Any sentient being watching yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings could see that both principles — Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh — were in a highly charged emotional state. Democrats in the chamber took Ford’s at-times-teary testimony as a sign of her sincerity. I don’t doubt that she believes the allegations she has made against Kavanaugh, but her demeanor yesterday was driven at least in part by the media circus of the past week and fear over recent death threats she and her family have received. She acknowledged as much early in her opening statement when she said, “I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified.”
When it was Kavanaugh’s turn to testify, Democrats were less solicitous of his emotional fragility. One of them, Sen. Cory Booker, used his five-minute question period not to apologize for the damage his harsh words may have done to the judge’s reputation but to run interference for his star witness. Here was his exchange with Kavanaugh:
CORY BOOKER: Sir, you also said that this past two week — this past two weeks has been a two-week effort calculated and orchestrated as a political hit.
Are you saying that Dr. Ford’s efforts to come forward, to prepare for the very difficult testimony she gave today, to travel to Washington, D.C. and tell us about her experience, have all been part of an orchestrated political hit? And — and are you basically calling her some kind of political operative?
BRETT KAVANAUGH: I’ve — I’ve said my family has no ill will toward Dr. Ford. She wanted confidentiality. Her confidentiality was blown by the actions of this committee. And it’s caused — it’s turned this into a circus—
Kavanaugh didn’t accuse Ford of being part of the Democrats’ grand scheme, but I will. Nothing that she said yesterday dispels the notion that she was part of it.
We learned yesterday for example that her attorney, Debra Katz, was recommended to her by Dianne Feinstein. Katz, as noted last week, is a high-power Democratic operative who defended former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and was fundraiser for the Hillary Clinton campaign.
When Ford was asked by prosecutor Rachel Mitchell how she got to D.C. for the hearing, she lied outright, possibly forgetting what her attorneys had coached her to say. Her discomfort with being in confined spaces, you may recall, was one of the reasons she gave for not being able to make the hearings scheduled for last Tuesday. At the time, it seemed like a stall tactic, and her answers yesterday only served to heighten that suspicion:
RACHEL MITCHELL: May I ask, Dr. Ford, how did you get to Washington?
CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD: In an airplane.
MITCHELL: OK. It’s — I ask that, because it’s been reported by the press that you would not submit to an interview with the committee because of your fear of flying. Is — is that true?
FORD: Well, I was willing — I was hoping that they would come to me, but then I realized that was an unrealistic request.
MITCHELL: It would’ve been a quicker trip for me.
FORD: Yes. So that was certainly what I was hoping, was to avoid having to get on an airplane, but I eventually was able to get up the gumption with the help of some friends, and get on the plane.
MITCHELL: OK (ph). When you were here in the mid — mid-Atlantic area back in August, end of July, August, how did you get here?
FORD: Also by airplane. I come here once a year during the summer to visit my family.
FORD: I’m sorry, not here. I go to Delaware.
MITCHELL: OK. In fact, you fly fairly frequently for your hobbies and your — you’ve had to fly for your work. Is that true?
FORD: Correct, unfortunately.
MITCHELL: You — you were a consulting biostatistician in Sydney, Australia. Is that right?
FORD: I’ve never been to Australia, but the company that I worked for is based in Australia, and they have an office in San Francisco, California.
FORD: I — I don’t think I’ll make it to Australia.
MITCHELL: It is long.
I also saw on your C.V. that you list the following interests of surf travel, and you, in parentheses” Hawaii, Costa Rica, South Pacific islands and French Polynesia.” Have you been all to those places?
MITCHELL: By airplane?
MITCHELL: And your interests also include oceanography, Hawaiian and Tahitian culture. Did you travel by air as a part of those interests?
MITCHELL: All right. Thank you very much.
One additional point from this block of testimony worth noting is Ford’s comment that she “was hoping that they,” meaning the committee members, “would come to me, but then I realized that was an unrealistic request.” She claimed not to have “understood” Chairman Chuck Grassley’s offer to fly out to Palo Alto to interview her there.
Ford may have an unwitting pawn — she also testified that she “didn’t understand why I would need lawyers” when Feinstein urged her to lawyer up — but there is no question she was a player in the Democrats’ “calculated and orchestrated political hit.”