Kavanaugh hearing runs red hot with partisan anger

Kavanaugh hearing runs red hot with partisan anger, by Matthew Daly.

A hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh devolved into a partisan fistfight Thursday …

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, called the hearing a “national disgrace,” while Texas Sen. John Cornyn said it was the most “embarrassing scandal for the U.S. Senate since the McCarthy hearings” in the 1950s.

Fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Democrats’ treatment of Kavanaugh was the “most despicable thing” he has seen in politics. …

[Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand] and other Democrats were outraged that Republicans did not force a high school friend of Kavanaugh and other witnesses to testify under oath. Ford says Kavanaugh friend Mark Judge was present when the attack occurred. …

The charged atmosphere in the room was heightened by Kavanaugh himself, who delivered what has to rank among the most combative testimony ever heard in a congressional hearing room. …

In Kavanaugh’s angry and tearful opening statement, supporters saw an expression of the frustration Republicans have felt since Kavanaugh was nominated by President Donald Trump in July.

But Democrats said Kavanaugh’s 3 ½-hour appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee raised more questions than it answered.

Kavanaugh’s testimony “had key gaps in substance and credibility,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and his frequent, angry outbursts “raised questions about his temperament.” …

While Ford’s testimony was compelling and her countenance likable — Hatch called her “attractive” and a good witness — her testimony did not appear to dramatically alter the political dynamic on his confirmation vote. …

President Donald Trump made clear he was sticking with Kavanaugh, tweeting immediately after the hearing that Kavanaugh’s testimony was “powerful, honest and riveting.”

He called Democrats’ “search and destroy strategy” disgraceful and said the process “has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct and resist.”

Gillibrand, a longtime advocate for survivors of sexual violence, said the message Republicans were sending to sexual assault survivors — through the hearing and their support for Kavanaugh — was, “We don’t believe you, your voice doesn’t matter and we don’t value you.” …

Graham blamed Democrats for the hearing’s partisan nature, saying they sat on allegations against Kavanaugh for weeks and then sprung them on the nominee at the last minute in a desperate attempt to prevent his confirmation. …

Several women in the audience stood up when Ford finished testifying after more than four hours and said loudly, “Thank you, Dr. Ford!”