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Senate Hearing For Brett Kavanaugh And Christine Blasey Ford Draws Protesters

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CHUCK GRASSLEY: We continue our hearing on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve as associate justice.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And with that from Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, a historic hearing got underway on Capitol Hill.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The woman everyone has been waiting to hear from, professor Christine Blasey Ford - she alleges that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 36 years ago. Also testifying - Kavanaugh himself.

CORNISH: In her opening statement, Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said the entire country was watching.

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DIANNE FEINSTEIN: This is not a trial of Dr. Ford. It's a job interview for Judge Kavanaugh. Is Brett Kavanaugh who we want on the most prestigious court in our country? Is he the best we can do?

KELLY: Senator Grassley apologized to both witnesses for the way they have been treated. He asked for civility, and he made some effort to put the first witness, Christine Blasey Ford, at ease. After swearing her in...

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GRASSLEY: Do you swear that the testimony you're about to give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?

KELLY: He told her this.

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GRASSLEY: Anytime you ask for break, you get a break. Anytime there's something that you need you don't have, just ask us.

CORNISH: An offer she took him up on immediately.

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CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD: Thank you, Senator Grassley. I think after I read my opening statement, I anticipate needing some caffeine, if that is available.

CORNISH: In more than three hours of testimony that followed, the hearing intensified. Ford was at times emotional, but she never wavered from the reason she says she decided to appear before the committee.

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FORD: I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.

KELLY: Ford acknowledged there are many details she could not recall with certainty about the events of 30-some years ago. But she spoke with conviction about the parts she did remember. The house was sparsely furnished. The stairway leading upstairs was narrow. And as she told Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, there was no mistaking who attacked her.

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DICK DURBIN: With what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?

FORD: One hundred percent.

DURBIN: One hundred percent.

CORNISH: Shortly after 3 p.m., it was Brett Kavanaugh's turn to testify. He entered the hearing room, straightened his nameplate, poured himself a glass of water and proclaimed his innocence. He was at times tearful and clearly furious.

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BRETT KAVANAUGH: I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. You've tried hard. You've given it your all. No one can question your effort. But your coordinated and well-funded effort to destroy my good name and destroy my family will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. You may defeat me in the final vote, but you'll never get me to quit - never. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.