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Ford accuses US Supreme Court nominee in dramatic testimony

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The move would place the panel's decision just a day after it is set to hear testimony from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who has accused him of sexual assault during a party in their high school years.

Christine Blasey Ford said Thursday that two of the people at the party where she says she was sexually assaulted 36 years ago wouldn't have known what was happening upstairs when she says Brett Kavanaugh and a friend attacked her.

Ford says she doesn't have the answers to all the questions she knows will be asked about that night and says she doesn't remember everything. Ford said Kavanaugh pushed her into a room and pinned her to a bed.

The report as read said when the man learned of the assault, "he and another individual went to the harbor, located the boat the victim had described and physically confronted the two men, leaving them with significant injuries".

In addition, Ramirez never mentioned the incident to anyone at the time, and came forward "after six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney". She also accuses Kavanaugh of being a "mean drunk" who made jokes "designed to demean, humiliate and embarrass" girls. "In retrospect, I said and did things in high school that make me cringe now", Kavanaugh said. Grassley was directing most of his ire at Democrats, but with most cable news split screens showing Grassley questioning Ford's account and a terrified-looking Ford, it felt very adversarial toward Ford. "And I believe many Americans across the country believe you", Democratic Senator Kamala Harris said.

The other questions seemed more geared toward undermining Ms Ford's credibility - the kind of strategy useful during depositions or trials to undermine a jury's trust in a witness or, perhaps, force them to crack under the accumulated pressure of the interrogation.

Kavanaugh replied that he doesn't even know Swetnick and that her accusations are "from the Twilight Zone".

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"I am no one's pawn."

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► September 26: Kavanaugh hearing: Who is Rachel Mitchell? He has denied all the allegations. She told Feinstein that the alleged assault left her with "PTSD-like" tendencies and severe claustrophobia.

In evidence for the hearing, Kavanaugh acknowledges drinking in high school with his friends, but says he has never done anything "remotely resembling" the sexual misconduct alleged by his chief accuser.

A third woman, Julie Swetnick, told the Senate committee that Mr Kavauaugh was present in 1982 when she was gang-raped, though she does not say he was one of the rapists.

How Kavanaugh could impact Supreme Court: Kavanaugh is a staunch conservative, and his confirmation would cement conservative control of the Supreme Court - furthering Trump's efforts to shift the federal judiciary to the right.

Flake sits on the Judiciary Committee and will have a chance to question Ford and Kavanaugh.

"It's happened to me many times", he said, claiming he had been accused - falsely - by "four or five women".

Ford said "absolutely not" when Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein asked her if it could be a case of mistaken identity, as Kavanaugh has suggested.

Republican Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the committee, said at the opening of the hearing that he wanted it to be "safe comfortable and dignified for both of our witnesses".

Does Republicans' unusual strategy come across the way they want, or does it backfire?

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