The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Kavanaugh accuser Ford offers gripping testimony | Sights and sounds from Capitol | Hearing grips Washington

The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Kavanaugh accuser Ford offers gripping testimony | Sights and sounds from Capitol | Hearing grips Washington
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The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Ford testifies before Congress | Offers emotional, gripping testimony | Says 'absolutely not' a case of mistaken identity | Sights and sounds from the Capitol | Protesters line halls | Trump postpones meeting with Rosenstein



Washington hears from Christine Blasey Ford: 

Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, is testifying on Capitol Hill as Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination is in question.

What’s happened so far: Christine Blasey Ford gave her opening remarks and is in the middle of questioning. The Senate just recessed (at 12:44 p.m.) for a half hour and will resume after. When her questioning wraps up, Judge Brett Kavanaugh will then testify. 

Livestream of the hearing:

Live blog of updates:



Ford remembers laughter during the incident: When asked what her strongest memory from the incident is, Ford said, "Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two and they’re having fun at my expense.” Ford’s full answer:

Ford on whether she mistook Kavanaugh’s identity: Ford testified that this is “absolutely not” a case of mistaken identity. When asked how she could be so sure, Feinstein said, “The same way that I’m sure I’m talking to you right now. Basic memory functions.”

A reporter apparently crashed Ford’s class: “Ford says a reporter showed up in her graduate class and she mistook the reporter for a student in her class. Another reporter showed up at her house and was trying to quiet her barking dog.”

Ford on why she didn’t tell anyone at the time: “I did not want to tell my parents that I, at age 15, was in a house without any parents present, drinking beer with boys. I tried to convince myself that because Brett did not rape me, I should be able to move on and just pretend that it had never happened.” 

Ford says she was hacked on Tuesday: “This past Tuesday evening, my work email account was hacked and messages were sent out supposedly recanting my description of the sexual assault.” 

Ford asked for coffee during the hearing: During Ford’s opening remarks, she noted she may need caffeine. After she finished her remarks, Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenators push foreign media to disclose if they are registered as foreign agents Joe Biden must release the results of his cognitive tests — voters need to know GOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday MORE (D-N.J.) brought Ford a coffee. Photo:

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinBottom line Filibuster reform gains steam with Democrats Senate panel votes 21-1 to back Justice IG measure over Graham objections MORE (D-Calif.) tells Ford during the opening remarks: "This is not a trial for Dr. Ford, this is a job interview for Judge Kavanaugh.”

Read Ford’s full opening statement:


What a Thursday. Filing from the chaos on Capitol Hill, I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to and on Facebook.






Best video I’ve seen during the hearing: “The look Christine Blasey Ford's lawyers gave each other when Grassley's lawyers said this hearing was scheduled ‘in close consultation’ with them” (Via The Washington Post’s Peter Stevenson) Watch:

Just in case you can’t tell from the video: The hearing room is tiny. Photo:

Photo of how Republicans looked while Ford gave her opening statement:

Fascinating moment — photo from the room when Ford used the word ‘rape’: “The moment Blasey Ford said the words ‘I believed he was going to rape me,’ Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism MORE looks on.” Photo from CNN’s MJ Lee:

Tidbit — there are only four seats for members of Congress: “First one in the seat: Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyMedia, entertainment groups press Congress to provide pandemic risk insurance New York City will not start counting mailed primary ballots until next week The Hill's Morning Report - Republicans shift, urge people to wear masks MORE. She says a staffer came early to secure her seat.” Photo of Rep. Maloney at her seat:

Sitting in the hearing room: “Friends of Christine Blasey Ford, some of whom flew across the country to support her, will be sitting in some of the limited seats during her testimony.” (Via CNN’s MJ Lee)

What Ford’s seat and table look like:

Format of the hearing: Ford testifies first, followed by Kavanaugh. “After opening remarks, senators will have one 5-minute round of questions for each witness, reflecting a request from Ford.” Details:



This was pretty creepy tbh — what the staircase outside the hearing room looks like: Think: silent protesters who duck-taped their mouths shut. Photo:

Before the hearing — Ford was pretty unrecognizable: When Christine Blasey Ford made it to Capitol Hill, “I watched her walk past nearly the entire press corps w no one else realizing it was her but one still photographer.”

So. Many. Protesters.: Here’s a photo of protesters lining a balcony in the Hart Senate Office Building:

What GOP staff is passing around: “GOP staff circulates map showing 8 miles between Blasey Ford’s home and country club after she can’t recall how she got home that night.” (h/t The Hill’s Alexander Bolton

Wow — happening on C-SPAN: “People are calling into CSPAN with their own rape stories.”



‘Fox News Sunday’ host Chris Wallace on the hearing so far: “Nobody could listen to her deliver those words and talk about the assault and the impact it had had on her life and not have your heart go out to her. She obviously was traumatized by an event.” The $$ line from Wallace: “This is a disaster for the Republicans.” Watch the clip:

This is fascinating — regrets about having a sex crimes prosecutor?: “Almost every person close to Trump who had told me having a sex crimes prosecutor question Ford was good strategy is saying they think it was a mistake after the first portion of the hearing.” (Via The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman)

An hour into the hearingPresident TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE boarded Air Force One in New York to head back to Washington, D.C. From Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: Trump did watch on the plane. 

^Photo of the TVs on Air Force One: 

Lol — I feel like this is the entire country right now: Check out the TVs on this flight. Everyone is watching the same thing.

Tidbit about the committee: “Fun fact: The Chair and Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee happen to be the two oldest members of the United States Senate - Grassley and Feinstein are each 85 years old.”

Throwback: Here are video clips from the 1991 hearing with Justice Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill

Because you’ve been hearing a lot of rumors about Kavanaugh’s accusers: The New York Times looked into five of these rumors to figure out what is true. The list:

Speaking of rumors — if you’ve seen video of bikers in D.C.: “A video of a brigade of bikers descending on DC to save the Kavanaugh nomination has been viewed 2.5 million times. It’s actually footage taken from a 2016 French motorcyclist rally.” Full story:



Plot twist — two men say they may have been the ones to assault Ford: 

Senate Judiciary Committee investigators say two men have come forward to say they may have been involved with the alleged incident with Christine Blasey Ford, not Supreme Court nominee Brett KavanaughWho are these men?: The committee hasn’t released their identities.

How this happened: “On Monday, a man submitted a written statement and spoke with staff from the Judiciary Committee after he claimed he believes he may have been involved in the alleged incident with Ford. He spoke again with investigators on Tuesday, and described his recollection of his interaction with Ford. On Wednesday, the man provided a more in-depth written statement, the panel said. On the same day, investigators from the committee spoke over the phone with a second man who believes he should be the target of Ford's allegation, not Kavanaugh.” 

OH AND — THE FIRST REPUBLICAN TO CALL FOR AN FBI INVESTIGATION: Via The Hill’s Scott Wong, Rep. Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesExperts warn Georgia's new electronic voting machines vulnerable to potential intrusions, malfunctions Georgia restores 22,000 voter registrations after purge Stacey Abrams group files emergency motion to stop Georgia voting roll purge MORE (R-N.C.) called for the FBI to investigate the allegations against Judge Brett KavanaughJones told The Hill: “I think there should be an investigation by the FBI. I really do. What in the world difference would 10 days make? Why not wait 10 days, why not wait two weeks to find out the truth?”


Wow — this is a pretty interesting New York Times cover today:

*Reaches over to hit the ‘Well That Was Bonkers’ button*: 

During a rare solo news conference yesterday, President Trump fiercely defended Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and denied the accusations against him. Trump called Kavanaugh "one of the highest-quality people I've ever met" and said he believes the three women accusing Kavanaugh are making "false accusations." How the press conference went down:



Because Washington can only handle so much news in one day: 

President Trump, who was scheduled to meet with Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinSupreme Court to hear dispute over Democrats' access to Mueller materials Republicans release newly declassified intelligence document on FBI source Steele GOP's Obama-era probes fuel Senate angst MORE amid reports that Rosenstein could be ousted, has postponed the meeting. The reason -- it's the obvious: "The president spoke with Rod Rosenstein a few minutes ago and they plan to meet next week. They do not want to do anything to interfere with the hearing," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.


Welcome to Rosslyn, you’re going to hate it here. (I kid, I kid.) 

Via The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker, President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign is considering moving its headquarters to Arlington, Va. Specifically mentioned: Rosslyn. Keep in mind: Politico’s offices are also in Rosslyn.


Spotted at the Apple store in Georgetown — oh the caption possibilities: 

Yes, that is special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE.


People have been commenting with funny captions — for example:

“So, my friend Rod needs a new computer. He has to give up his work laptop soon. What do you suggest?” 

“SHIFT-COMMAND-4 is how you screenshot tweets before they’re deleted, sir.”

Zooming into a woman’s Nike shoe in the photo, Gizmodo’s Dell Cameron captioned, “#JustDoIt” Photo:

Check out the comments under the tweet: 




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It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Buh, dum, buh, duh, dum, dum, buh, dum, dum, dum: 

Full size photos:



The House and Senate are in. President Trump just got back to the White House from New York and Vice President Pence has no public events on his schedule.

12:05 p.m. EDT: President Trump gets back to the White House.

6:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump participates in a roundtable with supporters in Washington, D.C.

12:40 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes on a nomination. The Senate’s full schedule today:

1:30 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House. The House’s full schedule today:

4 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House.

7:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump has dinner with supporters.



This morning: The Hill held an event on the evolution of telehealth. Livestream:

Sunday: Bloomberg’s John Heilemann interviewed Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick for Showtime’s “The Circus.”



Today is National Chocolate Milk Day.


Hey history buffs:

Via CNN’s Rob Picheta, the oldest animal in the world has been identified. Photo:



Via The Washington Post’s ‘Going Out Guide,’ here’s a list of the best places to celebrate Oktoberfest in Washington, D.C.


And because you made it to the end, here’s the struggle of trying to weigh a baby aardvark: