Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Brett Kavanaugh are serious. She is accusing him of violent attempted rape. “I thought he might inadvertently kill me. He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing,” she told The Washington Post, recounting the alleged incident at a high school party “one summer in the early 1980s.”
But her story is also growing less believable by the day. Here are eight reasons why it’s hardly “anti-woman” for senators to question her account at Thursday’s hearing:
1) For starters, Ford still can’t recall basic details of what she says was the most traumatic event in her life. Not where the “assault” took place — she’s not sure whose house it was, or even what street it was on. Nor when — she’s not even sure of the year, let alone the day and month.
Ford’s not certain how old she was or what grade she was in when she says an older student violently molested her. (But she doesn’t plead inebriation: She described having just “one beer” at the party.)
2) Ford concedes she told no one what happened to her at the time, not even her best friend or mother. That means she can rely on no contemporaneous witness to corroborate her story.
3) Worse, the four other people she identified as attending the party, including Kavanaugh, all deny knowledge of the gathering in question, including Leland Ingham Keyser, who she calls a “lifelong friend.”
Keyser’s lawyer told the Senate Judiciary Committee: “Simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with or without Dr. Ford.”
The other two potential witnesses — Mark Judge and Patrick “P.J.” Smyth — also deny any recollection of attending such a party. The committee took their sworn statements “under penalty of perjury.” “These witnesses directly contradict Professor Ford’s allegations against Judge Kavanaugh,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley advised Ford’s attorneys last week.
Ford claimed that Kavanaugh talked to Keyser and Smyth right after he assaulted her. Yet neither shares her memory.
This is, to say the least, highly problematic for her case. No witness corroborates any part of her story.
4) Her own immediate family doesn’t appear to be backing her up, either. Her mother, father and two siblings are all conspicuously absent from a letter of support released by a dozen relatives, mostly on her husband’s side of the family.
The letter attests to her honesty and integrity. “Why didn’t her parents and brothers sign the letter?” a congressional source familiar with the investigation wondered.
5) This summer, Ford tried to reach out to old friends from high school and college to jog her memory. They couldn’t help her. “I’ve been trying to forget this all my life, and now I’m supposed to remember every little detail,” Ford complained to one friend in July, according to an account in The San Jose Mercury News.
6) Yet she still pushed forward with her bombshell charge, contacting The Washington Post tip line and Democratic lawmakers, while hiring a Democratic activist lawyer. Ford is also a Democrat, as well as an anti-Trump marcher, raising questions about the motive and timing of the allegations along with their veracity.
7) Ford contends that notes her therapist took in 2012 corroborate her account. But they don’t mention Kavanaugh.
They also point up inconsistencies in her story. For instance, her shrink noted that Ford told her there were “four boys” in the bedroom, not two as she now says. The notes also indicate Ford said she was in her “late teens” when she was assaulted. But Ford now says she may have been only 15.
8) In another inconsistency, Ford told The Washington Post she was upset when Trump won in 2016, because Kavanaugh was mentioned as a Supreme Court pick. But Kavanaugh wasn’t added to Trump’s list of possibles until November 2017, a full year later.
On top of all that, Kavanaugh “unequivocally denied Dr. Ford’s allegations . . . under penalty of perjury” during a Sept. 17 interview with committee lawyers, Grassley said, adding he was “forthright and emphatic in his testimony” and “fully answered all questions.”
The sworn interview will no doubt be used to test the consistency and veracity of his public statements Thursday.
Yet Democrats have already tried and convicted Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Without hard evidence, without substantiation, some even go beyond Ford’s claims to call him an out-and-out “rapist,” “sexual predator,” even a “child predator.”
As a result, Kavanaugh and his family, “including his two young daughters, have faced serious death threats and vicious assaults,” Grassley said. “And they’re getting worse each day.”
Ford, who also has received threats, is by all accounts a respected scientific researcher in the field of psychology with an impressive pedigree. While that makes her credible, the same can’t be said for her story. Unless she can fill in the many holes, Kavanaugh still deserves the presumption of innocence.