Judiciary Committee Republicans expressed frustration at not being able to corroborate details of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony accusing Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault on Thursday — but repeatedly refused to say why they wouldn’t bring in the third person who Ford says was in the room, Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), a member of the committee and GOP leadership, shrugged off the first portion of Ford’s testimony.
“It’s exactly what I would expect. She’s basically repeating what we’ve already been told in her letter, so nothing new so far,” he told reporters early Thursday afternoon.
But he repeatedly ducked questions about why he and other majority committee Republicans had refused to ask Mark Judge, a conservative writer who Ford says was in the room and complicit in Kavanaugh’s attack, to come testify to the committee.
“He’s given us a statement under oath saying he wasn’t there,” he said.
When TPM asked why it wasn’t worth bringing in Judge to see if he was a credible potential witness, he demurred.
“His lawyer said he was filing us a statement which is directly contrary to what Dr. Ford has said. This is not about trying him,” he said.
And when asked if Cornyn thought Judge was credible, the senator replied, “Well, he testified under penalty of perjury. That’s all I can tell you.”
He didn’t give Ford the same benefit of the doubt after she publicly testified under oath.
“The basic problem is that Dr. Ford is repeating her allegations, all of the other witnesses she’s identified said it didn’t happen, and there’s no corroboration. So without any corroboration I don’t think she can meet the burden of actually establishing what she claims happened,” Cornyn said.
While Judge has denied the allegations, others Ford has said were elsewhere in the home when the alleged assault took place say they can’t recall being at the party — not that they definitively weren’t there.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was even bolder in his declaration that he hadn’t learned anything new to make him believe Ford, while shrugging off questions on Judge.
“You’ve got to figure out what’s credible. The burden of proof is not on the man being accused or the woman being accused, so what I’m looking for is, do I know any more about the details than I knew before,” he said. “Things like ‘I don’t remember how I got there and how I left,'” he told reporters.
“I still don’t know the location, I still don’t know the time, she can’t tell me who picked her up, she can’t tell me who dropped her off,” he said. “You can’t tell me when it happened and where happened. Sometime in the summer of 1982 in some unknown location is not sufficient under law to bring a charge forward.”
But what about hearing from Judge?
“I don’t need to hear from Mark Judge,” Graham said.
And he dismissed Democrats’ call for the FBI to investigate the claims, as President George H.W. Bush allowed to happen for Clarence Thomas in 1991.
“If you really thought an FBI investigation would help why wouldn’t you ask for one in August?” he said. “How in the world do you investigate something this uncertain?”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the committee’s top Democrat, raised that question during the hearing.
“Mr. Judge is not willing to come forward,” she said. “That’s why the failure to call him to testify is so very critical and I’d hope the majority would reconsider that.”