Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh vehemently denied allegations from two women that he sexually assaulted them in the 1980s, and turned his rage on what he sees as a left-wing conspiracy to destroy “my family and my name.”
“This confirmation process has become a national disgrace,” a seething Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee, testifying Thursday after Christine Blasey Ford spent the morning detailing her allegation that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, groped her, and covered her mouth during a high school party in the 1980s. In the days since Ford’s allegation first appeared, Kavanaugh said, “In those 10 long days, as was predictable, my family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed.”
Kavanaugh’s explosive opening remarks were not the ones he’d initially planned to give, and which he released Wednesday. But it was clear that Ford’s allegations — and those of the two other women who’ve accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in high school and in college — had gotten to Kavanaugh, who unequivocally denied any wrongdoing.
He told the Senate Democrats that their attacks on him had devastated his family, saying, “Your words have meaning. Millions of Americans listen carefully to you. Given comments like those, is it any surprise that people have been willing to do anything, to make any physical threat against my family, to send any violent email to my wife?”
Revenge for the Clintons
Kavanaugh outlined a quasi-conspiracy theory about the source of allegations at one point, blaming anger and outside money from the left, as well as a desire to get revenge for the Clintons, who Kavanaugh investigated while working as an aide in the Ken Starr investigation. "When I did at least OK enough that it looked like I might actually get confirmed" — in his initial confirmation hearings — "a new tactic was needed,” Kavanaugh said. “Some of you were lying in wait and had it ready."
Kavanaugh also recited his resume, pointing out that he’d passed six FBI background checks without a whiff of a sexual misconduct allegation. Ford, on the other hand, couldn’t remember several details of the alleged attack, including how she got to and from the alleged party, Kavanaugh said.
“She and I did not travel in the same social circles,” Kavanaugh said, though he conceded it’s possible he once met Ford. But, he added, “All of the people identified by Dr. Ford as being present at the party have said that they do not remember any such party.”
Anger to tears
As he continued to speak, Kavanaugh’s anger seemed to abate and, instead, his voice grew ragged and he teared up. He seemed particularly shaken when he discussed his family and his life in the early 1980s, listing specific people he knew and events that he attended. He recalled those names and events thanks to a series of calendars he gave to the Senate Judiciary Committee — a move that drew a contrast to Ford, who made it clear that she did not remember several details about the circumstances surrounding the alleged attack. He did reiterate that Ford may have been assaulted by someone else, thus avoiding calling Ford a liar.
Kavanaugh also frequently cited the many women he’d befriended, worked with, and hired.
“Throughout my life, I’ve devoted huge efforts to encouraging and promoting the careers of women,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I am proud of the letter of 84 women — 84 women — who worked with me at the Bush White House and described me as a man of the highest integrity.”
Kavanaugh concluded by thanking President Donald Trump for nominating him. “I am innocent of this charge,” he declared, and slammed his remarks shut.
Emma Ockerman contributed reporting.
Cover: Brett Kavanaugh testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27, 2018. (Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images and Win McNamee/Getty Images)