Fiery Kavanaugh denies quiet accuser Ford in Senate showdown WASHINGTON (AP) — In an emotional day like few others in Senate history, California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford quietly but firmly recounted her “100 percent”…
Fiery Kavanaugh denies quiet accuser Ford in Senate showdown
WASHINGTON (AP) — In an emotional day like few others in Senate history, California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford quietly but firmly recounted her “100 percent” certainty Thursday that President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court had sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers — and then Brett Kavanaugh defiantly testified he was “100 percent certain” he did no such thing.
That left senators to decide whether the long day tipped their confirmation votes for or against Trump’s nominee in a deeply partisan fight with the future of the high court and possibly control of Congress in the balance.
Showing their own certainty, Republicans quickly scheduled a recommendation vote for Friday morning in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where they hold n 11-10 majority. They’re hoping for a final Senate roll call next week, seating Kavanaugh on the court for the Oct. start of its new term.
In the committee’s packed hearing room for hour upon hour Thursday, both Kavanaugh and Ford said the alleged assault and the storm of controversy that has erupted 36 years later had altered their lives forever and for the worse — perhaps the only thing they agreed on during their separate testimony marked by a stark contrast of tone and substance.
Ford recounted for the senators and a nationwide TV audience her long-held secret of the alleged assault in a locked room at a gathering of friends when she was just 15. The memory — and Kavanaugh’s laughter during the act — was “locked” in her brain, she said. Ford delivered her testimony with deliberate certitude, though admitting gaps in her memory as she choked back tears at some points and said she “believed he was going to rape me.”
Trump shaken by Ford, but backs Kavanaugh after hearing
WASHINGTON (AP) — Glued to high-stakes testimony on his Supreme Court nominee, President Donald Trump and his allies were shaken by Christine Blasey Ford’s emotional appearance on Capitol Hill Thursday, but heartened by Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s forceful pushback against the woman who accused him of sexual misconduct.
Trump missed hardly a moment of the proceedings, relying on DVRs to keep up on the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday from his private office on Air Force One as he traveled from New York to Washington, and continued monitoring back at the White House, where Ford’s voice echoed from TVs around the building.
Within moments of the eight-hour proceedings concluding, Trump tweeted his approval of Kavanaugh’s performance and called on the Senate to move swiftly to a vote. “His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting,” Trump said. “Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!”
At a GOP fundraiser at his Washington hotel later Thursday, Trump described the hearing as “brutal” and “hard to watch” but praised Kavanaugh’s performance. He described Kavanaugh as a “great guy” and a “great man,” according to an attendee who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to describe Trump’s speech publicly.
Ford’s tearful recounting of allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school, led Trump to express sympathy for Kavanaugh and his family for having to listen to the testimony, according to two Republicans close to the White House but not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations. They added that Trump expressed some frustration at the process — and the staff work — that led Kavanaugh to this point.
1 hearing, 2 witnesses, but vastly different takeaways
It was one hearing with just two witnesses but, in an era of deep political polarization and yawning cultural divisions, Americans came away Thursday having heard very different things.
Millions of men and women listened to nervous-but-composed college professor Christine Blasey Ford tell the Senate Judiciary Committee she was “100 percent” certain that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually abused her as a teenager, and they lauded her courage in speaking out.
Millions of others saw a woman with a spotty memory who failed to prove Kavanaugh was her abuser, and believed the judge as he repeatedly choked up and vigorously defended himself. “The allegation of misconduct is completely inconsistent with the rest of my life,” he said.
Americans followed the hours of testimony and subsequent questions from their homes, in their cars, in offices and in classrooms. Wherever they were, though, it seemed most responded through the prism of their political bents and personal experiences. Few Americans interviewed by The Associated Press seemed to have had their minds changed by anything they heard.
Heather Lake of Omaha, a stay-at-home mother of four and registered Democrat, said she went into the hearings believing Ford and that the professor’s testimony only solidified her belief.
What Happened: Top takeaways from Kavanaugh, Ford hearing
WASHINGTON (AP) — Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh riveted Washington and the nation with hours of fiery, emotional testimony from the judge and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing him of sexual assault when they were high schoolers. Kavanaugh denied the accusation.
Here are some takeaways from the extraordinary hearing:
HOW DID SHE DO?
Ford gave a soft-spoken and steady account about what she said happened three decades ago in a bedroom at a small gathering of friends. She said she came forward not for political reasons, but because it was her “civic duty.”
She described in detail 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. She said he put his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams, and testified, “I believed he was going to rape me.”
Kavanaugh-Ford hearing: A dramatic lesson on gender roles
NEW YORK (AP) — He let his anger flare repeatedly, interrupted his questioners and cried several times during his opening statement. She strived to remain calm and polite, despite her nervousness, and mostly held back her tears.
Throughout their riveting, nationally televised testimony on Thursday, Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh served as Exhibits A and B for a tutorial on gender roles and stereotypes. Amid the deluge of reaction on social media, one prominent observation: Ford, as a woman, would have been judged as a far weaker witness had she behaved as Kavanaugh did.
“Imagine a woman openly weeping like this on a national stage and still getting elected to the Supreme Court. Or any office,” tweeted Joanna Robinson, a senior writer with Vanity Fair.
Kavanaugh, nominated to fill a vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, mixed tears with fury in his statement forcefully denying Ford’s allegation that he sexually assaulted her in 1982 when they were both in high school. He choked up at several points when referring to how his family has been affected by the tempest surrounding allegations by Ford and other women.
Opponents of Kavanaugh’s nomination said his behavior demonstrated a lack of judicial temperament. Some supporters said they were moved to tears when he broke down.
Iran denies Israeli accusation of ‘secret atomic warehouse’
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran on Thursday of keeping a “secret atomic warehouse” just outside its capital, despite the 2015 deal with world powers that was meant to keep it from obtaining nuclear weapons. Hours later, Iran dismissed the allegation.
Holding up a poster-board map of an area near Tehran as he spoke at the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu told world leaders that Iranian officials have been keeping up to 300 tons of nuclear equipment and material in a walled, unremarkable-looking property near a rug-cleaning operation.
Netanyahu’s disclosure — which he presented as a big reveal on the international community’s biggest stage — came four months after Israel announced the existence of what it said was a “half-ton” of Iranian nuclear documents obtained by Israeli intelligence in the Shourabad neighborhood near Tehran. Israel said the cache proved that Iranian leaders covered up their nuclear weapons program before signing the nuclear agreement. Iran hasn’t acknowledged the alleged seizure.
“You have to ask yourself a question: Why did Iran keep a secret atomic archive and a secret atomic warehouse?” Netanyahu asked. “What Iran hides, Israel will find.”
Netanyahu didn’t specify what the material and equipment was, and it was not immediately clear whether it proved to be a violation of the nuclear deal. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been monitoring Iran’s compliance with the agreement, had no immediate comment.
SEC seeks to oust Tesla CEO Elon Musk over go-private tweet
DETROIT (AP) — U.S. securities regulators are asking a federal court to oust Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk as chairman and CEO, alleging in a complaint that he committed securities fraud with false statements about plans to take the company private.
The Securities and Exchange Commission says in the complaint filed Thursday that Musk falsely claimed in an Aug. 7 statement on Twitter that funding was secured to go private at $420 per share, a substantial premium over the price at the time.
The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan says that Musk had not discussed or confirmed key deal terms including price with any funding source. It also asks for an order enjoining Musk from making false and misleading statements along with repayment of any gains as well as civil penalties.
“Corporate officers hold positions of trust in our markets and have important responsibilities to shareholders,” Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said in a statement. “An officer’s celebrity status or reputation as a technological innovator does not give license to take those responsibilities lightly.”
An SEC press release says the agency asked the court for a “bar prohibiting Musk from serving as an officer or director of a public company.”
Police chief ‘heartbroken’ after body discovered in creek
GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) — The chief of a North Carolina police department said Thursday he was “heartbroken” over the discovery of a body believed to be that of a missing 6-year-old boy.
Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton fought back tears and a breaking voice during a news conference in which it was announced officials believed the body searchers found was that of Maddox Ritch.
“Our community’s heartbroken. This is not the end that we hoped for,” Helton said. “I’ve lost a lot of sleep this week worrying about Maddox.”
Gastonia Fire Chief Phil Welch said the body was found in a creek, slightly more than a mile (1.6 kilometers) east of Rankin Lake Park, by a searcher who was walking down the middle of the creek as his partners stood on the bank. He said the area had been searched previously by drones, all-terrain vehicles and foot patrols.
Welch said a crew of 15 searchers returned to the creek and discovered the body.
LAX allows pot in airport but TSA says it’s still a crime
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Here’s another thing travelers can consider bringing when a trip takes them through Los Angeles International Airport — marijuana.
Just be careful about carrying it onto the plane.
A written policy posted by airport police says small amounts of weed may now be brought into one of the world’s busiest airports. But, police warn, possession of any amount is still a federal crime and TSA agents may find your stash.
What happens if they do remains a little murky.
TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said Thursday that agents won’t take it away but will summon the police and let them deal with it.
Graham tells Kavanaugh ‘you’ve got nothing to apologize for’
WASHINGTON (AP) — Brett Kavanaugh looked in desperate need of a fighter on his behalf Thursday as he gave impassioned testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee denying allegations of sexual assault.
He found it in Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who told the judge straight out, “You’ve got nothing to apologize for.”
Kavanaugh alternated from anger to tears during fiery testimony. He took deep breaths and lengthy sips of water to gain his composure. He looked every bit the man who said his family “has been destroyed by this senator, destroyed.”
Democratic senators pressed Kavanaugh over and over again to request an FBI investigation if he had nothing to hide.
Enter Graham, who said that if Democrats truly wanted an FBI investigation, they could have spoken up when Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was first made aware of the allegations from Christine Blasey Ford. Just hours earlier, Ford described for senators what she says was an assault by Kavanaugh on a summer evening three decades ago. Kavanaugh denied the allegation.