Majority Whip John Cornyn walked out of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school saying he “found no reason to find her not credible.”
But by Thursday’s end, her word will be put up against Kavanaugh’s, who has denied the accusation. The third person Ford says was involved is conservative writer Mark Judge. Judge, one of Kavanaugh’s Georgetown Prep classmates who Ford said egged Kavanaugh on during the alleged assault, will not be asked to testify.
Why? Cornyn pointed out Judge has already denied Ford’s account under penalty of perjury. How Republicans have handled Kavanaugh and Judge’s denials has revealed one of the biggest double standards Ford has to overcome.
“Perjury of penalty” is enough to trust Judge, Cornyn said. But when I asked Cornyn if that applies to Ford’s testimony, his answer was slightly different. Ford sounded credible, he says, but she just said the same story that’s already been made public. So far that’s not been enough for Republicans to believe her.
Here’s the exchange with Cornyn:
Reporter: Do you believe [Mark Judge] is credible?
Cornyn: Well, he testified under penalty of perjury. That’s all I can tell you.
Tara Golshan: Is testifying under the penalty of perjury enough to establish credibility for you?
John Cornyn: Well, there is penalty for lying.
Golshan: Is that enough to establish credibility for Blasey Ford then?
Cornyn: That is certainly a strong indication that people are going to testify truthfully.
Reporter: Is she a credible witness?
Cornyn: I think she is retelling her story faithfully. Basically it’s the same thing we have heard in her letter.
For weeks, Republicans have said they had to hear from Ford before they could say whether they found her allegations credible. That they didn’t need to question Judge’s denial any further — whether with a detailed questioning from an outside prosecutor, like Republicans’ hired for Ford, or otherwise — is telling.
As Vox’s Li Zhou wrote, Ford’s testimony has shown the “great lengths” women accusers often have to go through validate their allegations. “They have to offer far more than just their word,” Zhou writes, as Ford has shown, undergoing extensive questioning, a polygraph test, and producing documentation of previous times she has brought up the alleged incident.
She might look credible, but still there’s a clear possibility that she won’t be believed.