‘I don’t expect that PJ and Leland would remember this evening… Leland has significant health challenges, and I’m happy that she’s focusing on herself…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) After a lunch recess, set for 30 minutes, that lasted closer to an hour, the intensity of the mostly cordial Senate Judiciary hearings seemed to pick up slightly.
However, those hoping for an ‘aha’ moment were likely let down by the mostly tame proceedings.
Republican interrogator Rachel Mitchell appear to ratchet up the pressure on Ford in her line of questioning as to how Ford’s fees were being paid and who had advised her of certain steps, such as taking a polygraph test.
Ford’s attorney Deborah Katz stepped in: “Let me put an end to this mystery. Her lawyers have paid for this polygraph… as is routine.”
In subsequent inquiry, it was established that Katz had been recommended as an attorney by the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Mitchell also directed some questions to Ford about other ways that her costs might be covered in addition to her personally financing them.
“I’m aware that there’s been several GoFundMe sites that I haven’t had a chance to manage,” Ford said.
Her attorneys acknowledged that both were working on a pro-bono basis.
The aim seemed to be to establish links between Katz’s office and groups like Demand Justice, a left-wing advocacy group led by former Hillary Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon and former Feinstein staffer Paige Herwig, which has been active in the campaign to attack and undermine Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court.
Although Mitchell raised the suggestion of outside political funding and influence, she did not press further during the interrogation.
Interspersed with Mitchell’s inquiry were the five-minute intervals of praise from some of the more outspoken–and amtitious–Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee.
Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono, New Jersey’s Corey Booker and California’s Kamala Harris continued to praise Ford for coming forward and to remind her, as Harris observed, “You are not on trial.”
Mitchell also seemed to rattle Ford slightly by inquiring about the nature of her relationship with Chris Garrett, a mutual friend of Ford’s and the two accused assaulters, Kavanaugh and Mark Judge.
Garrett was first publicly identified–and implicated as someone who may have committed the assault instead of Kavanaugh–by Ed Whelan last week. Whelan–a friend of Kavanaugh’s and president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center–later recanted and apologized for publicly naming Garrett before taking a leave of absence from the center.
Ford resisted bringing Garrett into the testimony, pointedly declining to name him specifically. “I just don’t feel like it’s right for us to be talking about that,” she said.
However, she clarified, “He was somebody that I used the phrase,’ I went out with,’ for a couple months… after that we were distant friends and ran into each other periodically.”
When pressed on the question of why her close friend and confidant Leland Ingham Keyser had not acknowledged any memory of the party, Ford said, “Leland has significant health challenges, and I’m happy that she’s focusing on herself and getting the health treatment that she needs.”
She said Keyser’s role in the case all had been handled through an attorney.
But Ford added that she had not chosen immediately after the party to discuss the alleged assault with Keyser.
“I don’t expect that PJ [Patrick Smyth] and Leland would remember this evening—it was a very unremarkable party [for them]. It was not one of their more notorious parties… Mr. [Mark] Judge is a different story. I would expect that he would remember that this happened.”