Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who is now expected to lose handily to her Republican challenger in North Dakota, said she was ready to confirm then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after his testimony — until she watched it again with the sound off.
In an interview with CNN, Heitkamp said that she was ready to vote “Yes” on Kavanaugh but that his body language convinced her that she could not vote for him, despite the FBI finding no corroboration of the claims against him and multiple witnesses directly refuting the claims.
“I was concerned about these allegations but willing to give him the benefit of the doubt,” said Heitkamp, who currently trails Republican Kevin Cramer by an average of 8.7%.
“She watched Ford’s testimony,” CNN reports. “And then she watched Kavanaugh’s. And then she watched Kavanaugh’s again, but this time, with the sound off.”
“It’s something I do,” she told CNN. “We communicate not only with words, but with our body language and demeanor.”
His anger at being smeared publicly based on evidence-less claims was all the “evidence” Heitkamp needed that he was unfit for the court.
“I saw somebody who was very angry, who was very nervous, and I saw rage that a lot of people said, ‘Well of course you’re going to see rage, he’s being falsely accused,’ but it is at all times you’re to acquit yourself with a demeanor that’s becoming of the court,” she said.
The “final straw” was Kavanaugh pushing back hard against a Democratic senator, Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar, when she asked a leading question about him getting blacked-out drunk. “When someone shows you who they are, believe them,” she said.
The senator went on to tout her experience as a prosecutor as the reason she’s so confident in her interpretation of Kavanaugh’s body language and stating that, in the end, “it really came down to that I believed her.”
How North Dakotans feel about their senator voting against an eminently qualified, seven-times FBI-cleared judge after watching his testimony with the sound off we will learn in less than four weeks.