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Bridging The Gap
GOP senator suggests Christine Blasey Ford may have 'false memories' of alleged assault
  Monday 01 October, 2018
GOP senator suggests Christine Blasey Ford may have \'false memories\' of alleged assault

MILWAUKEE – U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is dismissing the Senate Judiciary Committee testimony of Christine Blasey Ford about her alleged assault years ago by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

One reason: Johnson says Ford, a clinical psychology professor in California, may be experiencing "false memories."

In a video taken by a local filmmaker of Johnson at Mitchell International Airport on Friday afternoon, the Wisconsin Republican senator said he would be voting to confirm Kavanaugh, calling him a "good, decent person" and a "great judge."

Asked what he believes motivated Ford to testify this week, Johnson responded: "Read about false memories. Read about people who have actually confessed to crimes and then later proven totally innocent, OK?"

Pressed again on whether Ford's testimony was based on false memories, the second-term senator said: "There are a number of explanations for it. That would be one of them. Again, regardless of exactly — nobody knows what happened 36 years ago."

More: Kavanaugh accusers and memory gaps: Here's what trauma experts say

False memory is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when someone recollects events that never actually happened.

On Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted, 11-10, along partisan lines to recommend President Donald Trump's pick for the high court. The committee action came a day after riveting testimony by Ford and Kavanaugh before the panel.

It is not clear when the entire Senate will vote now that the FBI is looking into Ford's claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a house party more than 35 years ago.

The Johnson video was taken by Joel Van Haren, a 30-year-old Milwaukee filmmaker whose work has appeared on VICE, the BBC, the New York Times and Al Jazeera America, for which he won a National Headliner Award in 2014, according to his IMDb profile.

Van Haren caught up with Johnson, dressed in a pink button-down and blue jeans, as he was walking alone from his gate following a flight from Washington, D.C. Van Haren said he was surprised Johnson brought up false memories unprompted.

"I went up to Sen. Johnson to speak to him as a local constituent," Van Haren said by email. "It's not often we get face time with our elected officials like that.

Sept. 28: Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearing shows divide between men, women

"I was at the airport because I was just returning from a work trip in D.C., and saw an opportunity to hear from him directly."

And, with Johnson, you never know what he's going to say. In the past, he has blamed climate change on sunspots, criticized "The Lego Movie" for being anti-business and suggested college professors could be replaced with Ken Burns' documentaries.

In his interview with Van Haren, Johnson made clear that he's already made up his mind.

"I’m going to vote for him," Johnson said.

The senator was dismissive of Ford's testimony, adding, "There is no corroboration whatsoever. There’s all kinds of explanations for it. She seems sincere, but she’s completely used and abused by the Democrats, who abuse the process."

As for the two other women accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault or misconduct during high school and college, Johnson also rejected their claims.

"The New York Times wouldn’t even publish those, they were so uncorroborated," he said. Here is a New York Times' summary of the accusations by Julie Swetnick and Deborah Ramirez.

Johnson took Van Haren to be a liberal, saying at one point, "Sir, you’re not going to change my mind on this."

That's when Johnson, who has never served on the Judiciary Committee, launched into his longest explanation for supporting Kavanaugh.

"I met the man. He’s a good, decent person," Johnson bristled. "Democrats destroyed his life, you know? An incredibly unjust process. A bedrock principle of our system of justice is a presumption of innocence.

"Other than the accusation that’s completely uncorroborated, four witnesses — all of them deny it. What are you supposed to do? Presume he’s guilty?"

Johnson rejected Van Haren's suggestion that Trump nominate someone with less baggage.

"My job is to evaluate this nominee," the GOP senator said. "My evaluation is I’m going to vote to confirm. It’s that simple."

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/09/29/ron-johnson-suggests-christine-blasey-ford-may-have-false-memories/1471571002/

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