto, she isn't represented by very many Republicans if any.
She seems to be suggesting that her claim or her lawyer's claim that she -- it was an issue for her to fly to Washington. That that phobia is overstated giving the fact that she does fly for other things such a family trips and also some of her hobbies. She explained that she doesn't like to fly but she does do it when she has to do it.
I think that that is what she's driving and trying to undermine her credibility, Professor Ford's credibility and also suggesting that there are Democrats who were conspiring here. I don't know that she is succeeding in building this case, but I do think that that's what she is trying to accomplish.
I do have to say, first of all, I'm hearing from a lot of people on social media, a lot of survivors of sexual assault, sexual harassment and people who are watching this and they are responding to it very emotionally. And I think the cross-examination process is a difficult one for a lot of these people to watch, whether or not you believe Brett Kavanaugh or Christine Blasey Ford because it's difficult to see.
It's difficult to watch somebody who has a credible story of being victimized, being attack and having her credibility questioned that of course is part of the process, but it's difficult and it's a thankless task frankly for Ms. Mitchell, the prosecutor.
BLITZER: And Gloria, you noticed that she started crying when she was being questioned by Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut. And I go back to her opening statement when she says I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified.
GLORIA BORGER, CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think she has been terrified throughout this entire process. Not of the Democrats who are doing their best to compliment her and making sure she feels OK. But the interesting thing to me that Blumenthal did was ask about Mark Judge and ask the question of sort of, would you like Mark Judge -- would you like his response?
[12:45:00] TAPPER: His testimony. Yes.
BORGER: His testimony. And she said, you know, it could be helpful because he might have a memory and I might have a memory. So she didn't -- you know, she said, look, I'd like everyone to testify truthfully under oath because I'm telling the truth. And so sure, I really would like Mark Judge who in her telling of the story was a co- conspirator in all of this but yet she wants him there.
TAPPER: And this, Ariane de Vogue, this is one of the questions that Republicans have a difficult time answering with any specificity is, why not have the FBI investigate this if we're trying to get to the bottom of it. We have one person making charges and another person denying them. There are witnesses, there are individuals who were there that night, there are individuals who were part of that scene at the time. Why not have an FBI investigation? The argument, well, he's already had six background checks, does not really do it when you get down to it.
ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Well -- and Senator Grassley in the beginning made a separation of powers argument. He said, this is what we do, we're going to investigate it and the White House would have to do it but we can do this investigation ourselves. And so they started, right? They had that investigation, they called in Kavanaugh, but the Democrats said we're not taking part of that. We're not going to do anything with that. So that sort of fell flat.
And again, the fact is that Mark Judge did issue a statement saying I don't remember the party and -- but that's not what she's getting at. She said, OK, you don't remember the party but if you came forward, there are some things that you have that could help this along. And so, you know, it's going to be up to Mark Judge to be able to come back and answer to that.
TAPPER: And the thing is, Republicans, Jeffrey Toobin, Republicans don't want Mark Judge to testify for any number of reasons. One of which is they don't want Mark Judge who is a Washington, D.C. character, who has written about his struggles with alcohol, how much he drink in high school, had a fictitious character named Bart O'Kavanaugh in that book. They don't want him talking. He's a horrible character witness.
He's A horrible character witness and he's a horrible witness. I mean, he's just a horrible witness -- I mean, you know, the idea that -- I mean, it's pretty remarkable when you consider the -- you know, one of the real issues here is, was Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge, were they blind drunk the night of this assault? You have one of them having written not one, but two books about being a drunken high school student. How many people right books about being a drunken high school student? I mean, it's pretty unusual yet one of them is.
And, you know, it just underlines how badly this has all gone for the Kavanaugh side in this hearing so far. I mean, I just -- if we could dwell for a moment on just how ineffective this cross-examination has been, I mean, she's trying to turn this into CSI Chevy chase. And it's just -- I mean, what have they gotten out of it other than the fact the she doesn't like to fly, but she flies anyway. So what?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Can I just back that up for a second just with some reporting I'm getting on that --
TOOBIN: You know CSI Chevy chase.
BASH: Well, I haven't been on CSI Chevy chase yet, but I'm hoping for an invitation.
Look, the people that we're talking about that we have been talking to all morning who are the most important viewers of this, the jurors, if you will, those senators, the small number of them who are going to have to make up their mind, who are genuinely open- minded. This whole notion of, are you afraid of flying, did this affect you in a real way in trying to kind of chip away at her credibility on the notion of claustrophobia. For those senator, people like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who cares? It is so not relevant and that is what Republicans are harping on already on social media but it so is so missing the boat because at the heart of the question is, this woman and her story and whether or not she is telling the truth about what happened, not about the ramifications and the problems that it caused her down the road, I mean, that is really the key.
I agree with you that it's about also trying to show her as a pawn of the Democrats, but it's not going to fly. And also as we are watching this, I am getting texts, I'm sure we all are from Republican strategists just kind of saying that they're watching those key independent voters. Women in particular, but men, too slipping away the more and more they hear from --
TAPPER: Do you think that President Trump who is watching this we're told, is surprised at how credible Professor Blasey Ford is and upset that this process has come to here? We know he said the recollect day that he would have preferred that two weeks ago, they'd just have a vote and not let this happen even though of course he said the exact opposite two weeks ago. He said he wanted to let it play out and he wanted to hear from this woman.
Nia, do you think that he was repeating what he had been told to say by Kellyanne Conway and others, let's hear from the woman, she deserves to be heard, et cetera which he now obviously regrets based on what he said yesterday that this was his worst fear?
[12:50:04] NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: In some ways, yes. And the thing about this is, this is the first time I think the public has heard such a believable, credible, emotion, human story about a traumatizing experience. This woman said she experienced when she was 15. I mean, if you compare it to what he heard obviously from Anita Hill or even some of the Me Too voices and stories, I mean, this kind of concentrated story and what it's doing is it's encouraging other women to tell their stories. I have gotten text messages from some of my friends who've been watching this and telling the stories about things that happened to them. And these are quite frankly some of the stories that women have told (INAUDIBLE).
TAPPER: On one of the president's -- on the president's favorite channel we're told that one of the anchors said, Chris Wallace, came out today and said that two of his daughters came forward with stories about things that happened to them that she hadn't -- that they hadn't shared with him.
TAPPER: And though Lindsey Graham earlier this week, John, said, you know, Brett Kavanaugh is not Bill Cosby. Bill Cosby who just a few days ago was sentenced to three to 10 years prison for what he did and obviously the charges are very different, but this is part of a movement, this is part of a moment in our society where women, whether you believe their stories or not, are overwhelmingly coming forward and accusing people of bad behavior.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And without a doubt, as evidenced by all the incoming we're getting here and hearing from other people, Dr. Ford has opened a door to that. Professor Ford has opened the door to that.
More people using her courage whether you agree with her or disagree with her, that takes courage. Whether you believe her or don't believe her, that takes courage. And that's opening the door to a social-cultural conversation.
In the political environment, you mentioned Chris Wallace. The president tends to watch that network more than this network, we know that. He checks in on us from time to time. He's hearing the same conversation we're having here on that other network From Chris Wallace who says -- said this morning has been a disaster so far -- it's been a disaster for Brett Kavanaugh and the Republicans. Ted Baehr, another respected voice on Fox News had the same opinion.
So the question is, what does the president do? There are the social cultural movement and moment issues that I think 10 or 20 days or 10, 20 years from now are probably more important than this one specific Supreme Court seat, but in the politics of the moment, Republicans know they have a problem.
KING: Senator Susan Collins went to bed last night and woke up this morning saying, I want to hear from Mark Judge. Mitch McConnell's hope was, that after this testimony, she would say OK, never mind. Seriously?
JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Here's the thing. Brett Kavanaugh's interests were not represented at all. I mean, usually under the normal, you know, Republicans versus Democrats, the Republicans could have done some repair job. There is no repair being done. In fact that the slide is going completely (INAUDIBLE).
KING: That's all on Kavanaugh this afternoon.
BISKUPIC: So you guys have to wait and see, first of all, after lunch, will they do the same thing? I mean, they'll probably still have her because they won't be able to shift gears out of her, but somehow, they're going to have to figure out a way to have his interest represented for all (INAUDIBLE).
I think Lindsey Graham would probably like to do that, is probably champing at the bit to do that. Probably thinks this is a bad idea. And if she -- and if Rachel Mitchell was trying to portray her as a Democratic activist, you know, why'd you talk to Eshoo -- they're her -- you know, there -- she is from Palo Alto and also that now I heard from one Republican and I wrote it down, he texted me. He said Kavanaugh is going to need to have more than a calendar to clear himself.
BLITZER: You know, I don't know how Brett Kavanaugh, when he comes up and he testifies and delivers his statement, we have some excerpts of his statement, he's going to flatly denies it but it's going to be tough for him.
DE VOGUE: It's going to be tough. But one other thing that I think it's interesting, we've talked about her emotional aspect but at times, this is also -- we're seeing her expertise.
TAPPER: As a psychologist, yes.
DE VOGUE: So one side we have the emotional side and one side we have the expertise. And every once in a while, you see that Mitchell who is an expert on these things is talking with another expert. And a two experts on sexual violence talking with each other. And there's nothing about -- there's no senators talking about Kavanaugh or anything else. That's interesting.
BISKUPIC: Because clearly we're not prepared for either of these women to act the way they are. They didn't know what Ford was going to be like. I think they secretly thought maybe she wouldn't show up somehow. But not only that she showed up, she shows up with both her personal and professional credentials. And then they clearly did not anticipate the problem staggering, Rachel Mitchell --
KING: And the Hill is getting steeper for Judge Kavanaugh who deserves to be heard.
KING: But now he's in an untenable position in the sense that because of the way this is set up, they're trying to poke holes in her story, they're trying to say she's political. She's calling lawyers, you know, from her car in the parking lot of a store because she's afraid to talk to her parents because she's at the beach with her parents. Her humanity is coming through as well as her skills at everything else.
And again, you know, Brett Kavanaugh deserves a fair hearing, but this is getting harder for him by the minute.
BLITZER: You know, it's interesting that she is highly educated, Professor Ford. PhD in educational psychology from the University of Southern California, Masters degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University.
[12:55:07] She's got her regular degree in experimental psychology. She is a psychologist, she's an expert on the brain.
And at one point when she says on her testimony the details about that night that bring me here today are ones I will never forget. They have been seared into my memory and have haunted me episodically as an adult.
TAPPER: We're going to take a very quick break. Please stay with us. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: Welcome back to our live coverage of the Christine Blasey Ford's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The woman who accuses the Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her.
Professor Ford testified that she is 100 percent certain it was Kavanaugh who attacked her at a party when they were both teenagers. He was 17, she says, she was 15.