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In Emotional Hearing, Kavanaugh and Blasey Present Senators With Stark Choice

“This confirmation process has become a national disgrace,” Judge Kavanaugh told the committee. “The Constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy. Since my nomination in July, there has been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation.”

He was more emotional than he has been seen in public before, his face contorted with bitterness, sniffing, teary, halting, taking deep breaths and repeated drinks of water to regain control. “My family has been destroyed by this, senator,” he said at one point. “Destroyed.”

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, came to his defense, dispensing with the careful plan to have an outside counsel do the questioning for Republicans and erupting at the Democrats for what he characterized as a political smear.

“What you want to do is destroy this man’s life,” he railed at Democrats.

Turning to Judge Kavanaugh, he said, “You’ve got nothing to apologize for.”

Then addressing the wavering Republican senators whose votes will determine this confirmation, Mr. Graham said, “To my Republican colleagues, if you vote no, you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics.”

For Dr. Blasey, the hearing was a debut on the national stage as never before. For a dozen days, she was an idea rather than a person, the focal point of one of the most polarized debates in a polarized capital without anyone having seen her, met her or heard her. But on Thursday, she became a very human being, telling a terrible story about Judge Kavanaugh and a friend in compelling terms that transformed the battle for the Supreme Court.


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