Sep 26, 2018

Kavanaugh hearings: How both sides will fight to prove their case

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

All eyes will be on Capitol Hill tomorrow as Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, his first accuser who alleges he sexual assaulted her in the 1980s, appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a public hearing at 10 a.m. ET.

Why it matters: In a year that has the seen the #MeToo movement force a reckoning in the ranks of dozens of powerful men, Trump's second Supreme Court nominee could be on the verge of being toppled by allegations of sexual assault.

What to expect: The Senate Judiciary Committee has hired Arizona sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Kavanaugh, Ford and any other witnesses that may be called.

Ford, who is expected to testify first, alleges that Kavanaugh tried to rape her, pinning her down on a bed and trying to remove her clothes before she managed to escape.

  • She has submitted sworn affidavits from four witnesses who claim she told them about the allegations between 2012 and 2017.
  • All four say Ford told them she had been sexually assaulted as a teenager by someone who is now a federal judge, while two say Ford directly named Kavanaugh as the perpetrator.
  • Ford also submitted the results of a polygraph test that indicate she was truthful during her description of the assault, but has declined to provide the therapist's notes cited by the WashPost.

In his prepared testimony, Kavanaugh will claim the same defense that has been echoed by Trump and other Republicans: these 36-year-old allegations are part of a last-minute, politically motivated smear campaign, and they are not at all consistent with the man he is today.

  • He will admit that while he wasn't perfect in high school and sometimes drank beer with friends, he never sexually assaulted anyone.
  • As evidence, Kavanaugh has submitted a calendar from the summer of 1982 purported to show he did not attend a party like the one Ford describes.

What to watch: With only one vote to spare, Kavanaugh's fate is widely thought to rest in the hands of four key Republican senators: Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake and Bob Corker.

  • Adding to tomorrow's drama are the two newer accusers, Deborah Martinez and Julie Swetnick. Martinez says he exposed himself to her at Yale, while Swetnick released a sworn declaration today alleging Kavanaugh and friends plied girls with spiked alcohol back in high school in order to sexually assault them.

The bottom line: As of now, the confirmation vote is still scheduled for Friday.

Go deeper

In photos: Protests over George Floyd's death grip Minneapolis

Protesters gather at Hennepin County Government Plaza on Thursday in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Protests in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died shortly after a police encounter in Minneapolis, are ongoing as the nation waits to see if the officers involved will be charged with murder.

The state of play: Minnesota's governor on Thursday activated the state's national guard following violent outbreaks throughout the week.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has a single novel coronavirus case after reporting a week of no new infections, the Ministry of Health confirmed on Friday local time.

By the numbers: Nearly 6 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 2.3 million have recovered from the virus. Over 357,000 people have died globally. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world with over 1.6 million.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,803,416 — Total deaths: 359,791 — Total recoveries — 2,413,576Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,720,613 — Total deaths: 101,573 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. Public health: The mystery of coronavirus superspreaders.
  4. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  5. World: Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S.
  6. 2020: The RNC has issued their proposed safety guidelines for its planned convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  7. Axios on HBO: Science fiction writers tell us how they see the coronavirus pandemic.
  8. 🏃‍♀️Sports: Boston Marathon canceled after initial postponement, asks runners to go virtual.
  9. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.