In his 2015 autobiography, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wrote about the importance of believing sexual assault survivors. On Thursday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) read a passage from that book during Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony to call out Graham’s hostility toward Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accusers.
“The senators from the other side of the aisle have been silent,” Blumenthal said, referring to his Republican colleagues, who used a sex crimes prosecutor to ask Ford questions on their behalf. “This procedure is unprecedented in a confirmation hearing, but I want to quote one of my colleagues, Sen. Lindsey Graham, in a book he wrote in 2015 when describing his own service and very distinguished Naval service as a trial lawyer.”
Graham interrupted to note it was the Air Force, and Blumenthal responded with a smile, saying, “I’m not under oath,” before reading from the book.
“[Sen. Graham] said…of his prosecutions of rape cases, ‘I learned how much unexpected courage from a deep and hidden place it takes for a rape victim or sexually abused child to testify against their assailants,'” Blumenthal read, repeating the quote twice.
The next line from Graham’s book, which Blumenthal did not recite from the stand, reads, “Trying to get a scared, confused, little kid or young woman who feels the best part of her life is over to recall a memory that their every psychological impulse is trying to suppress is not something you forget. It has stayed with me ever since.”
Ford appeared to be crying as Blumenthal read the passage.
“If we agree on nothing else today, I hope on a bipartisan basis, we can agree on how much courage it has taken for you to come forward,” Blumenthal said. “And I think you have earned America’s gratitude.”
Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday about an alleged assault by Kavanaugh while the two were in high school.
Ford says Kavanaugh forced himself on her, groped her over her clothes, and tried to pull off her clothing. When she tried to scream, he then covered her mouth with his hand and turned up the music in the room to muffle her cries.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” she said in an interview with The Washington Post earlier this month.
With a quavering voice Thursday, she retold her story in front of the entire country.
Despite having written just three years ago about the courage it takes for survivors to come forward, Graham has been singing a different tune in recent days.
After another accuser, Deborah Swetnick, came forward Wednesday, Graham attacked the woman’s attorney, Michael Avenatti, claiming he and his client had fabricated her claims against Kavanaugh. Avenatti also represents Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who claims she had an affair with President Trump in 2006 and who was paid $130,000 by the Trump campaign ahead of the election to remain quiet about their alleged relationship.
“The lawyer to porn stars has just taken this debacle to an even lower level,” Graham tweeted. “I hope people will be highly suspicious of this allegation presented by Michael Avenatti.”
I have a difficult time believing any person would continue to go to – according to the affidavit – ten parties over a two-year period where women were routinely gang raped and not report it.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 26, 2018
Swetnick said in a sworn declaration this week that she was “gang” or “train” raped at a party in high school where Kavanugh was present. She said she believes she was drugged with Quaaludes at the party prior to her attack. She did not directly implicate Kavanaugh in the rape.
Swetnick, however, did say she had previously become aware of efforts by the boys — Kavanaugh included — “to ‘spike’ the ‘punch’ at house parties… with drugs and/or grain alcohol so as to cause girls to lose their inhibitions and their ability to say ‘No.’”
Graham went to far as to attack Swetnick herself Wednesday, echoing one of the president’s own talking points: If she was really raped, why didn’t she report it?
“I have a difficult time believing any person would continue to go to — according to the affidavit — ten parties over a two-year period where women were routinely gang raped and not report it,” the senator tweeted. “Why would any reasonable person continue to hang around people like this? Why would any person continue to put their friends and themselves in danger? Isn’t there some duty to warn others?”
I very much believe in allowing people to be heard.
But I am not going to be played, and I’m not going to have my intelligence insulted by the Michael Avenattis of the world.
I will not be a participant in wholesale character assassination that defies credibility.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 26, 2018
Kavanaugh has also been accused by another woman, Deborah Ramirez, of thrusting his penis into her face against her wishes. “Brett was laughing,” Ramirez told The New Yorker on Sunday. “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.”
Ford, too, said Thursday that one of the moments seared forever in her mind from the night of her alleged attack was hearing Kavnaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, who was also in the room at the time, laughing at her expense.
During a break Thursday, Graham told Fox News that he believes the committee should still hold a vote on Kavanaugh Friday, despite those claims.