Republicans are pushing to vote on President Donald Trump’s nominee for the US Supreme Court on Friday, after hearing dramatic testimony from him and a woman accusing him of sexual assault.
Brett Kavanaugh empathetically denied all allegations against him and vowed he would never give up.
Earlier, Christine Blasey Ford said an assault by Mr Kavanaugh 36 years ago had “drastically” affected her life.
Mr Trump said Mr Kavanaugh was “honest” and called for a Senate vote.
The president accused Democratic senators of a “search and destroy strategy”, while Mr Kavanaugh accused them of destroying his family and good name for political reasons.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to go ahead with a previously scheduled vote on Friday, though there is doubt whether Republicans have the votes in the full Senate to see the conservative nominee confirmed into the US’s highest court. The full Senate vote would not take place before the middle of next week.
The Supreme Court plays a vital role in US political life – appointed for life, its nine members have the final say on US law.
This includes highly contentious social issues, such as abortion, and challenges to government policy.
What did Christine Blasey Ford say?
Prior to Thursday, no-one had heard from 51-year-old Dr Ford publicly since the allegations arose.
After addresses by the leading Republican and Democrat senators, Dr Ford delivered her statement, at times close to tears.
“I am here today not because I want to be,” she said. “I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.”
She alleged Mr Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge had locked her in a bedroom during a small gathering at a house in a Washington DC suburb in the summer of 1982, when she was 15 and Mr Kavanaugh was 17.
She said Mr Kavanaugh had tried to remove her clothing, pinned her to a bed and groped her. Both men were “drunkenly laughing”, she said.
She added: “Brett’s assault on me drastically altered my life. For a very long time, I was too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone the details.”
Under questioning by a Democratic senator, she said her most vivid memory was “the laughter between the two and their having fun at my expense… they were laughing with each other – two friends having a really good time with one another”.
In an answer to another Democratic senator’s question about claims of mistaken identity, Dr Ford said she was “100%” certain it was Mr Kavanaugh who had assaulted her.
The 21 senators on the committee were given five minutes each to ask her questions.
The 10 Democrats posed questions themselves, many paying tribute to Dr Ford’s bravery in coming forward – and supporting her call for an FBI investigation into her allegations.
The 11 Republicans, all men, deferred most of their questions to a female lawyer, Phoenix prosecutor Rachel Mitchell.
How did Brett Kavanaugh respond?
Taking a combative approach but occasionally becoming emotional, Mr Kavanaugh, 53 – a federal judge – went on the offensive following Dr Ford’s testimony.
“This confirmation process has become a national disgrace,” he told the committee.
“The constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy.
“Since my nomination in July there has been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation.”