Any hope that Senate Republicans would give Dr. Christine Blasey Ford a fair hearing during her testimony on Thursday was quickly dashed by Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley, who opened the hearing with a partisan screed that was equal parts attack on Dr. Ford and full-throated defense of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
After initially paying lip-service to making Ford “comfortable,” Grassley blamed Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein for keeping Ford’s allegations secret—something Ford herself had requested. He went on to equate the experiences of Ford, an alleged victim of sexual assault, and her accused abuser, Kavanaugh, saying that “both... been through a terrible couple weeks.”
Grassley went on to complain about requests for the FBI to investigate Ford’s claims—something she, and Senate Democrats, have explicitly asked for—by quoting former Vice President Joe Biden’s statements during the 1991 Anita Hill sexual harassment hearing against now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
“The FBI doesn’t perform any credibility assessments or verify the truth of any events in these background investigations,” Grassley said. (The FBI did, in fact, investigate Hill’s allegations.)
Grassley also paradoxically blamed Ford and her attorneys for not cooperating with his committee, while making zero reference to the fact that Senate Republicans have been operating in extraordinarily bad faith throughout the lead-up to the hearing—going to far as to essentially admit that they plan on voting to confirm Kavanaugh regardless of Ford’s testimony.
After concluding his remarks, Grassley allowed the committee’s ranking member Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein to make her opening statement. But he almost immediately forcefully interrupted Feinstein, after she said that she would introduce Dr. Ford.
This thing is already off to a terrible start.
Here’s the full, horrible thing.