The confirmation process, he said, has been rendered a "disgrace".
Trump borrowed a line from Kavanaugh, who cited the constitutional role of the Senate during the hearing to say that Democrats had "replaced advise and consent with search and destroy".
President Donald Trump has nominated Mr Kavanaugh for a vacancy on the Supreme Court, the body that has the final word on key issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. Now a judge in the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, he seemed assured of confirmation until Ford and several other accusers emerged in recent weeks.
"We believe her, we support her, and we thank her for her huge bravery and patriotism", NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement. She said that Kavanaugh covered her mouth to mask her screams and that at times she anxious he'd accidentally kill her. Hatch has also said the committee should hear from Ford, and "then we should vote".
Under questioning from Mitchell, Ford said she didn't know how she got home that night. Ford testified first and will be followed by Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh, 53, struggled to hold back tears, particularly when he referred to his own family.
The nominee was tearful through portions of his opening statement: while expressing gratitude to his friends, saying he had no sexual intercourse until well after high school, and saying he drank beer in high school.
Another Republican facing re-election this November, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, called Ford's allegations serious and said they should be fully investigated. "Because I had watched hours and hours of footage of her in that suit and had spent so much time poring over pictures and video and audio recordings of that day".
The mood was intense as Kavanaugh's voice filled the room for the extraordinary session, unlike Ford's quiet testimony. Organized by activist groups like the Women's March, Planned Parenthood and Ultraviolet, they poured into the Senate buildings before heading to the Supreme Court, where they chanted, "You won't silence us! I denied the allegation immediately, unequivocally, and categorically", Kavanaugh says.
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During a break in the hearing, some of Kavanaugh's strongest supporters gave no indications of wavering.
Ford said she was sure that Kavanaugh was the person who attacked her."With what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?"
But Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said of Ford, "She's a good witness". She said she had an "indelible" memory of "the uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense". And the consequences extend beyond any one nomination. Later, she told Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., asked to what degree of certainty she believed Kavanaugh assaulted her.
"Describe her appearance", Kavanaugh said. Judge has said he doesn't remember the incident and has declined to appear before the panel. She also teaches in a consortium program with Stanford University's School of Medicine. GOP prosecutor Rachel Mitchell pressed Ford on just who paid for the polygraph exam, to which her lawyers, who are reprsenting Ford pro-bono, said that they had footed the bill. But under the committee's procedures, the career prosecutor was limited to five minutes at a time, interspersed between Democrats' questions, creating a choppy effect as she tried piecing together the story. So, we wondered, could her blue suit - though a thoroughly modern, dark navy version - be at least a subtle nod to Hill, who paved the way for Ford and so many other victims of harassment and assault?
Leahy also questioned Ford about the image that was most ingrained in her memory of the assault.
The hearing comes almost 30 years after her testimony against Clarence Thomas, who was later confirmation to the Supreme Court. But he made clear that he was deeply skeptical of these types of accusations.
Republicans are trying to get Kavanaugh, 53, confirmed as early as next week.
Swetnick, who attended Gaithersburg High School in Maryland, says she attended "well over ten" parties where Kavanaugh was present.