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GOP senator calls Ford ‘credible’

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyFive takeaways from Biden's first budget proposal Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists Biden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike 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 HatchPress: Forget bipartisanship — it's dead! Privatization of foster care has been a disaster for children Remembering Ted Kennedy highlights decline of the Senate 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 GrahamMSNBC's Joy Reid pans Manchin, Sinema as the 'no progress caucus' Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists Biden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike 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 TillisThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings GOP senator recovering from surgery for prostate cancer Congress must address the toxic exposure our veterans have endured MORE (R-N.C.), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoTrump faces test of power with early endorsements The Hill's Morning Report - Biden shifts on filibuster Senators urge Energy chief to prioritize cybersecurity amid growing threats MORE (R-Idaho) and Ben SasseBen SasseTo encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision Maine GOP rejects motion to censure Collins Senators urge Energy chief to prioritize cybersecurity amid growing threats MORE (R-Neb.), declined to comment.

So did Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSenate GOP faces retirement brain drain Roy Blunt won't run for Senate seat in 2022 It's time for Biden's Cuba 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 CapitoBiden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start Moderate GOP senators and Biden clash at start of infrastructure debate America's infrastructure: You get what you pay for 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 GrassleyNumber of migrants detained at southern border reaches 15-year high: reports Grassley, Cornyn push for Senate border hearing The Hill's Morning Report - GOP pounces on Biden's infrastructure plan 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 FlakeFive reasons why US faces chronic crisis at border Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain Former GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' 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 KaineOvernight Defense: Congress looks to rein in Biden's war powers | Diversity chief at Special Operations Command reassigned during probe into social media posts Congress looks to rein in Biden's war powers House panel advances bill to repeal 2002 war authorization 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