GOP senator calls Ford ‘credible’

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyCongress hunts for path out of spending stalemate This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week 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 HatchTrump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals Trump to award Medal of Freedom to former Attorney General Edwin Meese 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 GrahamLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment drama will dominate this week 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 TillisThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' Trump rules out total rollback of Chinese tariffs MORE (R-N.C.), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoEleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid GOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe Nearing finish line, fight for cannabis banking bill shifts to the Senate MORE (R-Idaho) and Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseTrump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition Trump has officially appointed one in four circuit court judges Senators press NSA official over shuttered phone surveillance program MORE (R-Neb.), declined to comment.

So did Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing GOP senators frustrated with Romney jabs at Trump 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 CapitoHillicon Valley: Facebook to remove mentions of potential whistleblower's name | House Dems demand FCC action over leak of location data | Dem presses regulators to secure health care data Senators introduce bill to create 'parity' among broadband programs Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump 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 GrassleyFalling investment revives attacks against Trump's tax cuts Overnight Health Care: CDC links vitamin E oil to vaping illnesses | White House calls Pelosi drug price plan 'unworkable' | Dem offers bill for state-based 'Medicare for All' White House says Pelosi plan to lower drug prices 'unworkable' 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 FlakeLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Kelly, McSally virtually tied in Arizona Senate race: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing 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 KaineProgressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising Lawmakers wager local booze, favorite foods in World Series bets José Andrés: Food served in the Capitol came from undocumented immigrants 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