Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino,
The ACLU recently awarded Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford. It is unclear why politicians and pundits still claim to believe Ford, given the lack of evidence in support of her serious accusations.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California recently presented Christine Blasey Ford with its Roger Baldwin Courage Award. Blasey Ford accused Brett Kavanaugh of attempted rape, nearly derailing his Supreme Court nomination.
Many Democratic politicians and members of corporate media proudly announce that they “believe” Ford and believe that Kavanaugh should be impeached.
It is unclear why these politicians and pundits claim to believe Ford, given the lack of evidence in support of her serious accusations. Here are 21 reasons reasonable people may doubt Ford’s claims about Kavanaugh.
1. There Is No Evidence that Ford and Kavanaugh Ever Met
Apart from Ford’s claim, no evidence was ever provided that Ford and Kavanaugh had ever met, much less that the party she described had occurred, much less that the assault she described occurred.
2. Leland Keyser Said She Did Not Have ‘Any Confidence’ in Her Friend’s Story
Ford said a close childhood friend named Leland Keyser was a witness to the event where the alleged assault occurred, and later told people that she was sure Keyser had driven her home. While Keyser initially felt horrible that the assault had occurred unbeknownst to her, upon a rigorous examination of her memory of the summer in question, she came to lack confidence in the tale her friend told.
Keyser was a lifelong liberal who did not want Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. This was first reported in our book “Justice on Trial,” and added to in “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh.”
3. Friends Pressured Keyser to Change Her Story
When Keyser publicly said she had no recollection of the event in question, mutual friends of hers and Ford’s pressured her to change her story. She issued another statement, still noting she had no memory of the event while adding that she believed her friend. Later, the pressure campaign to get her to change her story rubbed her the wrong way.
A recent book revealed that these friends considered releasing disparaging information about Keyser because her public statements about her lifelong friend were such a “problem.”
4. All Alleged Witnesses Strongly Dispute the Claim
In addition to Keyser, the other alleged witnesses also said they had no memory of the event in question.
It wasn’t just that they said they had no recollection of the incident, but that the allegations were difficult to believe. For instance, P.J. Smyth said, “I have no knowledge of the party in question; nor do I have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh. Personally speaking, I have known Brett Kavanaugh since high school and I know him to be a person of great integrity, a great friend, and I have never witnessed any improper conduct by Brett Kavanaugh towards women.”
5. Ford’s Father Supported Kavanaugh’s Confirmation
The Blasey family stayed conspicuously silent about the veracity of her allegations. A public letter of support for Ford that began “As members of Christine Blasey Ford’s family . . .” wasn’t signed by a single blood relative. Reached for comment by the Washington Post, her father simply said, “I think all of the Blasey family would support her. I think her record stands for itself. Her schooling, her jobs and so on,” before hanging up.
Privately, however, it appears the Blasey family had significant doubts about what Ford was trying to accomplish by making unsubstantiated allegations against Kavanaugh. Within days of Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, a fascinating encounter took place. Kavanaugh’s father was approached by Ford’s father at the golf club where they are both members.
Ralph Blasey, Ford’s father, went out of his way to offer to Ed Kavanaugh his support of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, according to multiple people familiar with the conversation that took place at Burning Tree Club in Bethesda, Maryland. “I’m glad Brett was confirmed,” Ralph Blasey told Ed Kavanaugh, shaking his hand. Blasey added that the ordeal had been tough for both families.
The encounter immediately caused a stir at the close-knit private golf club as staff and members shared the news. The conversation between the two men echoed a letter Blasey had previously sent to the elder Kavanaugh. Neither man returned requests for comment about the exchanges.
Blasey never explicitly addressed the credibility of his daughter’s allegations, but he presumably wouldn’t have supported the nomination of a man he believed tried to rape his daughter.
It wasn’t just Ford’s father. The national drama played out on a decidedly local scale as the D.C.-based family and friends of Ford’s quietly apologized to friends and family of Kavanaugh, even as the toxic political environment made it punitive for them to speak up publicly.
6. Ford Doesn’t Know the Location
Ford was unable to identify the location of the alleged assault.
After being asked under oath whether she remembered any more details about the event, she said she did not. However, in later interviews with friendly journalists (for “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh”), she elaborated on her earlier description of the house where the event allegedly occurred, speculating that it was a bachelor pad and noting that it lacked a lived-in feel. She also has changed her description of the location of the event from within a 1-mile radius of the country club to between her house and the club.
7. Ford Doesn’t Know How She Arrived
Ford was unable to say how she arrived at the location of the party where she claimed the assault occurred. Her recent retelling of the story include new speculation that she arrived with Keyser and that Keyser was her entree to the party because Keyser knew Mark Judge, details she was unable to provide when asked at the hearing.
8. Ford Does Not Know How She Got Home
Ford was unable to say how she got home, although in later versions of the story she said Keyser drove her home. Ford was frequently driven around by Keyser and by one of Ford’s brothers, making their inability to support her story a particular problem.
9. Ford Does Not Know the Date or Even What Time of Week
Ford’s lack of memory about the event included no memory of whether the event took place on a weekday or weekend.
10. Ford Somehow Remembers She Had Only One Beer, But Not Other Details
While Ford didn’t remember the location of the alleged event, when it happened, how she got there, or how she got home, she claims to remember she had precisely one beer. Ford’s high school friends reported that she was a heavy drinker at the time. It was unclear why she remembered the one beer detail and almost no other details.
11. Kavanaugh’s Contemporaneous Calendars Support His Claim
While the lack of specificity about Ford’s claims made them difficult to dispute, Kavanaugh had surprising contemporaneous evidence. He kept calendars of his daily schedule, including specifics about who attended which gatherings noted after the events. He did not have a free weekend during the summer of 1982, limiting the possible dates for the gathering that was claimed. Nor were there any events recorded similar to the one Ford described.
12. Ford Changed the Date of the Incident by Years from Her Initial Stories
Ford’s story changed many details over the years, including the year in which the assault was alleged to have occurred. She initially stated that the event occurred in the “mid-1980s” when texting the Washington Post hotline, told Sen. Dianne Feinstein that it occurred in the “early 80s,” and then finally settled on the specific summer of 1982 in the article published by the Post. She was unable to explain why her assessment of the date changed or how she ultimately determined 1982 was the correct year.
13. Character Witnesses from the Time Support Kavanaugh
When the allegations of sexual misconduct broke in the Washington Post, Kavanaugh’s female friends from high school quickly attested to his character. Some 65 women he knew in high school signed a letter about his conduct that they released in his defense. Additional groups of women signed letters after additional allegations — such as that he was a serial gang rapist who roamed the streets of suburban Maryland — were made by a client of Michael Avenatti’s.
While many Holton Arms alumnae signed a letter in support of Ford, an alumna, few attended the school at the same time as Ford or even claimed to know her.
14. Ford’s First Mention of Kavanaugh’s Name is 2012, After He Became a National Figure
Kavanaugh had been a public figure since working on Kenneth Starr’s independent counsel in the mid-1990s. From there he worked in the George W. Bush White House and went through two contentious confirmation battles to be a federal judge.
By 2012, he was identified in The New Yorker as the next likely nominee to the Supreme Court under a Republican presidency. There is no record of Ford naming Kavanaugh until that year, at best. In recent accounts, she acknowledges this year was the one in which she realized Kavanaugh had a national profile.
15. False Claims Were Made about Ford’s Inability to Fly
When the allegations were published in the Washington Post, the Senate Judiciary Committee wanted to hear from Ford immediately. After her lawyers stated publicly that she was willing to testify, the Judiciary Committee offered to fly to her and hear her testimony in an open or closed setting. While the offers to fly to her were not responded to, her lawyers told the committee she could not make an early hearing date in DC due to her fear of flying.
Under questioning from Rachel Mitchell, a sex crimes prosecutor, it was revealed that Ford did in fact fly to DC and flies regularly for pleasure, including to support her habit of global surf travel to remote islands. It was unclear why the false claims about fear of flying were made, although recent reporting suggests it may have been part of an attempt by her lawyers to delay the hearing date because, contrary to their statements, they knew their client did not want to testify and needed more time to convince her to change her mind.
16. Ford Scrubbed Her Social Media
When Ford’s claim went public, there was no social media footprint for her, while she was repeatedly presented as not particularly political. Her high school friends found that curious since she had been an active Facebook user, described as being “crazy” liberal.
17. Ford Said She Wanted to Stay Confidential, But First Call Was to Washington Post
The claim was made that Ford desired to keep her claims private. However, the first call she made about the matter was to the Washington Post tip line. And when she didn’t receive a response quickly enough, she said she would go to The New York Times if they didn’t respond soon.
Her other contact was with her members of Congress, although she claimed that she wasn’t quite sure how to contact her senator yet was able to reach her House member. Ford is a university professor with a Ph.D.
18. Ford’s Attorney Admitted a Motive of Desiring an Asterisk by Kavanaugh’s Name
Ford’s attorney admitted that she and her client were motivated by their support for abortion. The admission, first reported in Ryan Lovelace’s new book “Search and Destroy: Inside the Campaign Against Brett Kavanaugh,” was confirmed with video footage. The forthcoming pro-Ford book “Supreme Ambition” attempts to excuse Katz by claiming Lovelace misheard garbled audio of the event, but her words are in fact quite clear on the recording.
Tarnishing the reputation of a justice who would have the power to overturn abortion precedent Roe v. Wade “was part of what motivated Christine,” her attorney Debra Katz said. “Elections have consequences, but he will always have an asterisk next to his name,” she said of Kavanaugh.
19. Ford Has Benefited Politically, Financially, and Socially
The ACLU’s “Courage” award was not the first award bestowed on Ford. She has received several awards and accolades from liberal organizations, ranging from Sports Illustrated and Time Magazine to the YWCA, and near universal acclaim from the politicians whose views she shares. Nearly $1 million was raised for her in GoFundMe accounts. Ford has also been able to recast her troubled adolescence as a result of trauma at Kavanaugh’s hands.
20. Nothing in Kavanaugh’s Past Remotely Similar to the Claim for 37 Years
While sexual assailants usually don’t stop at one violent sexual assault, nothing in Kavanaugh’s past even remotely matches Ford’s claims. His dozens, if not hundreds, of female friends — including several ex-girlfriends — vouch for his character and have done so against unbelievable pressure campaigns. Even the anti-Kavanaugh authors of “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh” acknowledge that they were unable to find any evidence of sexual misconduct in the past 30 years despite extensive digging.
21. Memory Manipulation?
Believing, in keeping with the evidence, that Ford’s story is not accurate does not require a conclusion that she is lying. Scientific research shows that memories of traumatic events are malleable and that some types of therapy are particularly likely to introduce false elements into memory.
Ford has attempted to use discussions with her marriage therapist as evidence for her recalling this event as early as 2012, but has refused to release those notes to confirm that claim or to allow an assessment of whether therapeutic techniques known to introduce false memories were employed in those sessions. Without external corroboration of her story — and there is none — it is impossible to conclude that her allegations are true even if one believes she is completely sincere in making them.