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GOP senator calls Ford ‘credible’

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyDisasters become big chunk of U.S. deficit Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks Florida politics play into disaster relief debate 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 mocks Warren over DNA test with his own results showing '1/1032 T-Rex' Romney defends Trump’s policies as ‘effective,' disputes he led 'never Trump' movement GOP fractured over filling Supreme Court vacancies in 2020 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 GrahamBrunson release spotlights the rot in Turkish politics and judiciary Saudi Arabia, Turkey to form joint investigation into Khashoggi disappearance Democrats must end mob rule 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 TillisKavanaugh tensions linger after bitter fight GOP fractured over filling Supreme Court vacancies in 2020 GOP senators call for Kavanaugh FBI findings to be made public MORE (R-N.C.), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoLawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks GOP loads up lame-duck agenda as House control teeters Republicans shift course after outside counsel falters MORE (R-Idaho) and Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseGOP senators praise Haley as 'powerful' and 'unafraid' Sasse: I encouraged Trump to pick someone other than Kavanaugh Sasse: Trump's rhetoric on Ford 'wrong' but not surprising MORE (R-Neb.), declined to comment.

So did Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump defends 0B US arms sale to Saudi Arabia Cornyn: 'All the money in the world' won't help O'Rourke win Texas Saudi Arabia, Turkey to form joint investigation into Khashoggi disappearance 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 CapitoThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Dem path to a Senate majority narrows GOP shrugs off dire study warning of global warming Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senators face Wednesday vote on Trump health plans rule | Trump officials plan downtime for ObamaCare website | Lawmakers push for action on reducing maternal deaths 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 GrassleyDems angered by GOP plan to hold judicial hearings in October American Bar Association dropping Kavanaugh review Clinton's security clearance withdrawn at her request 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 FlakeKey takeaways from the Arizona Senate debate Live coverage: McSally clashes with Sinema in Arizona Senate debate Overnight Defense: Trump says 'rogue killers' could be behind missing journalist | Sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | Saudis may claim Khashoggi killed by accident | Ex-VA chief talks White House 'chaos' | Most F-35s cleared for flight 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 KaineElection Countdown: O'Rourke brings in massive M haul | Deal on judges lets senators return to the trail | Hurricane puts Florida candidates in the spotlight | Adelson spending big to save GOP in midterms Senators warn Trump that Saudi relationship is on the line Virginia police release surveillance video from Jewish center vandalized with swastikas 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