GOP senator calls Ford ‘credible’

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyOn The Money: Trump leaves GOP in turmoil with shutdown looming | Trump names Mulvaney acting chief of staff | China agrees to 3-month freeze of auto tariffs | Dem to seek Deutsche Bank records of Trump's personal finances The Hill's Morning Report — Trump maintains his innocence amid mounting controversies Trump leaves GOP in turmoil with shutdown looming 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 HatchHatch walks back remarks that he didn't 'care' if Trump broke the law ‘It’s called transparency’ works for Trump on TV, not so much on campaign finance Hatch warns Senate 'in crisis' in farewell speech 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 GrahamOcasio-Cortez: By Lindsey Graham's 1999 standard for Clinton, Trump should be impeached Senate votes to end US support for Saudi war, bucking Trump Former FBI official says Mueller won’t be ‘colored by politics’ in Russia probe 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 TillisSenate votes to overturn IRS guidance limiting donor disclosure GOP tensions running high on criminal justice bill Trump tells McConnell to let Senate vote on criminal justice reform MORE (R-N.C.), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoSenators offer measure naming Saudi crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi slaying Banking panel showcases 2020 Dems On The Money: Why the tax law failed to save the GOP majority | Grassley opts for Finance gavel, setting Graham up for Judiciary | Trump says China eager for trade deal | Facebook reeling after damning NYT report MORE (R-Idaho) and Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseCNN to partner with The Des Moines Register on polling ahead of 2020 Iowa caucuses Sasse calls on DOJ to investigate its handling of wealthy sex offender's plea deal Beto O'Rourke seen as a top contender in 2020: poll MORE (R-Neb.), declined to comment.

So did Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerThe Hill's 12:30 Report – Cohen says Trump knew payments were wrong | GOP in turmoil over Trump shutdown threat | Kyl to resign from Senate at year's end The Hill's Morning Report — Trump maintains his innocence amid mounting controversies Overnight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force 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 CapitoTrump leaves GOP in turmoil with shutdown looming House passes bipartisan bill aimed at reversing rising maternal mortality rates Dole salute embodies emotion of Bush farewell 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 GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Year Ahead: Tough tests loom for Trump trade agenda Senate heads toward floor fight on criminal justice bill Top security officials issue stark warning of Chinese espionage efforts 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 FlakeThe Hill's 12:30 Report – Cohen says Trump knew payments were wrong | GOP in turmoil over Trump shutdown threat | Kyl to resign from Senate at year's end Overnight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force Flake asks Daily Show where he can get a blanket emblazoned with his 'meaningless tweets' 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 KaineTim Kaine: Trump was 'fact-checked to his face' by Pelosi, Schumer While G-20 Summit was promising for US- China trade relations, Congress must still push for an exclusion process Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Border deployment 'peaked' at 5,800 troops | Trump sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | Senators offer bill to press Trump on Saudis | Paul effort to block Bahrain arms sale fails 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