GOP senator calls Ford ‘credible’

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThis week: Senate faces infrastructure squeeze GOP seeks to make Biden synonymous with inflation Funding fight imperils National Guard ops MORE (R-Ala.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, called Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony on Thursday “credible,” adding an important Republican voice to the debate on whether her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh can be believed.

“I thought she looked credible,” Shelby said of Ford. 

But Shelby was also careful to praise Rachel Mitchell, the outside counsel and sex crimes prosecutor that Republicans hired to ask questions of Ford and Kavanaugh.

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“I thought the prosecutor looked like she knew what she was doing,” he added. “I don’t know how it plays out. I said let’s see how the process works.”

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchDrug prices are declining amid inflation fears The national action imperative to achieve 30 by 30 Financial market transactions should not be taxed or restricted MORE (R-Utah), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, told reporters that Ford is a “good witness” and “articulate.”

But Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate braces for a nasty debt ceiling fight Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor How Sen. Graham can help fix the labor shortage with commonsense immigration reform MORE (R-S.C.), another member of the committee, cautioned that Kavanaugh has offered an adamant denial and argued that Ford’s claims still need to be corroborated.

“She seems very sincere but in terms about her and Kavanaugh, I really don’t know any more other than she can’t remember how she got there and how she left. That’s important to me,” he said. “I’m looking for corroboration.

“Unless something new comes forward, you have just an emotional accusation and an emotional denial without corroboration,” he added.

Other GOP members of the committee, such as Sens. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.), Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenators hail 'historic changes' as competing proposals to tackle military sexual assault advance Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor Overnight Defense: Military justice overhaul included in defense bill | Pentagon watchdog to review security of 'nuclear football' | Pentagon carries out first air strike in Somalia under Biden MORE (R-N.C.), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoHow Sen. Graham can help fix the labor shortage with commonsense immigration reform Lobbying world On The Money: Biden fires head of Social Security Administration | IRS scandals haunt Biden push for more funding MORE (R-Idaho) and Ben SasseBen SasseSasse calls China's Xi a 'coward' after Apple Daily arrest Defunct newspaper's senior editor arrested in Hong Kong Murkowski: Trump has 'threatened to do a lot' to those who stand up to him MORE (R-Neb.), declined to comment.

So did Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  MORE (R-Tenn.), one of a few Republican senators who remain undecided on Kavanaugh.

“I’m not going to make any comments until it’s all over but I am watching every word,” he said.

Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoOfficials warn of cybersecurity vulnerabilities in water systems Graham, Hawley call on Judiciary Committee to hold hearing on US-Mexico border GOP senators urge Biden to keep Trump-era border restrictions MORE (R-W.Va.) called Ford’s testimony “riveting.”

“It’s riveting and that’s all I’m going to say,” she told reporters.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi considers adding GOP voices to Jan. 6 panel Ex-Rep. Abby Finkenauer running for Senate in Iowa Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections MORE (R-Iowa) declined to answer reporters' questions as they swarmed around him during the lunch break.

“I’m going to go vote and then I’m going to go back and chair and I know you’d like to have me say something ... judgmental but I’m not going to,” he said. “I’m not going to make any judgement except that we’re going to make sure that we have a fair and thorough hearing.”

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots MORE (R-Ariz.), a key undecided GOP vote on the committee, said he would wait before rendering judgment.

“I’m glad we’re having the hearing and we’ll see where it goes,” he said.

A group of protesters yelled at Flake to “vote 'no'” when they spotted him walking back to the Dirksen office building with a group of reporters.

Democrats have praised Ford’s courage for testifying and have lauded her as thoroughly credible. Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineSenate GOP likely to nix plan Schumer feels pressure from all sides on spending strategy Manchin signals he'll be team player on spending deal MORE (D-Va.) noted that Ford's accusations appeared to be corroborated by the allegation of a second witness, Deborah Ramirez, who told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a college party.

“If you think about the story of Dr. Ford and Deborah Ramirez’s story ... the elements of drinking, multiple men in the room and assaulting somebody while you’re laughing at them, that is the element that is present in both of these stories of these very different people, in different places at different times,” Kaine said.

“It’s almost like this was abusing a woman to impress the other guys around and that similarity in both of these stories is a very powerful kind of corroboration,” he added.

Lydia Wheeler contributed