tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC September 27, 2018 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
tonight, we hear from christine blasey ford, detailing her allegation of sexual ul as against supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh. >> it wasd harr me to breathe and i thought brett was accidently going to kill me. >> dr. ford, with what odegree of certainty you believe brett kavanaugh a you?d >> 100%. >> then judge kavanaugh, his defiant denial with flashes of anger and high emotion at times in tears. >> i've never sexual assaulted anyone. not in high school, not in college, not
ever. atis confirmion process has become a national disgrace. >> people across the country in homes and offices, campuses and trains and planes river vett riveted by every moment watching anger boil over. >> this is the most unethical sham since i've been in politics. >> tonight we have reaction from the the senators with the supreme court nomination hanging in the balance and from the white house where the presint was watching after a day for the history books. were any minds changed? and what happens now? >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with les holt. good evening. it has been a day that will go down in the history books. become oneto of those where were you when it happened moments. a maratn day of e estimony as we heard for rst time publicly with dr. christine blasey ford.
dr. ford unwavering inr ertainty that brett kavanaugh sexual assaulted her in the and judge kavanaugh appearing shortly after at times angrily, even tearfully denying it ever happened. there were outbursts from senators and partisan fights as ll ns across the country sat captivated by every moment. weave late action from across the capitol and in the white house but first peter alexander on the dramatic back and forth. >> reporter: the setting was historic. chriine blasey ford's testimony at timing heros. >> i'm not here today not because i want to be. i a am terrified. i believe it's my civic duty the tell you what happened to me. a> reporter: ford speakiut an alleged assault more than 30 years ago she says took place during a teenge gathering suburban d.c. she says brett kavanaugh and his friend mark judge were
there. nd mark came into the bedroom and locked the door behind them. there was music playing in the bedroom. it was turned up louder by either brett or mark once we wer in the room. i was pushed onto the bed and brett got on top of me. he began running his hands over my body and grinding into me. i yelled hoping that stairs down might hear me. and i tried to get away from him but h weight was heavy. brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes. he had a hard time because he was very inebriated and because i was wearing a e-piece bathing suit underneath my clothing. i belied he was going to rape me. i tried to yell for help. when i did, brett put h hid over my mouth to stop me from syelling. thishat terrified
me the most and had the most lasting impact on my life. it was hard for me to breathe and i thought that brett was accintly going to kill me. >> reporter: ford remembers looking over at judg>> mark seemed to be urging brett on and at timeelling him to stop. a couple of times i made eye contact with mark and thought he might try to help me but heid not. during this assault, mark came over and jumped on the bed twice while brett was on top of me, and t last time that he did this, we toppled over and brett was no longer on top of me. >> reporter: the psychology professor asked aer strongest memory from that night. >> indelible in the hippa campus is the laughter. the uproaous laughter between the two and they're having
fun at my expense. eg >> with whate of certainty do you believe brett kavanaugh assaulted you? >> 100%. >> reporter: then it was kavanaugh's turn entering the room after ford left offering a forceful deny. >> my family and my name have been totally and pearl innocermanently destroyed. i was not at the party described by dr. ford. this confirmation process hasbecome a national disgrace. the constitution gives the senate an important role in the confirmation process. but you have replaced advice and const with search and destroy. since my nomination inly there has been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmaon. reporter: kavanaugh on multiple occasions fighting back tears
proclaiming his innocence. >> i'm not questioning that dr. ford may have been sexual assaulted by some person in some time at but i have never done this to her or to anyone. am.at's not who i it is not who i was. i am innocent of this charge. i intend no ill will to dr. ford and her family. the other night ashley and my daughter liza id their prayers and little liza all of 10 years old said to ashley, we should pray for the woman. that's a lot of wisdom from a 10-year-old. >> reporter: the judge isputingcally ford's charges. >> dr. ford's allegation is not merely rrunorated.
it is refuted by the heery people she says was t including by a long-time friend of hers, refuted.sh says confidently that she had o beer at the party, but she does not say how she got to the house in question or howhe got home, or whose house it was. >> reporter: and talking ais own drinking. >> i drank beer with my friends. did.ost everyone sometimes i had too many beers. sometimes others did. i liked beer. i still like beer. but i did not drink beer to the point of blacking out and i never sexual assaulted anyone. >> ms. mitchell, you have my five minutes to ask questions. >> reporter: the 11 republican senators all of them men turning over their questioning of fordo veteran sex crime prosecutor rachel mitchell. >> we haven met. my name is rachel mihell. >> nice to meet you. >> reporter: the format with mitchell given five-minute chunks at times
award. democrats pressing kavanaugh if he wants an fbi investigation. >> persally, do you think that's the best thing for us to do? ,you want to answer? >> lo senator, i've -- i've said i wanted a hearing and i id i was welcome to anything. i'm innocent. >> reporter: the most heated moment coming from lindsey graham livering a fiery attack on his democratic colleagues. >> when you say sotomyer tell them i voted for them. i'd never do what you tid to this guy. this i most ethical sham since i've been in politics. >> at one point ford called running into mark judge at a safe way weeks after the alleged incident. >> i said hello to him. and his face was white elnd very uncomfortable
saying back. i couldn't characterize him as not friendly. he was nervous and not really wanting to speak with me and he ill. d a little >> reporter: judge denies ford's allegations. in the end, the heings focus two people facing perhaps what's the most ng moment of their lives. ford. >> i anticipate needing caffeine if that is available. >> reporter: clearly nervous thrust into the national spotlight. us>> i've been a of acting out of partisan political motives. those w that do not know me. i am an independent person and no one's pawn. >> reporter: kavanaugh's parents and wife came to defend his reputation. defeat mey in the final vote but you'll never get me to it, never. >> reporter: whatever the senate decides to do kavanaugh's nomination, today was another pivotal day in american politics. deeplyd personal emotional with an already divisive era.
lester? ter, thank you. ford like kavanaugh seen her life turned upside down since going pub hc but story is inspiring ot silence.ak their the national sexual assault hot line seen a 147% spike in calls since she came forward. our kate snow has more on her words, more from her own words and her own voice heard publicly today for the first time. >> thanks, of course, to dr. ford. >> rorter: the moment dr. christine blasey ford was introduced, you would see the fear in her shaking voice. >> theetails about that night that bring me here today are the ones i will never forget. they have been sered into my memory arm r af describing in detail what happened a washington bedroom in the early '80s. >> both brett andark re drunkenly laughing during the attack. >> reporter: dr. ford didn't tell anyone at
the time. >> i convinced myself because brett did not rape me, i should just move on and just pretend that it didn't happen. t>> reporter: ove years, she said she did tell a few friends and her husband that she had been assaulted but didn't name kavanaugh until 2012. she and her husband were renovating he said andt he could understand why she wanted two ways out of the front of their house. >> in explaining why i wanted a second front door, began to describe the assault in detail. saying that the boy who assaulted me could some day be on the u.s. supreme court. >> reporter: there were dethe couldn't provide who drove her on that day, where exactly the party was, h she got home. but the professor of psychology said because it was so trmatic, her memory of kavanaugh's identity is so vivid. >> how are you so sure it was he? >> the same way that i'm sure i'm talking to you right >> both dr. ford and judge kavanaugh have been through a
>> reporter: the republican chairman chuck grassley and sdemocraticators praised ford for her bravery. >> there are litterally hundreds of thousands p ple watching your testimony right now and note after note i got, people in tears feeling pain and anguish, not just feeling your pain but feeling their own. >> reporte people like brenda, a 76-year-old who called in to c-span today to say she was molested in the second grade. >> this brings bk so much pain. i thought i was over it but it's not. you will ner forget it. >> reporter: ford said she's received death threats, her family forced t movetwice. >> these past couple weeks have been the hardest of my life. i've had to relive this trama in front of tehe world. >> rep today the world heard her story. kate snow, nbc news, new york s where is all this going? our team has been fanned out across the capitol getting late reaction from senators as the cliff hanger reaches the critical
be a vote and does kavanaugh have the votes to be confirmed? kasie hunt takes the temperature where things stand. >> reporter: a o combative day capitol hill before took the stand.ver after it began, judge kavanaugh's republican allies acknowledging dr. ford was compelling. >> i found no reason to find her not credible. >> her story under d questioning from sex crimes prosecutor rach mitchell. >> brett kavanaugh's name is not in those notes, correct? >> correct. >> reporter: she began questioning kavanaugh until lindsey graham took his turn. she remained in the room in silence. graham was visibly angry in the halls. >> what happened to her? i don't know. why don't you believe him? i ist about him you don'tto want elieve? >> reporter: dismissing a woman who approached to say she had been rape >> 13 years ago, don't remember -- do you believe me? >> reporter: democrats
show support for dr. rd >> i don't know how any republican watching this testimony could possibly vote for brett kavanaugh after orhat she said. >> rr: as the day-long hearing continued into the devening, at least four undeci republican senators who mattered most weren't tipping their hands on how they will vote. ben sash shook dr. ford's hand. not in the room lisa murkowski. epublicanall senators are summoned to a conference meeting to talk about the way forwd. those that are defending kavanaugh are pushing for a committee vote at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow morning. but right now, we just don't know the answer to that critical question do they have 50 votes to confirm kavanaugh?le er? >> kasie hunt, thank you. at the white house
ey were river vettted. >> reporter: president trump right now stands by his man making that very clear in a new tweet writing judge kavanaugh showed damerica why i nominaim saying his testimony was powerful, honest and riveng. the president slamming democrats telling m senators theyt vote. i'm told by sources familiar that the president was particularly pleaswi what he viewed as a strong opening statement by kavanaugh and that came at a critical momen because allies of the president had been aneeling grim after what viewed as compelling testimony from christine blasey ford. president trump wanted to see fire. that's what he got. if key republican senators don't back him, the president's support just doesn't matter. much more ahead including where were you wahing? the nation captivated you wahing? the nation captivated your mornings were made for better things, than psoriatic arthritis. as you and your rheumatologist consider treatments, ask if xeljanz xr is right for you. xeljanz xr is a once daily pill for psoriatic arthritis.
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ings changed, many chan watching and listening. we get more from nbc's tie beck. >> reporter: daily routines in america stood still today in workplaces, on trains and on planes. inside doctor's offices, bars and on colle campuses. people of all ages stopped, watched and listened glued to the nearest screen. >> i know so many women that have been sexual assaulted and i know how hard it is for them to be heard and for them to be believed. >> reporter: the high court controrsy ptivating students at yale law school where kavanaugh is an alimb. >> has incredible es for the highest court in our country. >> reporter: still others firmly trust kavanaugh. >> was pretty much mind made up before her testimony. >> reporter: and your hope is this goes fihrough. >> tely. >> reporter: for some, nothing seemed certain, even after hoursfmotional
testimony. >> more facts on how things happened and more proof of it. >> repter: more evidence? >> yes. >> reporter: with protests erupting on both sides, some still see a silver lining regardless of th outcome. >> hopefully, oth women who have experienced the same ing then can be empowered to speak out. >> reporter: today a nation united by a hearing but still politically divided. hearing but still politically divided. catie beck, nbc news.
we are sad to report ac discovery in a search we've been telling you about here for a missingoy with autism in north carolina. after a massive search, police believe -ohey found the body of 6-ye maddox rich about a mile from the park where he disappeared saturday o ea charlotte. the fbi says it's too early to determine whether foul py was involved. new troubles for tesla ceo elon musk.
>> reporter: we're not like this where the television camera allowed the people of this country to serve as the grandest of juries for over 60 years. since mccarthy's search for communist thwarted by a r rhetorical question. >> have you no sense of decency, sir. >> reporter: to the exposing of richard nixon's cruption in the watergate hearings. >> if there was a cancer growing on the presidency. >> reporter: the nation witnessed the same event making s about where the truth lay. today's hearing was held in a room with 47 chairs in the gallery but an audience of millions who will deci for themselve who to believe. judge kavanaugh steadfast in his denial. >> i've never sexual assaulted anyone. >> reporter: dr. ford certain it was him. >> 100%. >> reporter: the quiver in her voice, rshe harrowing details, the that nearly fell. >> i am here today not because i want to be. i armurefiem terrified.
>> telling the world is the most difficult experience of my life. >> reporter: anita hill told the story saying thomas clearance sexually harassed her. she was subjected to the appalling behavior of judiciary committee members. >> are you a scorned wo>>n? no. >> reporter: anita hill's legacy vibrated in today's hearing. senators careful not to attack dr. ford personally in thee o world where in the past year women's stories of sexual misconduct have brought down many powerful men. and there is something else, a nation deeply divided. can we at this poi in history look at the same event and see the same thing? or will the triable politics make the power of the public hearing room vast? >> we'll likely be talking ahis day and playing it back for a long time to