Live Blog: The Judge Brett Kavanaugh-Dr. Christine Blasey Ford Hearing, Part 4

By A.J. Katz 

Earlier in the day, NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell made an interesting remark regarding the 1991 Clarence ThomasAnita Hill hearing, and comparing it to today:

“Clarence Thomas turned a corner when he came back after Anita Hill’s testimony and said, ‘this has been a high-tech lynching.’ Angry and furious and that really did turn the corner. The difference is that he didn’t cry. He was emotional and angry but he was as emotionally raw as the subsequent testimony so it’s a roll coaster here. You don’t know how that is going to play.”

Well, Kavanaugh’s “Clarence Thomas” moment actually came courtesy of Sen. Lindsey Graham, as discussed in the previous post, and with that boost Judge Kavanaugh became more confident and comfortable in his seat than he was before Sen. Graham’s intense remarks.

5:15 ET:

For instance, Kavanaugh decided to fire questions back at Sen. Klobuchar after she asked him about his drinking (he apologized for his action later).

He also seemed to not take some of the questions from Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal particularly seriously.

Kavanaugh was not the only one who seemed to gain confidence from Graham’s outburst. It also seemed to spark a confidence in the other Republican senators on the Committee to take control of the questioning without needing to bring back the paid prosecutor Rachel Mitchell.

6:15 p.m. ET:

It seems to be looking like a partisan fight, with Republican members expressing frustration about the entire process. There hadn’t been an intense back-and-forth between Kavanaugh and a committee member about the sexual assault allegations until Cory Booker’s turn at 6:20 p.m. ET:

California Sen. Kamala Harris asked a number of questions, including if Kavanaugh had watched any of Dr. Ford’s testimony. Kavanaugh said he did not, but that he had planned to.

Later, Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake asked for civility and said that “there will be doubt when everyone walks out of the courtroom today…but at the end of the day, we’re still 21 imperfect human beings up here.”

The fact that Sen. Flake declined to ask any questions of Kavanaugh means that he will probably vote “Yes” on Kavanaugh, according to experts.

President Trump weighed in after the hearing ended at around 6:45 p.m. ET, praising Kavanaugh and referring to the process as a “sham.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee is planning to vote Friday at 9:30 a.m ET to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate floor. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell then plans a Saturday vote to formally move to the nomination, with a potential confirmation vote as early as Tuesday.

Hitting the gas pedal, with the midterms coming up in early November.


The postgame analysis across the TV news spectrum seemed to be that Kavanaugh will get the necessary votes to move forward, despite Dr. Ford’s testimony, but that in general, this isn’t a good process and it wasn’t a particularly great day in American history, exposing a deep divide in Washington.

After Dr. Ford’s passionate testimony this morning/afternoon, it seemed, according to the pundits/analysts, there may have been a chance for Kavanaugh to fall flat. But by sundown, that feeling seemed to dissipate.

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell hosted a special report in the 10 p.m. hour, a wrapup of the day with NBC News correspondents and MSNBC commentators and contributors. Kasie Hunt reported that Sen. Flake will sleep on his decision:

Chris Cuomo had multiple guests on his program on his 9 p.m. program with various degrees of connection to Kavanaugh. One vouched for him in-studio

Another called in, and didn’t exactly vouch for him:

A former Trump campaign senior advisor came on the program, and reiterated what many Republicans had been saying throughout the day: They respect Dr. Ford, but they don’t seem to think Kavanaugh did to her what she’s alleging.

Lindsey Graham, who, outside of Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford was the most talked-about figure of the evening, appeared on Hannity:

“The one thing I learned beyond any doubt today is that they [Democrats] never intended to protect Dr. Ford, and everything I believed I knew about Brett Kavanaugh, I am now more convinced than ever that he didn’t do it. That he’s the right guy to be on the court, and that Ms. Ford has a problem and destroying Judge Kavanaugh’s life won’t fix her problem…’

During the previous hour, Brit Hume told Tucker Carlson that we were more or less back to where we were before everything started.

Kellyanne Conway appeared on The Ingraham Angle in the 10 p.m. hour, and sang Kavanaugh’s praises. She also said she thinks people will ultimately remember Kavanaugh’s performance more than Ford’s.

Rachel Maddow explained how the explosive temper Kavanaugh showed during the hearing will be an issue for him: