Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.. said she was all set to vote “yes” to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh until she watched his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee — with the sound off, CNN reported Monday.
Heitkamp — one of three Democrats who voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the high court — told CNN she’d instructed her staff to begin drafting a statement explaining why she thought Kavanaugh deserved her vote.
Then psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford came forward and accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were both in high school.
“I was concerned about these allegations but willing to give him the benefit of the doubt,” she told the news outlet.
She watched Ford’s testimony. And then she watched Kavanaugh’s. And then she watched Kavanaugh’s again, but this time, with the sound off.
“It’s something I do,” she told CNN. “We communicate not only with words, but with our body language and demeanor.”
“I saw somebody who was very angry, who was very nervous, and I saw rage that a lot of people said, ‘well of course you’re going to see rage he’s being falsely accused,’ but it is at all times you’re to acquit yourself with a demeanor that’s becoming of the court,” Heitkamp said.
Heitkamp said the final straw came when Kavanaugh responded to a question from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., on whether he’d ever blacked out from drinking, by asking her the same question.
Heiitkamp, North Dakota’s former attorney general, told CNN she instinctively believed Ford.
“I certainly think I have expertise beyond a number of people within the United States Senate and that expertise is that I have sat across the desk with victims people I’ve believed when they told me their story, and I had to say,’I believe you but these cases can’t be proved beyond a reasonable doubt so we can’t proceed with the prosecution,’” she told CNN.
“And when you’ve done that, you know for a victim, the most important thing you can say is ‘I believe you’ if you do, and I think it really came down to that I believed her.”
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