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Christine Blasey Ford prepares to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Christine Blasey Ford prepares to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. A professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (Photo:  Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Watch Live: Christine Blasey Ford Publicly Accuses Brett Kavanaugh as 'Boy Who Sexually Assaulted Me'

Highly-anticipated hearing comes a day after every Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee signed a letter calling on Trump to withdraw the nomination

Jon Queally

While critics continue to slam the entire GOP-controlled process as a "sham" designed to strip the accuser of dignity and respect, Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday morning and, mathcing prepared remarks released ahead of time, told lawmakers—and the American audience watching—that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when the two were high school students.

Kavanaugh has adamantly denied the accusations, but with his overall truthfulness already in doubt, the hearing—despite being stacked against Ford in terms of format, say Democrats and women's rights groups—will be an opportunity for members of the committee and the viewing public to put the veracity of the two witnesses side by side and make a judgement.

The hearing started just after 10:00 AM EDT. Watch:

Thursday's highly-anticipated hearing comes a day after every Democrat on the committee signed a letter to President Donald Trump calling on him to withdraw Kavanaugh's nomination.

The president, meanwhile, was in the midst of his latest unhinged—and "legitimately scary"—public performance at a press conference in New York in which he once again defended Kavanaugh from the numerous allegations that have now been levied against him by three separate and credible women who have gone on the record with their stories.

Responding to Trump's press conference, Marge Baker, executive vice president at the People For the American Way, said Trump "has no basis for dismissing the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh because he refuses to have the FBI investigate them."

As Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) put it in a tweet on Thursday morning:

The president, Baker added in her statment, "pointedly ignored direct challenges from reporters about the common gap between a sexual assault and the survivor reporting it."

Pointing out that Trump seemed overtly confused about which female accuser was which and the fact that he repeatedly cut off female reporters asking pertinent questions, Baker concluded,  "If the president cannot be bothered to even pay attention to the process, if he cannot be bothered to learn about the impact sexual assault has on women, if he cannot even respect the women in the briefing room, there's no way we can have confidence in his stewardship of this appointment process. This nomination should be withdrawn."

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