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Christine Blasey Ford details allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in first on-the-record interview to The Washington Post

Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University in California, told The Washington Post in a report published online Sunday that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s. Ford said that at a gathering of high school students, Kavanaugh and another friend corralled her to a bedroom where Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and groped her, adding that she feared he might kill her. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations. NewsHour’s Lisa Desjardins joins Hari Sreenivasan for more.

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    This afternoon Christine Blasey Ford, a research psychologist and professor of Palo Alto University came forward as the author of a previously anonymous letter that alleges that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. In an exclusive interview with The Washington Post, Ford says that in the early 1980s, during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County, Maryland, "Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes." Ford says she was able to run away.

    Joining us now from Washington D.C. is NewsHour correspondent Lisa Desjardins. Lisa, summarize the Post's reporting a little bit. What does she say happened?

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Right. This woman now coming forward alleges that Kavanaugh and his friend, a man by the name of Mark Judge is the one she's accusing here, corralled her into a back bedroom. That's where she says Kavanagh attacked her. She says both of them were falling down drunk at the time. She said she did try to protest; she said no one outside the room heard her. She says she was able to get away when the other person, she says, who was in the room, Mark Judge, fell on both of them and there was a tumble and she ran into a bathroom [and] locked herself into it.

    Now, Judge Kavanaugh, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, has said unequivocally and categorically, he denies this ever happened. His friend, Mark Judge, has said he has no memory of it. He says this allegation is nuts. And of course, the White House has responded by sending out letters from women who knew Kavanaugh in high school. Obviously, a lot of questions raised here but this woman is now coming forward with some serious allegations.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    So Lisa, why did this woman come forward now?

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    She says she did not speak of it at all for decades and that she only spoke specifically about this incident in 2012 when she was in couples therapy with her husband. Her husband has corroborated that to The Washington Post. He details a story that she told him in therapy that is exactly what she has told The Washington Post. He says that this came up twice, at least twice in their couples therapy.

    She said she did not want to talk about it until that point that she realized it had affected her and was affecting her relationship. Why is she coming out now? The Washington Post says that she feels details of her story had been put out without her and that some details were erroneous. She felt like it was going to be out there regardless and that she had to come forward.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Finally here we are on the eve of this nomination. There are already responses from senators on both sides of the aisle?

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Right. I'm looking at my e-mail now. Within two hours, we saw a lot of responses. Maybe, the most important one is about the process. We now have the Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer is asking him for a delay in the hearing. But the man who controls that timing, Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee put out a lengthy statement mostly questioning the timing of this. He said these are uncorroborated accusations from 35 years ago, why didn't Democrats bring this into the daylight before. And then of course Senator Feinstein who is the person that knew about these allegations in July, says she did not bring them out because the woman requested anonymity.

    What we don't know is Hari, if this will lead to a delay in his vote, which is scheduled right now for Thursday. We don't know if this will actually mean another hearing? Will this woman testify before Congress? Will the FBI open an investigation, which it has said it was not going to do. A lot of questions tonight.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    All right. Lisa Desjardin of the NewsHour, thanks so much.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    You're welcome.

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