WASHINGTON — Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said Thursday that it will be difficult to sort through the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Ernst said she watched most of Christine Blasey Ford’s opening statement, in which Ford detailed her claim that Kavanaugh drunkenly attacked her at a high school party when they were both teenagers.

Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s allegations, as well as claims by two other women of additional misconduct. Both Ford and Kavanaugh testified Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I have no doubt that at some point she experienced some sort of traumatic event,” Ernst told reporters on a conference call after Ford’s opening statement.

But Ernst added that other potential witnesses have provided statements that run counter to Ford’s claims.

“What we are looking for is the information that is coming forward and then has it been corroborated,” Ernst said.

Ernst had said she planned to watch some of Thursday’s testimony in person but will be reviewing all of the information later.

“It’s good testimony. I’m glad that she is here, and it’s important that we hear from her,” Ernst said. “However, the other statements provided by those witnesses have contradicted what she is stating this morning. So we’ll have to sort through this.”

Ernst, who has worked on tackling sexual assault in the military, said she doesn’t want to dissuade survivors from coming forward and telling their stories.

“I have been a supporter of the MeToo movement,” Ernst said. “But these are very difficult situations that happen. Obviously it’s a very intimate crime and sometimes they can’t be corroborated.”

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Reporter - Politics/Washington D.C.

Joseph Morton is The World-Herald Washington Bureau Chief. Morton joined The World-Herald in 1999 and has been reporting from Washington for the newspaper since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @MortonOWH. Email:joseph.morton@owh.com

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