Conservatives lit up Tuesday night when Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee released a letter claiming to be from an ex-boyfriend of Christine Blasey Ford that undermined her testimony against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The letter, which was a sworn statement, contains several revelations that contradict or undercut what Ford has testified. Most significantly, the letter from a man whose name was redacted, claims that he once witnessed Ford help a friend prepare for a polygraph. During her questioning before the Senate, when asked if she had "ever given tips or advice to somebody who was looking to take a polygraph test," Ford responded under oath, "never."
Furthermore, the statement claims that Ford "never indicated a fear of flying ... expressed a fear of closed quarters, tight spaces, or places with only one exit." He even said they once toured the Hawaiian Islands in a propeller plane. That would undercut the arguments made by Ford's legal team that she needed to delay the hearing because she was afraid of flying and her description during testimony of flying as "anxiety-provoking." She had also testified that she suffered from claustrophobia as part of the PTSD associated with the attack, one reason why she demanded a second front door be put in her house.
So, it's understandable why conservatives would want to seize on this letter in their effort to exonerate Kavanaugh. But they should resist the temptation, and be cautious until there's more to back it up.
Right now, there is nothing to corroborate key details of the letter, and we know very little about its author, whose name has not been disclosed. We do not have a statement from the friend he claims Ford coached before the polygraph test. We have not seen any sort of further evidence of what the author claims was a six-year relationship – photos of their trip to Hawaii, for instance.
UPDATE: Since publishing this, the friend referenced here denied having ever received polygraph advice from Ford or anybody else.
Furthermore, there are elements of the letter that claim Ford cheated on him in Hawaii and made unauthorized charges to his credit card. That could mean he has an axe to grind against her, despite his claim to have "no animus."
Yes, it's true, he made a sworn statement. But conservatives should look no further than Julie Swetnick to know that it's possible for letters presented as sworn statements to be unreliable.
Anyway, it's quite possible that further evidence will corroborate the account of the man claiming to have been in a long-term relationship with her. Maybe Senate Republicans have that evidence.
But until we learn more, conservatives have been careful. They have been right to question whether Ford's account, absent further corroboration, is strong enough to deny Kavanaugh a seat on the Supreme Court. They have demanded that Kavanaugh be treated fairly. We should apply the same standard to Ford, and require proper corroboration for any evidence submitted that undermines her.