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Christine Blasey Ford said Thursday that the polygraph test she took to corroborate her allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was "extremely stressful".

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Senator Chuck Grassley opened the hearing with an apology to both Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh.

The hand over her mouth terrified her the most, she said.

"Absolutely", Ford said, later adding, "100 percent".

Blasey Ford, wearing glasses and a sober dark blue suit, recounted the alleged assault from the witness table in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room.

"With what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?" Sen. "It's a job interview for Judge Kavanaugh". Rather, it was a specific sound she heard Kavanaugh and the other boy she says was in the room, Mark Judge.

They've accused Ford and the other women of making unproven allegations and have questioned why they'd not publicly revealed them for decades. "It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me". But in an emotional hearing on Capitol Hill, Ford said it was not a case of mistaken identity.

According to his prepared testimony, Kavanaugh plans to tell senators that he "said and did things in high school that make me cringe now" - but that he "never did anything remotely resembling what Dr. Ford describes".

Democratic senators, who praised the credibility of her testimony and called her fearless for coming forward, sought to score political points during their five minutes apiece of questioning Ford. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that she has suffered post traumatic stress disorder-type symptoms since the assault that included anxiety and claustrophobia.

In the initial years after the assault, Ford said, she struggled academically and had a hard time forming relationships, especially with males. "The uproarious laughter between the two and they're having fun at my expense", she said, her voice quaking.

At one point this morning, she was asked by Senator Patrick Leahy for her strongest memory of the encounter, and the following exchange ensued. Leahy asked as Ford took a sip of coffee.

Following her opening statement, she faced questioning from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, as well as Arizona sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, who questioned her on behalf of the panel's Republicans.

Grassley said before Ford's testimony that Mitchell would lead the questioning to avoid "grandstanding and chaos".

Kavanaugh strongly denies all the charges.

Republicans also risk rejection by female voters in November if they are seen as not fully respecting women and their allegations.

After Kavanaugh testified, President Donald Trump tweeted his support for Kavanaugh's "powerful, honest, and riveting" testimony and called for the Senate to vote, writing, "Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him".