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Dramatic hearing over Ford allegations

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh (all times local):

11:40 p.m.
Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, a moderate Democrat, said he is voting “no” on Brett Kavenaugh’s bid for the Supreme Court. Jones said: “The Kavanaugh nomination process has been flawed from the beginning.” He said Dr. Christine Blasey (blah-zee) Ford was credible and courageous in her claim that she was sexually assaulted by Kavenaugh years ago. And he said late Thursday that he is concerned about the message the vote will be sending to sons and daughters, as well as victims of sexual assault.
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10:15 p.m.
President Donald Trump described Thursday’s heated Senate hearing as “brutal” and “hard to watch” during an evening GOP fundraiser.
But Trump also praised Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s performance defending himself against allegations of sexual assault.
Trump described Kavanaugh as a “great guy” and a “great man” as he headlined a fundraising dinner at his Washington hotel, according to an attendee who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to describe Trump’s speech publicly.
He made no mention of Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford, the person said.
Trump arrived late at the fundraiser, leaving the White House only after Kavanaugh had finished his testimony.
The fundraiser was for “Protect the House,” a joint committee that benefits the National Republican Congressional Committee and other groups.
— Jill Colvin
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9:40 p.m.
Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona says it’s a “tough call” on whether to support Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court after his dramatic testimony on a sexual assault accusation.
The Republican is among a handful of undecided senators on Kavanaugh. He is a member of the Judiciary Committee, which is set to vote Friday morning on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
The senator was weighing his vote after testimony Thursday from California psychologist Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford, who said Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes when they were teens. Kavanaugh, testifying second, forcefully denied the accusation.
Flake says Ford’s account “was compelling, but she’s lacking corroboration from those who were there.”
Asked how he will vote, Flake says, “let me process it.”
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9:05 p.m.
GOP Sen. Bob Corker says he’ll be voting to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
The Tennessee Republican said Thursday that Kavanaugh is “qualified to serve.”
Corker says it took “courage” for Kavanaugh’s accuser Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But he says the testimony presented no evidence to corroborate her allegation that he sexually assaulted her when they were teens.
Corker says Kavanaugh conducted himself “as well as anyone could expect.” Corker says he plans “to vote to confirm him.”
Corker is a moderate Republican senator whose vote wasn’t a certainty. Kavanaugh’s nomination will face a test in the Senate, which has a tight 51-49 Republican majority.
Kavanaugh resolutely denied Ford’s accusation.
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8:10 p.m.
Republican senators say the Judiciary Committee plans to vote Friday morning on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the second ranking-Republican, had said Thursday that the GOP conference would meet and “see where we are.” After meeting, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said, “There will be a vote tomorrow morning.”
Kavanaugh and a woman accusing him of sexual assault, California psychologist Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford, spent hours testifying Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Ford told senators that one night in the summer of 1982, a drunken Kavanaugh forced her down on a bed, groped her and tried to take off her clothes. Kavanaugh, testifying second, forcefully denied the accusation and said he’s never sexually assaulted anyone.
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8:05 p.m.
A Democratic senator who is undecided on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court says she needs to “fully digest” the committee hearing on a sexual assault allegation against him.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota praised the “courage” of Christine Blasey Ford, who testified to the Senate that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in a bedroom when they were teens. Kavanaugh in his own testimony denied ever sexually assaulting anyone.
Heitkamp also said it was important that the Senate Judiciary Committee heard Kavanaugh’s side of the story.
She stressed that a nonpartisan FBI investigation should be conducted to “bring greater clarity” to Ford’s claim and Kavanaugh’s denial.
Heitkamp is running for re-election this year in a state where President Donald Trump is popular, and she is under pressure over her vote on Kavanaugh. She is facing Rep. Kevin Cramer in a race seen as critical for Republicans’ chances to keep the Senate.
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7:30 p.m.
A lawyer for Mark Judge says he “does not recall the events” described by Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford during her dramatic testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Ford accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a gathering more than 30 years ago. She says Kavanaugh’s classmate Judge was in the bedroom when the assault took place.
Judge’s lawyer, Barbara Van Gelder, said Thursday that he “does not want to comment about these events publicly” and “will not respond to any media inquiries.”
Van Gelder says Judge “is willing to answer written questions, and he has. In addition, he is willing to participate in a confidential, fact-finding investigation.”
Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s allegation.
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7:15 p.m.
Senate Republicans are huddling to discuss the next steps on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Kavanaugh and a woman accusing him of sexual assault, California psychologist Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford, spent hours testifying Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ford told senators that one night in the summer of 1982, a drunken Kavanaugh forced her down on a bed, groped her and tried to take off her clothes. Kavanaugh, testifying second, forcefully denied the accusation and said he’s never sexually assaulted anyone.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote Friday morning on Kavanaugh’s nomination, unless Republicans decide to postpone it.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the second ranking-Republican, says the GOP conference will meet and “see where we are.” But he says the plan is still to have the vote.
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7:10 p.m.
The final question to Brett Kavanaugh at the Senate Judiciary Committee was a spiritual one.
Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana asked the Supreme Court nominee on Thursday if he believed in God.
When Kavanaugh said he did, Kennedy told him this was a “last opportunity” to testify before “God and country.”
The senator asked the judge to look him in the eye. Then he asked Kavanaugh if the allegations of sexual assault from Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford were true.
Kavanaugh says, “They’re not accurate.”
Kavanaugh says he doesn’t question Ford’s testimony that she had been assaulted “by someone, some place.”
But Kavanaugh says he has “never done this to anyone, including her.”
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7 p.m.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says he didn’t watch Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford testify about her accusation that he sexually assaulted her when they were teens.
Both Kavanaugh and Ford spent hours testifying Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, with Ford going first. Ford told senators that one night in the summer of 1982, a drunken Kavanaugh forced her down on a bed, groped her and tried to take off her clothes. Kavanaugh, testifying second, forcefully denied the accusation and said he’s never sexually assaulted anyone.
Kavanaugh was asked by Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris near the end of the hearing whether he had watched Ford’s testimony.
Kavanaugh responded: “I plan to, but I did not. I was preparing mine.”
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6:55 p.m.
President Donald Trump is backing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, calling the judge’s testimony during a Senate hearing “powerful, honest, and riveting.” Trump is declaring, “The Senate must vote!”
Trump defended his nominee on Twitter on Thursday shortly after the extraordinary hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded.
The president says the Democrats’ “search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist.”
Kavanaugh defiantly denied allegations he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford when they were high school students. Ford testified earlier in the day that she was “100 percent” certain Kavanaugh assaulted her.
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6:50 p.m.
The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing featuring Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a woman accusing him of sexual assault when they were teenagers has adjourned after more than eight hours.
California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford testified first Thursday, saying that she had been terrified to come forward but felt that it was her civic duty. She says Kavanaugh pinned her against a bed when they were in high school, grinded against her and tried to take off her clothes. She says she considers it attempted rape.
Kavanaugh testified afterward, forcefully denying that he had sexually assaulted anyone and saying Democrats were trying to ruin his life.
The panel is set to vote Friday on whether to recommend Kavanaugh’s nomination move forward to the full Senate.
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6:25 p.m.
President Donald Trump is encouraged by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s passionate denials of Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford’s claims that he sexually assaulted her in high school.
A White House official told The Associated Press on Thursday that the West Wing saw the judge’s opening statement as “game changing” and said Trump appeared to be reacting positively.
Trump watched the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Air Force One as he traveled from New York, then resumed monitoring back at the White House.
Two Republicans close to the White House say Trump expressed sympathy for Kavanaugh and his family for having to listen to Ford’s tearful recounting of allegations. After seeing Ford’s testimony, White House aides and allies expressed concern that Kavanaugh would have an uphill climb to deliver a strong enough showing.
But they say Trump was encouraged by Kavanaugh’s performance.
— Jonathan Lemire, Zeke Miller and Catherine Lucey.
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5:50 p.m.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has apologized after tangling with Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar (KLOH’-buh-shar) over his drinking in high school.
The senator from Minnesota asked Kavanaugh on Thursday about his drinking habits during a hearing on sexual assault allegations. Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford says Kavanaugh was drunk at the time he sexually assaulted her.
Klobuchar said Kavanaugh wrote in testimony that he sometimes had too many drinks. Klobuchar asked whether he ever drank so much that he couldn’t remember what happened or part of what happened the night before. Kavanaugh answered “no.”
In a back-and-forth, he added, “Have you?” and followed up a second time.
Klobuchar said: “I have no drinking problem, Judge.” Kavanaugh responded: “Nor do I.”
After returning from a break, he apologized for asking her that question.
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5:05 p.m.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says the Democrats’ treatment of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is the “most despicable thing” he has seen in politics.
Graham said Thursday that Democrats sat on allegations against Kavanaugh and then sprung them on the nominee at the last minute in a desperate attempt to prevent his confirmation.
The South Carolina senator says Democrats want to “destroy” Kavanaugh’s life and hold the seat open in the hope of winning the White House in 2020.
Graham says a vote against Kavanaugh would “legitimize the most despicable thing I have ever seen in politics.” He also called the Democrats’ tactics “the most unethical sham.”
Graham supported Republicans’ ultimately successful efforts to block action on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination of Judge Merrick Garland.
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5 p.m.
In a heated exchange with a Democratic senator, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh dismissed the scrutiny of his high school yearbook as an “absurdity.”
Democratic senators have been bringing up Kavanaugh’s yearbook as they question him about Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford’s allegation of sexual assault when they were teens. Kavanaugh denies the allegation.
Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont asked Kavanaugh about his yearbook and the “drinking” and “sexual exploits” it mentions. As Kavanaugh started to respond, Leahy tried to cut him off.
Kavanaugh retorted, “I’m going to talk about my high school record if you’re going to sit here and mock me.”
After Kavanaugh talked about how he “busted his butt” on academics and played sports in high school, Leahy said: “We got a filibuster but not a single answer.”
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4:35 p.m.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is calling certain allegations against him a “joke” and a “farce.”
Kavanaugh made the statements while testifying Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee following allegations by Christine Blasey Ford that he sexually assaulted her in high school. Allegations by other women followed those by Ford.
Kavanaugh was referring specifically to allegations by Julie Swetnick, whose name and allegations became public Wednesday, a day before the hearings. Swetnick said in a sworn statement that she witnessed Kavanaugh “consistently engage in excessive drinking and inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with women in the early 1980s.”
Kavanaugh was responding to questions from Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein when he said: “The Swetnick thing is a joke, that’s a farce.”
Feinstein asked Kavanaugh if he wanted to say more about Swetnick’s allegations. Kavanaugh responded: “No.”
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4:15 p.m.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is apologizing to a high school acquaintance whose name was in a yearbook entry written by him and others with the word “alumnus” after.
Kavanaugh called Renate (reh-NAH’-tah) Schroeder Dolphin “a good female friend” whom people in his social circle “would admire and went to dances with.” He said the yearbook reference “was clumsily intended to show affection and that she was one of us.”
He says the media has falsely interpreted the term “alumnus” as being related to sex. He said it was not, adding that he and Dolphin “never had any sexual interaction at all.”
He says, “So sorry to her for that yearbook reference.”
According to reports, Dolphin had initially been one of 65 women to endorse Kavanaugh after the sexual assault allegations came to light from Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford. Kavanaugh forcefully denied the accusation.
Dolphin withdrew her endorsement after Ford’s accusation came to light.
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4:05 p.m.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says Democrats’ actions in the past couple of weeks may mean he will never again get to do two things he loves, teach law and coach basketball.
Kavanaugh’s comments Thursday came in an extraordinary, 45-minute opening statement in which he repeatedly expressed rancor toward Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Kavanaugh is blaming Democrats for the fraught environment stemming from allegations of sexual misconduct made by Christine Blasey Ford and two other women. He denied sexually assaulting anyone, including Ford when they were teenagers in high school.
The 53-year-old nominee gestured toward the Democrats seated to his right when he said that “thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to teach again.” He repeated that formulation when talking about coaching his daughters in basketball.
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4 p.m.
Brett Kavanaugh says he never imagined the topic of sex would come up in a confirmation hearing, but he wants lawmakers to know he never had sexual intercourse or anything close to it during high school or for many years after that.
He said Thursday that for him and the girls he was friends with, the lack of major rampant sexual activity in high school “was a matter of faith and respect and caution.”
He says the committee has a letter from 65 women who knew him in high school and they said he always treated them with dignity and respect.
He says that letter came together in one night 35 years after graduation. He says they knew they would be vilified if they defended him.
Kavanaugh tells senators “think about that. They put themselves on the line for me. Those are some awesome women.”
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3:45 p.m.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says the sexual allegations against him are a “calculated and orchestrated political hit.”
California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford testified Thursday that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her during a gathering while they were in high school. She says she’s 100 percent certain it was him. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.
Both are testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He says part of the reason for the allegations is anger by some about President Donald Trump and the 2016 election, and out of revenge on “behalf of the Clintons.” In the 1990s, Kavanaugh was on the team that investigated President Bill Clinton as part of special prosecutor Kenneth Starr’s investigation. The report led to Clinton’s impeachment, though he was not removed from office.
Kavanaugh said Thursday that the allegations are also the result of money from left-wing opposition groups.
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3:40 p.m.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is choking up before the Senate Judiciary Committee as he fights back against allegations of sexual assault.
The judge sounded angry and tried to hold back tears Thursday as he told senators he was “innocent of this charge.” Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford testified earlier that he groped her and held her down during a party when they were teens.
Kavanaugh “categorically denied” all aspects of her testimony, saying he never did those things years ago.
The father of two daughters says one of his girls said they should “pray for the woman” making the allegations.
Kavanaugh says, “That’s a lot of wisdom from a 10 year old.” He says, “We mean no ill will.”
Kavanaugh continued his testimony, his voice rising and choking up, throughout.
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3:35 p.m.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says he “never had any sexual or physical encounter of any kind” with Christine Blasey Ford.
Kavanaugh is testifying Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ford testified earlier, telling senators that Kavanaugh assaulted her at a gathering in high school.
She says he and a friend barricaded her in a room and Kavanaugh got on top of her and covered her mouth so she could not cry out for help. She says she is “100 percent” certain it was Kavanaugh who attacked her.
Kavanaugh said that he isn’t questioning whether Ford was sexually assaulted — but he says he did not do that to her or anyone. He says he’s “innocent of this charge.”
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3:30 p.m.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is telling a Senate panel that he “will not be intimidated” into withdrawing his nomination to the Supreme Court.
Kavanaugh told lawmakers Thursday in his opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee: “You may defeat me in the final vote, but you’ll never get me to quit. Never.”
Kavanaugh was speaking following testimony by California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford. She says that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teens and that she is “100 percent” certain it was him.
Kavanaugh told lawmakers he is “innocent of this charge.”

1:15 p.m.
Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace says Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is “a disaster” for Republicans.
Wallace and some others on Fox have used breaks in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to say Ford has performed strongly her early testimony. And they’re expressing frustration about the line of questioning by the prosecutor hired by Republicans to question Ford about her sexual assault accusation against Kavanaugh.
The commentators’ assessment is important because the White House says President Donald Trump, who was flying from New York to Washington as the hearing started, was watching Fox’s coverage.
Fox’s Brit Hume put it this way about Ford: “The more hesitant, the more fragile she has seemed, the more credible and powerful she seems to the audience.”
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1:05 p.m.
President Donald Trump’s eldest son is taking issue with Christine Blasey  Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee as she shares her recollections of an alleged sexual assault years ago by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Donald Trump Jr. is a fierce defender of his father and he frequently sounds off on Twitter. He’s citing Ford’s description of her fear of flying and her saying that she finds it easier when she’s going on vacation.
Trump Jr. tweets that he’s “no psychology professor,” but he says it seems “weird” him “that someone could have a selective fear of flying.”
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12:51 p.m.
Christine Blasey Ford says no one helped write the letter she sent privately to Sen. Dianne Feinstein outlining her sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Asked Thursday by attorney Rachel Mitchell at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing if Ford had any help, Ford answered flatly, “No.”
Ford explained how she was weighing whether to come forward about the incident from 35 years ago. Kavanaugh denies assaulting her when they were teens.
Ford first brought her concerns privately in July to her congresswoman, Anna Eshoo. The California Democrat suggested she write the letter to Feinstein.
Ford described a “fairly brief” phone call with Feinstein once the senator had received the letter.
For says she started interviewing lawyers because the few other people she had told said she would need one.
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12:23 p.m.
The prosecutor at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing questioning Christine Blasey Ford about her allegation of sexual assault has asked about her fear of flying.
Attorney Rachel Mitchell asked Ford about her anxieties. Ford acknowledged Thursday a discomfort with airplanes but said she was “able to get up the gumption” and fly from California to Washington for the hearing. She said she’s also taken planes for vacations.
Asked if other factors in her life could be causing anxiety, Ford said there was “nothing as striking” as the event with Kavanaugh.
Ford alleges Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were teens. He denies the allegation.
Mitchell is a Phoenix prosecutor hired by Republicans to handle questioning for the all-male GOP side of the dais.
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12:01 p.m.
Christine Blasey Ford says she is “100 percent” certain that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were high-school teenagers.
Ford answered in response to Sen. Dick Durbin’s question asking what degree of certainty Ford had that it was Kavanaugh.
It was the second time in the televised hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday that Ford asserted that her claim against Kavanaugh was not a case of mistaken identity.
Both instances were in response to questions from Democratic senators who were trying to reinforce Ford’s credibility as Kavanaugh’s accuser.
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11:58 a.m.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has left his suburban Maryland home ahead of his expected testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on allegations he sexually assaulted a teen at a party.
Kavanaugh left through the side door of his Chevy Chase, Maryland, home where an American flag was hung outside the front door and a basketball hoop stood out front.
Kavanaugh stepped into a waiting black SUV as a reporter shouted questions. He did not comment.
While he got into his car, his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford was being questioned by senators. She told the panel that she was barricaded in a bedroom by Kavanaugh and a friend, and Kavanaugh held her down, covered her mouth and sexually assaulted her. He denies the allegations.
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11:52 a.m.
Christine Blasey Ford has testified that she saw Brett Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge a few weeks after she says Kavanaugh assaulted her.
Ford says Judge was in the room when Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a gathering when they were teens. Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, denies assaulting Ford. Judge in a statement said he has “no memory” of the alleged incident.
Ford told the senators she ran into Judge at a Safeway store roughly “six to eight weeks” after the assault. She recalled that after she said hello, “his face was white.” She said Judge was “nervous,” didn’t want to speak with her and “looked a little bit ill.”
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee want to subpoena Judge for his testimony. Republicans have rejected that request. Judge, through his lawyer, has said he does not wish to speak publicly.
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11:38 a.m.
Christine Blasey Ford says her strongest memory of the time she alleges Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teens is the laughter.
Ford, a research psychologist and professor, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that “indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter.”
She was describing Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, the other teen she says was present as they locked her in a room at a party.
The 51-year-old mom from Palo Alto, California, was asked by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont of her strongest memory of the incident.
Ford testified that Kavanaugh and Judge “were laughing with each other.”
Asked if she has ever forgotten that laughter, she shook her head no.
She described being “underneath one of them” as the two laughed.
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11:33 a.m.
President Donald Trump is watching the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Air Force One on a slight delay.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump is watching it a bit “delayed” because he was in transit when the proceedings started.
Sanders had no additional reaction to the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were in high school students in the 1980s.
Trump did not speak to Kavanaugh on Thursday.
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11:27 a.m.
Miranda Greear of Roanoke, Va., is among the hundreds of people who have gathered on Capitol Hill to make their voices heard during Thursday’s historic Supreme Court confirmation hearing.
Greear says she wants to show support for survivors of sexual assault.
She says that for years, women have been told they shouldn’t share their stories and that what happened was their fault. She says, “I’m done living in a world where women are not believed.”
Supporters of Brett Kavanaugh are also in the crowd. A Maryland woman, Karen, is wearing a shirt that says “Women for Kavanaugh.” She declined to give her last name because “anybody who gives their last name in this environment is risking harm to themselves.”
Karen says “I think if these allegations were true, it would not have taken 35 years for them to be known.”
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11:17 a.m.
Christine Blasey Ford says she is certain she did not mistakenly identify Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as her attacker at a party when they were both in high school more than 30 years ago.
Ford was responding to questions from Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein about how she could be sure it was Kavanaugh and not someone else who assaulted her in the bedroom of a home in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C.
Ford said, “The same way I am sure I am talking to you right now.”
Feinstein said: “So what you are telling us is this could not be a case of mistaken identity.”
Ford’s response: “Absolutely not.”
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11:10 a.m.
Christine Blasey Ford says the alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh “drastically altered her life for a very long time.”
Ford is testifying Thursday at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Kavanaugh has denied the accusations. He is expected to testify later.
She says she was assaulted by Kavanaugh during a small gathering in high school.
Ford says she suffered anxiety, phobia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-like symptoms.
She says the primary impact on her life was the four years after it happened. She struggled in college both academically and socially, and had an especially difficult time forming friendships with boys.
She says it also manifested more recently. She asked her husband to make two front doors in their California home as a result of the attack, so she could have a way out if necessary.
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11:08 a.m.
The Phoenix prosecutor Republicans have hired to handle much of their questioning at a hearing on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has begun her questioning of Kavanaugh’s accuser.
Rachel Mitchell began her questioning of Christine Blasey Ford on Thursday. The California psychology professor accuses Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her when they were teens.
Mitchell told Ford that the first thing that struck her about Ford’s opening statement is “that you’re terrified.”
Mitchell said: “I just wanted to let you know I’m very sorry. That’s not right.”
Republicans’ hiring of Mitchell will avoid having their all-male contingent interrogating Ford about the details of what she describes as a harrowing assault.
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11:05 a.m.
Christine Blasey Ford says she wanted just one thing as she began testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee: some caffeine.
Ford, the 51-year-old mom of two from California, offered a light moment Thursday after being sworn in for testimony. She is alleging Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teens. Kavanaugh denies assaulting her.
Told by GOP Chairman Chuck Grassley that he intended to provide a respectful and comfortable setting, she informed him she anticipated “needing some caffeine.”
Ford provided her opening statement in a soft-spoken voice that was cracking at times.
When she finished, Grassley asked if she needed a short break.
Ford told the chairman she was “ok.” She held up a cup and said she “got the coffee.”
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10:55 a.m.
Senators sat riveted on the dais as Christine Blasey Ford gave her testimony about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who she says sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s.
Most of the 21 senators on the panel leaned forward. None appeared to take notes. Democrat Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota appeared to wipe away a tear.
The room was totally quiet as Ford described the night she said she was assaulted. People stayed in their seats in the small Judiciary committee room where Ford had asked to testify.
It was a far cry from Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing earlier this month, in which screaming protesters were hauled away at regular intervals. Most attending Thursday’s hearing appear to be ticketed guests of senators, with few if any members of the general public let in.
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10:53 a.m.
Christine Blasey Ford says she “agonized daily” over the decision on whether to come forward to speak about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Ford is testifying Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. She is telling the committee that Kavanaugh barricaded her in a bedroom at a house party during high school and got on top of her and assaulted her.
She says that over the years, she convinced herself that because she was not raped, she should just pretend that it didn’t happen. But when it became clear Kavanaugh would likely be named to the court, she said she faced a difficult choice.
She says that she sent a letter detailing the allegations to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California but had planned not to come forward. But the letter was leaked to the press. She then decided that she should speak out to tell her story in her own words.
She says her goal is to be helpful.
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10:50 a.m.
President Donald Trump was traveling from New York City back to Washington as a woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault began her testimony.
Trump flew aboard a helicopter from New York City to John F. Kennedy International Airport Thursday morning, before boarding Air Force One. He spent several days in New York attending the United Nations General Assembly.
The president boarded Air Force One in the late morning. Trump and staff planned to watch the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Air Force One as they traveled back to Washington.
The hearing began with testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her when they were in high school. Kavanaugh has denied the charges.

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10:42 a.m.
Christine Blasey Ford says she came before the Senate Judiciary Committee not because she wanted to, but because she believed it’s her civic duty.
Ford spoke Thursday at a hearing on her allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Her voice cracked as she spoke to the committee, calling Kavanaugh: “the boy who sexually assaulted me.”
She says that the assault has been seared into her memory and has haunted her.
She says Kavanaugh held her down on a bed during a party with a few other high school kids and assaulted her, and put his hand over her mouth so she could not scream. She says she thought he would try to rape her.
Kavanaugh has denied any allegations. He will speak to the committee later Thursday.
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10:13 a.m.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is opening a hearing on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with an apology to both Kavanaugh and his accuser for the way they’ve been treated, saying they and their families have received “vile threats.”
The Iowa Republican promised a “safe, comfortable and dignified” atmosphere Thursday as his committee hears from both.
Grassley also said it had been a “terrible couple of weeks” for both Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford, the California psychology professor who accuses Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her when they were teens.
The committee is expected to hear hours of testimony Thursday. Ford will testify first. Kavanaugh is scheduled to testify later in the day.
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10:10 a.m.
With the high-stakes hearing for his Supreme Court nominee underway, President Donald Trump is meeting with diplomats at the United Nations.
Trump was scheduled to meet with staff as he concludes his trip to New York for the U.N. General Assembly.
Trump plans to return to Washington later Thursday morning. He has said he will be watching the hearing and has said he could be convinced to change his mind on Judge Brett Kavanaugh, though he has continued to strongly defend him.
Kavanaugh faces accusations of sexual misconduct, which he has strongly denied. He and his chief accuser will both appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday.
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10:05 a.m.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has gaveled into session Thursday’s dramatic hearing with Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Ford, in prepared remarks submitted to the committee, alleges that Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes when they were teens. Kavanaugh, in his prepared testimony, says he’s never done anything “remotely resembling” what Ford describes.
Grassley and the panel’s top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, will deliver opening statements at the start of the hearing. Then Ford will be sworn in as a witness and deliver her opening statement. Kavanaugh will testify later, after her session is over.
The 11 Republican and 10 Democratic members of the panel will have five minutes each to question Ford and Kavanaugh in alternating turns.
Republicans have hired an outside attorney, Phoenix prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, to handle much of their questioning.
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9:25 a.m.
With a dramatic day of testimony looming, protesters are gathering around the U.S. Capitol building.
Organizers behind the Women’s March plan a “direct action” Thursday morning in the Hart Senate Office Building in support of Christine Blasey Ford, who will testify that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her during a drunken high school party.
Elsewhere, a coalition of conservative women’s groups is planning an “I stand with Brett” rally near the Russell Senate Office Building.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing earlier this month was marred by dozens of protesters interrupting the hearing even before Ford’s allegation became public.
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12:35 a.m.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is raising the curtain on what promises to be high drama – a hearing in which senators will listen to a woman accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her, then weigh his denial.
At stake is President Donald Trump’s second nomination to the high court.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation seemed assured until a California college professor, Christine Blasey Ford, accused the appeals court judge of attempting to rape her when they were high school teenagers. Kavanaugh has denied any sexual misconduct then or in college at Yale, though more women alleging sexual misconduct have come forward.
Kavanaugh defended himself this week in a TV interview. The hearing set to begin Thursday morning will be the first time the country sees and hears from Ford.
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For more coverage of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, visit https://apnews.com/tag/Kavanaughnomination

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