Politics

Kavanaugh Comes Out of Gate Angry, Says Confirmation Process Is ‘National Disgrace’

Supreme Court nominee aggressively foists blame on Democrats, accuses them of character assassination

Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies during the Senate Judiciary panel on his nomination to the Supreme Court, focusing on allegations of sexual assault in the early 1980s. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)

An angry Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, facing sexual assault allegations, opened up his testimony Thursday by calling the situation a “national disgrace.”

He lamented that his name and that of his family have been “totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false … accusations.”

Three women have come forward with allegations of sexual assault or sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. Christine Blasey Ford, his first accuser who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier Thursday, has accused the nominee of sexually assaulting her at a party in the 1980s when the two were in high school. 

Watch: Christine Blasey Ford’s Full Opening Statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee

Kavanaugh told the Judiciary panel he would have welcomed a federal or local law enforcement investigation, saying it would “clear me.”

“You have replaced ‘advise and consent’ with search and destroy,” he said, appearing to address Judiciary Democrats.

He blamed Democrats for trying to take him down with “smears.”

“This has destroyed my family and my good name,” he said, which he contended was built over years of “hard work and public service.”

Kavanaugh pinned the allegations on “pent-up” bitterness about President Donald Trump’s election and his work in the 1990s on the Starr investigation into President Bill Clinton.

Watch: Brett Kavanaugh's Full Opening Statement to Senate Judiciary

 

“This is a circus,” he roared, with a much sharper and louder tone than his two days of testimony earlier this month. He even warned Democrats: “What goes around comes around,” contending the situation will dissuade others from seeking public office.

[Orrin Hatch Calls Kavanaugh Accuser an ‘Attractive, Good Witness’]

Kavanaugh, angry again, later told the panel, “I love teaching law.” He glared at the Democratic side of the dais, telling them that because of what they have “unleashed,” he may never do so again. He said the same thing about coaching children’s sports.

As he concluded his remarks on teaching, which he said he wrote himself on Wednesday, he paused and stared at the Democrats in one of the daylong hearing's most powerful moments.

“I will not be intimidated” by what he called a “coordinated and well-funded” effort by Democrats to “drive me out,” Kavanaugh said. “I’m here to tell the truth. I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone, not in high school, not in college — not ever.”

“When there is no corroboration … after I have been in the public sphere without a whiff of this kind of allegation,” he said. “This onslaught of last-minute allegations does not ring true.” 

Kavanaugh said he has no doubts that Ford, who earlier said she recalls her attacker as “100 percent” being him, was assaulted.

“We mean no ill will” toward Ford, he said, pausing to wipe away tears. He referenced one his daughters, again tearing up.

His wife, Ashley, dressed in all black, sat behind him, over his right shoulder, also fighting back tears. Her chin quivered at times, especially when her husband became emotional. 

[The Ford Hearing in Photos: Kavanaugh’s Nomination Process Continues as Accuser Testifies]

Kavanaugh ran through his résumé, passionately telling the panel his entire life has been vetted during his background checks for his time in the George W. Bush White House and his time as a federal appellate judge.

“Until last week, no one ever accused me of any kind of sexual misconduct,” he said. “A lifetime of … public service at the highest levels of government. … And that’s because nothing of this kind ever happened.”

The nominee noted that, under penalty of felony for lying, several people Ford claimed were at the party “refute” her claim of a party much less an assault.

Kavanaugh also tried to undermine Ford’s case by saying she is unable to say how she got to the party and how she got home, noting she could not yet drive. He said she has shown “no corroboration” of her claims, adding, “This onslaught of last-minute allegations does not ring true.”

His eyes watered again as he mentioned that he kept his now-infamous calendars because his father had started doing the same in the 1970s.

Kavanaugh’s voice cracked as he listed female “friends for life” whom he talked to every night on the phone during high school. “I drank beer with my friends,” he said. “Sometimes I had too many. … I liked beer. I still do.”

The nominee said there was a “fine line” between drinking beer and committing a sexual assault. Automatically linking the two would bring the country to a “dangerous” place, he added. Trump used that word Wednesday in describing a climate in which males are perceived guilty before being proved innocent.

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