Senate Republicans, through less brash methods than the president’s, have ramped up their effort to discredit Christine Blasey Ford with a sworn statement from a man professing to be Ford’s former boyfriend and contradicting answers she gave before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In the statement obtained by Fox News on Tuesday, the ex-boyfriend claims Ford had helped her close friend prepare for a polygraph test, despite Ford’s statement to the Judiciary Committee that she had never “given tips or advice” to anyone preparing to take a polygraph test.
The redacted statement by the ex-boyfriend, who has remained anonymous, also claims that Ford had not, in the six years the two dated, expressed a fear of flying or of “closed quarters, tight spaces, or places with only one exit.”
Ford stood by her testimony, and a source told Politico that she “is not going to get into a tit-for-tat.”
The friend mentioned in the statement, Monica McLean, denied the polygraph claim. “I have NEVER had Christine Blasey Ford, or anybody else, prepare me, or provide any other type of assistance whatsoever in connection with any polygraph exam I have taken at any time,” she told Politico in response.
The ex-boyfriend said he had dated Ford from 1992 to ’98, and he said he “found her truthful and maintain no animus towards her.” According to the New York Times, the ex-boyfriend is Brian Merrick, who said, in an article in the Wall Street Journal, that he met Ford while she was pursuing a master’s degree at Pepperdine University and found her “sweet, cute and with a good attitude.”
He wrote in the letter that Ford had never mentioned Kavanaugh to him, which is consistent with her testimony that she did not tell anyone about the alleged assault until 2002. He told the Journal he found it odd Kavanaugh had not come up in their relationship, “but I would never try to discredit what she says or what she believes.”
He also said he broke up with Ford when they were dating long-distance and he found out she had been “unfaithful” while she was living in Hawaii. He said she continued to use a credit card they shared nearly a year after the breakup. “When confronted, Dr. Ford said she did not use the card, but later admitted to the use after I threatened to involve fraud protection,” he said. He said they had not been in contact much since.
The part of his statement that Kavanaugh supporters seized on related to an anecdote about McLean, whom he described as Ford’s “life-long best friend” and who was allegedly interviewing for a job with the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office at some point in the 1990s. “I witnessed Dr. Ford help McLean prepare for a potential polygraph exam,” he wrote. “Dr. Ford explained in detail what to expect, how polygraphs worked and helped McLean become familiar and less nervous about the exam. Dr. Ford was able to help because of her background in psychology.”
Here is the exchange from the hearing between her and outside prosecutor Rachel Mitchell that Kavanaugh supporters have pointed to as being potentially a lie:
MITCHELL: Have you ever had discussions with anyone, beside your attorneys, on how to take a polygraph?
MITCHELL: And I don’t just mean countermeasures, but I mean just any sort of tips, or anything like that.
FORD: No. I was scared of the test itself, but was comfortable that I could tell the information, and the test would reveal whatever it was going to reveal. I didn’t expect it to be as long as it was going to be, so it was a little bit stressful.
MITCHELL: Had — have you ever given tips or advice to somebody who was looking to take a polygraph test?
The second question, while not completely unrelated to the topic at hand, seemed strange at the time, and some speculated that she was setting Ford up for a perjury trap that was never triggered. It now appears Mitchell, who has since released a report aimed at discrediting Ford, knew something about the statement, or at least was guided to ask about Ford advising someone about a polygraph.
Kavanaugh supporters on Wednesday promoted the story as evidence of Ford’s lack of credibility, and in a letter Tuesday evening, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley cited the statement and demanded Ford’s lawyers hand over therapist notes, recordings from the polygraph, communications with reporters, and other materials to assess her truthfulness, indicating he believed Ford had lied under oath to the committee about the polygraph test. “Your continued withholding of material evidence despite multiple requests is unacceptable,” he wrote.
On Tuesday night, President Trump openly mocked Ford at a campaign rally, mimicking her inability to remember details about the party where she was allegedly assaulted.
The FBI report on the allegations against Kavanaugh could be handed to the Senate committee as early as the end of Wednesday. Democrats have asked for a redacted version to be released to the public, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has asked for the FBI to brief the Senate on the report. Republican leaders have ignored these requests, according to Politico.