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Christine Blasey Ford’s friend: ‘She’s paid a high price’ in coming forward

Samantha Guerry, a friend of Christine Blasey Ford, says that Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony that he didn’t know Ford seemed “like an evasive answer.” Guerry talks with Amna Nawaz about watching Ford testify in front of Congress and how she might feel if Kavanaugh is confirmed.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, today, as we have been saying, senators are deciding the next Supreme Court justice from — after talking to Judge Kavanaugh and talking to Christine Blasey Ford.

    Now we hear from two people who personally know the accused and his accuser.

    And Amna Nawaz has that.

    Judy, let's first listen to another exchange from the hearing today.

    This time, it's Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island questioning Judge Kavanaugh about some of the behavior that happened during his high school years.

  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.:

    You mentioned, I think the Renate, or Renate, Renate. I don't know how you pronounce that. That's the proper name of an individual you know?

  • Brett Kavanaugh:

    Renate.

  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.:

    Renate. It's spelled with an E at the end, R-E-N-A-T-E.

    Is that…

  • Brett Kavanaugh:

    Correct.

  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.:

    OK.

    And then after that is the word alumnius. What does that alumnius mean in that context?

  • Brett Kavanaugh:

    I explained that in my opening statement.

    We — she was a great friend of ours. We — a bunch went to dances with her. She hung out with us as a group.

    The media circus that has been generated by this thought and reported that it referred to sex, it did not. Never had any — she herself said on the record — any kind of sexual interaction with her.

  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.:

    Devil's triangle?

  • Brett Kavanaugh:

    Drinking game.

  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.:

    How is it played?

  • Brett Kavanaugh:

    Three glasses in a triangle.

  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.:

    And?

  • Brett Kavanaugh:

    You ever played quarters?

  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.:

    No.

  • Brett Kavanaugh:

    OK. It's a quarters game.

  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.:

    Anne Dougherty's?

  • Brett Kavanaugh:

    As you can tell from my calender, she had a party on the Fourth of July in the beach in Delaware.

  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.:

    And there are like, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven F's in front of the Fourth of July. What does that signify, if anything?

  • Brett Kavanaugh:

    One of our friends, Squee, when he said the F-word starting at a young age, had kind of a windup to the F-word, kind of a — and then the word would come out.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • Brett Kavanaugh:

    And when we were 15, we thought that was funny.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Joining me now is Samantha Guerry, who was a classmate at the Holton-Arms School, friends with Ford at the time of the alleged assault, and continues to be today.

    Ms. Guerry, thanks for being here.

  • Samantha Guerry:

    Thank you.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    A lot has been made over the last few weeks and even today digging into the details of that high school experience, understanding what it was all about.

    You were there with then — you called her Chrissy Blasey.

  • Samantha Guerry:

    Right.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Is all this — is this ringing true, the stories that you're hearing about the parties and the culture of drinking and so on? What do you think when you hear this?

  • Samantha Guerry:

    Well, there are different elements to the stories that are coming out.

    Obviously, the drinking rings very true. The yearbook references and sort of the way the guys handled situations like that rang true. This idea that there was sort of a larger culture of gang rape doesn't ring true at all. I think we would have known that if it was going on a regular basis.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    You're talking about some of the more recent allegations that were made by another woman who accused Judge Kavanaugh.

  • Samantha Guerry:

    Some of the more recent allegations, absolutely, which is sort of playing into this whole narrative of what the culture was like.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Right.

  • Samantha Guerry:

    My personal experience is probably less relevant, because what I have heard since this has all come out, I have just had so many women of all ages and classes, but particularly around my years, come out and tell me that they had similar experiences while they were in high school.

    So, clearly, this was going on.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    When you say similar, you mean similar to what…

  • Samantha Guerry:

    Sexual assaults and rape.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    … Christine Blasey Ford had — yes.

  • Samantha Guerry:

    Yes, absolutely.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    So you have known her now for three decades-plus.

    What was it like for you just to watch her there today sharing her story, taking those questions in front of the entire country?

  • Samantha Guerry:

    Yes, it was really intense.

    We — I was there with eight or 10 of our other close friends. And we just felt her so deeply while she was giving the testimony, that we just felt pain. We felt physically pained having to hear her go through that, because we really recognize how difficult that was for her.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    So much has been made about credibility and about character. How do you think she represented herself today on those fronts?

  • Samantha Guerry:

    Well, we were just so proud of her.

    I said before her testimony that you were going to see that she was intelligent, authentic, fierce, and frightened. And she was all of those things, but, most of all, I think everyone could see that she's a very genuine, thoughtful person.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    I don't know if you got to watch the testimony or questioning of Judge Kavanaugh that followed.

    But as part of that, he was asked about whether or not he knew Christine Blasey back then. And he said he didn't. He said they traveled in the same social circles, but he didn't really know her.

    Does that ring true for you?

  • Samantha Guerry:

    No, that sounds sort of like a play on words. I mean, he did know her.

    Traveling in the — just like I knew him. It doesn't mean that we were close or friends, but we certainly knew each other. And so, to me, that seems like an evasive answer.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    There were a whole host of characters now the Senate committee has become familiar with, many Americans as well, Mark Judge, of course, Patrick "P.J." Smyth. And there was a woman, a friend of Dr. Ford's, Leland Keyser, then Leland Ingham, who Dr. Ford actually testified to the fact that she had reached out to her, although she had said she doesn't remember this night and doesn't remember being there or that it happened at all.

    Is there anything else we should understand about this friend and the role that she had that night?

  • Samantha Guerry:

    Well, if you listen to the testimony again, what you will hear in Chrissy's answer was pretty important, because what she said was that Leland had submitted her testimony to the Senate, but then she called Chrissy to apologize for it.

    And Leland — Chrissy is very close to Leland. And, as Chrissy said, Leland has had some health issues that she's struggling with. And we just kind of left it at that.

    But I think Leland has had to struggle with this a bit herself.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    You have said from the beginning — I should note that we have spoken before — and you have mentioned — and I have quoted you here saying that you don't believe your friend is invested in the outcome of this process at all, that she just wanted to be heard and have her story heard and the facts looked into.

    But, at the end of all of this, as we see now, the committee's moving ahead with a vote. If Judge Kavanaugh's is indeed confirmed to become Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh, how do you think that will go over? How do you think that will resonate with the woman that you know?

  • Samantha Guerry:

    I think she will — I think she will be gratified that she had — she saw this thing through and she said her piece.

    I can't speak to whether she's going to feel that she was properly listened to. I think there were some — being in the room, I definitely felt a strong resistance among some members of the committee to really taking in her story.

    But I think she will be disappointed. I think it will be — be kind of a blow to this larger idea that character matters and that testimony of a survivor matters, and that her credibility is assailed by people who already had an agenda and were eager to see that through, regardless of what she had to say.

    And she certainly suffered a lot. So she's paid a high price. And then she said that too. She's like, I don't really want to step in front of a train that's going to go where it's going anyways.

    So that was, as she said, a calculated risk for her.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    And a risk that she took.

    Samantha Guerry, thank you so much for being here with us today.

  • Samantha Guerry:

    Thank you.

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