Much of America was gripped Thursday by the daylong emotional and high-stakes Senate hearing on sexual misconduct allegations concerning Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
California professor Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to recently accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct from back in 1982, when both were in high school, delivered an emotional testimony on Thursday. She recalled details of the alleged sexual assault, though also admitted she has lapses in her memory about other details surrounding that night, such as whose home she was in and how she arrived at and left the residence.
Ford talked about the yearslong trauma the alleged assault left on her, but she held firm against any suggestions she has mistaken the identity of the attacker, insisting that it was Kavanaugh. Others that Ford named as being at the party, such as her lifelong friend Leland Ingham Keyser, have written statements disputing her claim.
In his testimony, Kavanaugh unequivocally denied Ford's allegations, as well as separate accusations by two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, who have accused him of participating in or enabling further sexual misconduct.
Like Ford, Kavanaugh said that the past two weeks have seen threats and abuse hurled at his family, but he vowed not to back down against what he described as a political attack against his nomination.
Here are six key moments from the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing in Washington D.C:
1. Ford Details the Alleged Attempted Rape
Ford detailed the attempted rape, which she says occurred in the summer of 1982 in Maryland at a small house gathering.
Ford said that there were four boys in the house, namely Kavanaugh, his friend Mark Judge, another boy named P.J., and a fourth whose name she could not recall. Her female friend Leland Keyser also attended the gathering, Ford said.
Ford admitted she could not recall all the details from the night, but said she remembered that both Kavanaugh and Judge were visibly drunk. She said that she was pushed by them into a bedroom on the second floor of the house, and they locked the door behind them.
"I was pushed onto the bed, and Brett got on top of me. He began running his hands over my body and grinding into me. I yelled, hoping that someone downstairs might hear me, and I tried to get away from him but his weight was heavy," the California professor alleged.
"Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes. He had a hard time, because he was very inebriated, and because I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit underneath my clothing," she added. "I believed he was going to rape me."
Ford continued: "I tried to yell for help. When I did, Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from yelling. This is what terrified me the most, and has had the most lasting impact on my life. It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me."
She said that Judge seemed to both urge his friend on, but at other times told him to stop.
"During this assault, Mark came over and jumped on the bed twice while Brett was on top of me. And the last time that he did this, we toppled over and Brett was no longer on top of me. I was able to get up and run out of the room," she said.
"Directly across from the bedroom was a small bathroom. I ran inside the bathroom and locked the door. I waited until I heard Brett and Mark leave the bedroom, laughing and loudly walk down the narrow stairway, pinballing off the walls on the way down."
Ford explained that when she did not hear them come back up the stairs, she left the bathroom, went down the stairwell, and left the house.
Following the testimony, Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., asked Ford to clarify to what degree of certainty does she believe it was Kavanaugh who assaulted her, and would rule out a case of mistaken identity.
"100 percent," Ford answered.
2. Ford Most Remembers the Laughter
Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked Ford to share her strongest memory of the incident, the one thing she cannot forget.
Ford replied: "Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the laugh — the uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense."
Leahy asked: "You've never forgotten that laughter. You've never forgotten them laughing at you?"
Ford explained that Kavanaugh and Judge were laughing with each other.
"I was, you know, underneath one of them while the two laughed, two friend — two friends having a really good time with one another," she described.
In a separate exchange with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Ford again recalled the strongest details she remembers from the night:
"The stairwell, the living room, the bedroom, the bed on the right side of the room as you walk into the room. There was a bed to the right. The bathroom in close proximity, the laughter, the uproarious laughter, and the multiple attempts to escape and the final ability to do so," she said.
3. Ford Talks Years of Anxiety, Panic After Attack
During the questioning, Ford was asked by Senate Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein about what kind of impact the alleged attack had on her.
"Well, I think that the consequences of sexual assault varies by person, so for me personally, anxiety, phobia and PTSD-like symptoms are the types of things that I've been coping with. So more specifically, claustrophobia, panic and that type of thing," the California professor explained.
She said that the primary impact was in the first four years after event.
"I struggled academically. I struggled very much in Chapel Hill and in college. When I was 17 and went off to college, I had a very hard time, more so than others, forming new friendships and especially friendships with boys, and I had academic problems," she explained.
When asked in another instance about whether anything else in her life could have contributed to her anxiety and PTSD problems, she replied:
"I think the etiology if anxiety and PTSD is multifactorial. So that was certainly a critical risk — risk that — we would call a risk factor in science, so that would be a predictor of the symptoms that I now have.
"It doesn't mean that other things that have happened in my life would have — would make it worse or better. There are other risk factors as well."
4. Kavanaugh Says His Family, Name Have Been Destroyed
Later in the day when it was Kavanaugh's turn to testify, he did so in a 45-minute impassioned speech, where he again denied that he had anything to do with the assault Ford says she suffered.
"I denied the allegation immediately, categorically and unequivocally," the judge said of the accusations, which were first published two weeks ago.
"All four people allegedly at the event, including Dr. Ford's longtime friend, Ms. Keyser, have said they recall no such event," he said of Ford's previously mentioned female friend. "Her longtime friend, Ms. Keyser, said under penalty of felony that she does not know me, and does not believe she ever saw me at a party, ever."
He accused the committee of taking 10 whole days to set up the hearing.
"In those 10 long days, as was predictable, and as I predicted, my family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false additional accusations. The 10-day delay has been harmful to me and my family, to the Supreme Court and to the country," Kavanaugh declared.
He went on to add that there has been a "frenzy" by the left to come up with anything to block his confirmation, and noted that he has been demonized by Democrats as "evil," even before the sexual misconduct accusations came out.
Kavanaugh noted that beside the sexual misconduct allegations, he has recently been accused of various other things in the media, all of which he says are untrue.
"Crazy stuff. Gangs, illegitimate children, fights on boats in Rhode Island. All nonsense, reported breathlessly and often uncritically by the media," he listed out.
"This has destroyed my family and my good name. A good name built up through decades of very hard work and public service at the highest levels of the American government."
The Supreme Court nominee insisted that he does not question that Ford might have been "sexually assaulted by some person in some place at some time," but declared that he has "never done this" to her or to anyone.
"I intend no ill will to Dr. Ford and her family. The other night, Ashley and my daughter, Liza, said their prayers," he revealed, while tearing up. "And little Liza — all of 10 years old — said to Ashley, 'We should pray for the woman.' It's a lot of wisdom from a 10 year old. We mean — we mean no ill will."
He went on to describe the proceedings as a "circus."
"This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election. Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups," he said.
5. Lindsay Graham's Rebuke of His Colleagues
Of all the various questions, interjections, and statements by the senators present at the hearing, the one that has stirred the most talk is Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., who slated the entire process and what is being done to Kavanaugh.
"This is the most unethical sham since I've been in politics," Graham lashed out.
"Boy, you all want power. God, I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham. That you knew about it and you held it. You had no intention of protecting Dr. Ford; none," he said of Democrats, accusing them of sitting on Ford's accusations, sent to Feinstein in July, until the last weeks before Kavanaugh's confirmation vote.
Turning to the judge, he said of Ford: "She's as much of a victim as you are."
He continued: "God, I hate to say it because these have been my friends. But let me tell you, when it comes to this, you're looking for a fair process? You came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend. "
Later on, Graham said that the going-ons are "going to destroy the ability of good people to come forward because of this crap."
"You're supposed to be Bill Cosby when you're a junior and senior in high school. And all of a sudden, you got over it. It's been my understanding that if you drug women and rape them for two years in high school, you probably don't stop," he said to Kavanaugh.
Graham went on: "To my Republican colleagues, if you vote no, you're legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics."
Turning to Kavanaugh again, he concluded: "I hope you're on the Supreme Court, that's exactly where you should be. And I hope that the American people will see through this charade. And I wish you well. And I intend to vote for you and I hope everybody who's fair-minded will."
6. Kavanaugh Vows Before God He Is Innocent
The final question was given to Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., who prompted Kavanaugh to look him in the eye and answer "right in front of God and country" whether Ford's allegations are true.
Kavanaugh responded: "They are not as to me. I have not questioned that she might have been sexually assaulted at some point in her life by someone, someplace. But as to me, I've never done this; never done this to her or to anyone else."
The judge went on to deny the allegations of Ramirez and Swetnick as well, saying that he is "100 percent certain" that he committed none of the things he is being accused of.
"Not a scintilla; 100 percent certain, senator," he affirmed.
Kennedy asked him to swear to God in what he is saying, and Kavanaugh repeated in his final answer before the hearing was adjourned: "I swear to God."