What was the Accusation?
Donald Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh found himself under intense scrutiny after Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old California professor and research psychologist, accused him of sexually assaulting her at a party when both were in high school in the early 1980s. Ford’s attorney, Lisa Banks, described the incident as follows: “At one point she walked away to go to the bathroom and went up a small flight of stairs, at which point she was pushed into a bedroom. The door was locked behind her and Brett Kavanaugh got on top of her on the bed, pushed her down on the bed on her back, began groping at her, trying to take off her clothes. When she tried to scream, he put his hand over her mouth to silence her. Mark Judge [a friend of Kavanaugh’s] was in the room, egging him on. They turned up the music very loudly and at some point Mark Judge jumped on the bed, they all toppled off, and she was able to escape.” President Donald Trump defended Kavanaugh, arguing that Ford was coming out of the “woodwork from 36 years ago” and mentioning it now was “totally political.” He also suggested that “if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local law enforcement authorities by either her or her loving parents.” Banks refuted these claims by noting the existence of medical records to corroborate Ford’s story even though she never explicitly identifies Kavanaugh in earlier reports. A second victim, Deborah Ramirez accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a party when both were students at Yale University. Ramirez stated that during a drinking game, a male student exposed himself to her: “I remember a penis being in front of my face. I knew that’s not what I wanted, even in that state of mind.” She pushed the student away, touching his penis in the process. The said the other students at the party were laughing at her and she felt humiliated since she was raised catholic and wasn’t going to engage in intimate behavior until she was married. She remembers Kavanaugh laughing and somebody down the hall yelling “Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face.” A third victims, Julie Swetnick, came forward to claim that Kavanaugh and his friend Judge were present when she was gang raped at a party in 1982. She also said Kavanaugh was known to put drugs in drinks at parties in order to inebriate woman so they could not resist a gang rape. Swetnick also remembers seeing Kavanaugh waiting for his turn at parties to have his way with other women. Kavanaugh testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27th. He previously released a statement to the press, wrote a formal letter to the committee, and sat down for an interview on Fox News. In all four outlets, he vehemently denied the accusations and expresses a desire to clear his name.
Key Apologia Strategies:
Mortification, Attacking the Accuser, Bolstering
Kavanaugh’s Initial Statement to the Press:
“This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes to her or to anyone. Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday. I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity.”
Full Transcript of Interview on Fox News (September 24, 2018)
Martha MacCallum, Fox host: Thank you both for sitting down with me today. What made you decide to speak out before the hearing on Thursday? Judge Kavanaugh?
Brett Kavanaugh, nominee, U.S. Supreme Court: I am looking for a fair process, a process where I can defend my integrity and clear my name. And all I’m asking for is fairness and that I’d be heard in this process.
MacCallum: Ashley, what has this been like for you the past couple of weeks? I know you’ve had death threats and all kinds of things coming your way. What … how does that feel?
Ashley Kavanaugh, wife of Brett Kavanaugh: This process is incredibly difficult. It’s harder than we imagined, and we imagined it might be hard. But at the end of the day, our faith is strong and we know that we’re on the right path. And we’re just going to stick to it, so.
MacCallum: So let me … let’s get in to some of these allegations, because you’ve responded to them in statements, but you haven’t had a chance to respond them … to them in a fuller way.
And Christine Ford is expected to testify on Thursday, that you at a party in high school pinned her to a bed, held your hand over her mouth. She said she was afraid that she could inadvertently be killed at that moment.
She said that you tried to take off her clothes, and she believes that you would’ve raped her if Mark Judge hadn’t climbed on top and everyone tumbled to the floor. And then she had an opportunity to get away.
Now, she doesn’t remember the date and she doesn’t remember the place. But what she does remember that I just detailed, is very specific.
And other assault victims say that they’ve had similar memories where they remembered exactly what happened but they didn’t necessarily remember the events surrounding it. You have categorically denied that this happened. Did anything happen?
B. Kavanaugh: No. I had never sexually assaulted anyone, not in high school, not ever. I’ve always treated women with dignity and respect.
Listen to the people who’ve known me best through my whole life, the women who have known me since high school, the 65 who overnight signed a letter from high school saying I always treated them with dignity and respect …
MacCallum: But was there …
B. Kavanaugh: This is a …
MacCallum: This Christine Ford, do you know her?
B. Kavanaugh: I may have met her, we did not travel in the same social circle, she was not a friend, not someone I knew …
MacCallum: You don’t remember ever being at parties with her ever?
B. Kavanaugh: I do not. And this is an allegation about a party in the summer of 1982 at a house near Connecticut Avenue and East West highway with five people present.
I was never at any such party. The other people who are alleged to be present have said they do not remember any such party. A woman who was present, another woman who was present who is Dr. Ford’s lifelong friend has said she doesn’t know me and never remembers being at a party with me at any time in her life.
All I’m asking for is a fair process where I can be heard.
MacCallum: And to this date, no one has corroborated the story that she has told. As you accurately point out, but is there … so there’s no chance that there was something between the two of you that maybe she misunderstood the exchange that you had?
Nothing ever physical, you never met her, never kissed her, never touched her, nothing that you remember?
B. Kavanaugh: Correct. I … I never had any sexual or physical activity with Dr, Ford. I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or otherwise …
MacCallum: So, where do you think this is coming from? Why would she make this up?
B. Kavanaugh: What I know is the truth. And the truth is, I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or otherwise. I am not questioning and have not questioned that perhaps Dr. Ford at some point in her life was sexually assaulted by someone in some place. But what I know is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or at any time in my life …
MacCallum: So, when she says there’s no doubt in her mind that it was you, because she was asked that. Is it possible that you maybe confused him, maybe it’s a mistaken identity, maybe it was someone else. She said absolutely not.
B. Kavanaugh: I have never sexually assaulted anyone. I was not at the party described. I was not anywhere at any place resembling that in the summer of 1982. The other people alleged to be there don’t say anything like that. And the woman who’s alleged to be there, who’s her friend, says that she doesn’t know me and doesn’t recall ever being at a party with me in her life.
MacCallum: Let me ask Ashley, when this came out what did you say to your husband? Did you question him and have moments where you wondered if he was telling you the truth?
A. Kavanaugh: No. I know Brett. I’ve know him for 17 years. And this is not at all character; it’s really hard to believe. He’s decent, he’s kind, he’s good. I know his heart. This is not consistent with … with Brett.
MacCallum: And now over the weekend you’ve gotten new allegations. And obviously these other allegations, they say that they are standing up basically in support of Christine Ford, that they wouldn’t have come forward otherwise, but they don’t want her to be made to look like a liar. And Deborah Ramirez was a freshman at Yale. She say’s she was at a dorm party and this happened quote “Brett was laughing, I can still see his face and his hips coming forward like when you pull up your pants. I’m confident about the pants coming up, and I’m confident about Brett being there.”
She was initially uncertain it was you, they write in this piece, but after six days she’s confident enough, she says. Should the American people view her as credible?
B. Kavanaugh: I never did any such thing … never did any such thing. The other people alleged to be there, don’t recall any such thing. If such as thing had a happened, it would’ve been the talk of campus. The women I knew in college and the men I knew in college said that it’s unconceivable that I could’ve done such a thing.
And The New York Times has reported that just last week the person making the accusation was calling other classmates saying she was not sure that I had done this. Again … again, just asking for a fair process where I can be heard and I can defend my integrity.
MacCallum: As you say, other Yale classmates were asked by her if they recall the incident, and told some of them that she couldn’t be certain that Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself. So she appears to be expressing some uncertainly. Given the doubts, are you surprised that the New Yorker published this account?
B. Kavanaugh: I’m not going to comment on the New Yorker’s journalistic practices. The New York Times said they could not corroborate this story and said that the person making the accusation had been calling around last week to other classmates, indicating her uncertainty about whether I had ever done such a thing.
Again, I’m just asking for a fair process where I can be heard and defend my integrity and defend my family’s integrity.
MacCallum: It was one roommate … I think his last name of Roche … who said, you know, that he could see this kind of thing happening, that you drink a lot in high school, drink a lot in college. And although he hadn’t seen or heard this incident himself, that it added up to him, that … that it made sense that you treated women that way.
B. Kavanaugh: I’ve always treated women with dignity and respect. He does not corroborate the incident at all. The incident did not happen.
MacCallum: You remember him? He was your roommate?
B. Kavanaugh: I do remember him.
MacCallum: So why do you think he would say that?
B. Kavanaugh: What I know … I’m not going to speculate about motives. I know I never did that. If I had done that, it would’ve been the talk of campus, and we have the reports saying that, even as late as the few weeks, she was calling around and not certain.
What I know is I’ve always treated women with dignity and respect. Listen to the women who’ve known me my whole life. A letter from friends I knew in high school, produced overnight 65 women who knew me in high school, women I knew in college who said how I much I support their women athletics, their letter and their goals.
When I worked in the Bush White House, 84 women signed a letter saying that, in the pressurized environment of the West Wing, I always treated them with equality and promoted women’s advancement …
MacCallum: (Inaudible) we’ve spoken to a couple of those women on our show, who signed that original letter, who stuck up for you unequivocally, that is absolutely true. And now … but now you’ve got more allegations.
So you’ve got this sort of attempt to kind of swarm a number of people who are putting at least enough doubt out there so that this process will be stymied so that it will take longer and so that they will get the investigation that they’re looking for.
Michael Avenatti says that he has significant evidence and another accuser, who claims that you and Mark Judge, at multiple house parties in the Washington, D.C., area during the 1980s, would participate in the targeting of women with alcohol and drugs to allow a train of men to subsequently gang-rape them.
There are multiple witnesses that will corroborate these facts, and each of them must be called to testify publicly. Did you ever participate in or where you ever aware of any gang-rape that happened at a party that you attended?
B. Kavanaugh: That’s totally false and outrageous. I’ve never done any such thing, known about any such thing. When I was in high school … and I went to an all boys Catholic high school, a judgment (ph) high school, where I was focused on academics and athletics, going to church every Sunday at Little Flower, working on my service projects, and friendship, friendship with my fellow classmates and friendship with girls from the local all girls Catholic schools.
And yes, there were parties. And the drinking age was 18, and yes, the seniors were legal and had beer there. And yes, people might have had too many beers on occasion and people generally in high school … I think all of us have probably done things we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit, but that’s not what we’re talking about.
We’re talking about an allegation of sexual assault. I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone. I did not have sexual intercourse or anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years there after. And the girls from the schools I went to and I were friends …
MacCallum: So you’re saying that through all these years that are in question, you were a virgin?
B. Kavanaugh: That’s correct.
MacCallum: Never had sexual intercourse with anyone in high school …
B. Kavanaugh: Correct.
MacCallum: … and through what years in college since we’re probing into your personally life here?
B. Kavanaugh: Many years after. I’ll leave it at that. Many years after. And the people I went to high school with, the girls and the boys, now men and women, that I went to high school with, you know, I was good friends with them and we remain good friends. That’s how 65 people on a moments notice … 65 women … 220 people total, men and women who knew me in high school.
I will say fair process, let me be heard, fair process here from both sides, and listen to me and the facts I’ve described and listen to the people who have known me throughout my life, the men and women, the women who’ve known me throughout my life who’ve known me best.
And in my job as a judge for 12 years I’ve been promoting women’s equality. There was a problem with women law clerks getting hired at the Supreme Court. I am the leading federal judge in the country … the leader in the entire country of promoting women law clerks to get Supreme Court clerkships. For the last seven years, I’ve been coaching girl’s basketball. Ask the moms.
MacCallum: So what do you think is happening? What’s happening?
B. Kavanaugh: I don’t know, but I want a fair process where I can defend my integrity. And I know I’m telling the truth. I know my life-long record, and I’m not going to let false accusations drive me out of this process. I have faith in God, and I have faith in the fairness of the American people. America’s about fairness and hearing from both sides. And I didn’t do this or anything resembling this. This is wrong.
MacCallum: Sir, you are going to be pressed on something that you just said about people do things in high school, and you were all drinking, were there times when perhaps you drank so much … was there ever a time that you drank so much that you couldn’t remember what happened the night before?
B. Kavanaugh: No, that never happened.
MacCallum: You never said to anyone, “I don’t remember anything about last night.”
B. Kavanaugh: No, that did not happen.
MacCallum: Did you ever have any sense that any kind of … the description of the behavior that I just described with these women being taken into rooms and raped or having sex with a number of men consensual or otherwise that that was going on at the parties that you were at?
B. Kavanaugh: I never saw any such thing, any such thing. I certainly never participated in any such thing … but I never saw or heard of any such thing. And we were … I was focused on trying to be number one in my class and being captain of the varsity basketball team and doing my service projects, going to church. The vast majority of the time I spent in high school was studying or focused on sports and being a good friend to the boys and the girls that I was friends with. We have these great, life-long friendships that are fantastic, and supporting each other through the ups and downs of life, and, you know, they’re an awesome group of people.
MacCallum: So Ashley, when you hear women say that they’ve repressed a memory that they’ve been struggling with their whole life, they never wanted to say anything, they were embarrassed to even tell their parents or their friends what had happened, but years later in this situation Christine Ford says, you know, “I felt that I wanted to submit what I knew about Brett Kavanaugh into his file because I did hear that we was up for this very important position and I wanted to make sure that my story was in there. I didn’t want to come forward, but I wanted to make sure that they had that information,” because she felt it was really important that they know.
A. Kavanaugh: I truly … I don’t understand it. I know Brett. I know who he is.
MacCallum: But do you sympathize with the idea that some women would suppress a memory or wouldn’t want to share it or would not be able to talk about it until many years later?
A. Kavanaugh: I don’t understand – I don’t know what happened to her, and I don’t even want to go there. I feel badly for her family. I feel badly for her through this process. This process is not right.
MacCallum: Do you believe there should be an FBI investigation into these allegations and that a pause should happen and, you know, sort it all out? If there’s nothing to worry about and nothing to hide, why not have that process, Ashley? And then I’ll ask you that, Brett.
B. Kavanaugh: I mean, I’ve said all along and Ashley, too, I want to be heard. I was first interviewed last Monday, the day after the allegation appeared by the committee staff under penalty of felony, and I denied this categorically and unequivocally and I said twice during that, I said, “I want a hearing tomorrow,” last Tuesday, a week ago.
I want an opportunity … a fair process. America’s about fairness, I want a fair process where I can defend my integrity and clear my name as quickly as I can in whatever forum the Senate deems appropriate.
MacCallum: When you hear senators who are on the committee … Senator Mazie Hirono and then you hear from others, you know, the New York Senator Gillibrand, she says, “I believe this woman. I believe all of them. They’re credible, and we all have to believe them.”
When you hear United States Senators who are making judgments, final judgments, what does that make you think about the presumption of innocence in this country?
B. Kavanaugh: In America, we have fairness. We hear from both sides. I’ve spent my life in the judiciary, the … our judicial system, and part of the judicial systems as I’ve said during my first … my hearing was process protectium (ph). That’s what judges believe that’s what our system was built on, the rule of law, about fair process.
MacCallum: Do you feel unprotected by the process?
B. Kavanaugh: Fair process means hearing from both sides, and I think the process … I want to have an opportunity to defend my integrity and clear my name and have a fair process. A fair process at a minimum … at a bare minimum requires hearing from both sides before rushing …
MacCallum: Right. Let me ask you this. Separately from these allegations, is it fair to judge someone on something they did before they were 18 years old? When they were 17 years old, should anything they did then follow them later in life or should it enter into any decisions made about them later in life?
MacCallum: But separately from what you’re being accused of just as a judge, if you were looking at this case as a part of what you’re going through and someone said, “This person did that at 17 years old,” is it fair to judge them on something that when they’re in their 50s, 60s year old?
B. Kavanaugh: I think everyone is judged on their whole life. I’m a good person. I’ve led a good life. I’ve tried to a lot of good for a lot of people. I am not perfect, I know that. None of us is perfect. I’m not perfect, but I’ve never, never done anything like this.
MacCallum: So in terms of the process now and what happens now, when you look at how all of this — where all this generated from, do you have thoughts? Is this about Roe v. Wade? Is this about people who initially right off the bat, said they wanted to see you never take the spot on the Supreme Court? Where’s all this coming from?
B. Kavanaugh: I just want a fair process where I can be heard.
MacCallum: You don’t have any thoughts on what’s … where this is coming from?
B. Kavanaugh: I just want a fair process where I can be heard, defend my integrity, defend the integrity of my family. I’ve … I’m telling the truth.
MacCallum: You don’t want to talk about where you think this is coming from?
B. Kavanaugh: I just want an opportunity, a fair process where I can defend my integrity.
MacCallum: All right. Ashley how’s this spin for the girls, for your family? What have you guys … give us what ever window you feel comfortable saying about what this has been like for you as a family?
A. Kavanaugh: This … it’s very difficult. It’s very difficult these conversations with your children, which we’ve had to have some broader terms for our youngest. But they know Brett. And they know the truth. And we told them at the very beginning of this process this will be not fun sometimes. You’re going to hear things that, people feel strongly, and you need to know that. And just remember you know your dad.
MacCallum: Did you guys ever look at each other and say “I’m out, this is enough. This just isn’t worth it”?
B. Kavanaugh: I’m not going to let false accusations drive us out of this process. And we’re looking for a fair process where I can be heard and defend the … my integrity, my life long record … my life-long record of promoting dignity and equality, starting with the woman who knew me when I was 14 years old. I’m not going anywhere.
MacCallum: Do you believe that President Trump is going to stand by you throughout?
B. Kavanaugh: I know he’s going to stand by me. He called me this afternoon, and he said he’s standing by me.
MacCallum: All right. Thank you both very much. Good to speak with you today. Thanks for taking the time.
A. Kavanaugh: Thank you.
Kavanaugh’s Opening Statement to Senate Judiciary Committee:
Mr. Chairman, ranking member Feinstein, members of the committee, thank you for allowing me to make my statement. I wrote it myself yesterday afternoon and evening, no one has seen a draft or it except for one of my former law clerks. This is my statement.
Less than two weeks ago Dr. Ford publicly accused me of committing wrongdoing at an event more than 36 years ago when we were both in high I denied the allegation immediately, categorically and unequivocally. All four people allegedly at the event including Dr. Ford’s longtime friend Ms. Keyser have said they recalled no such event.
Her longtime friend Ms. Keyser said under penalty of felony that she does not know me, and does not believe she ever saw me at a party ever. Here is the quote from Ms. Keyser’s attorney’s letter. Quote, “simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh. She has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present with or without Dr. Ford.” End quote. Think about that fact.
The day after the allegation occurred I told this committee that I wanted a hearing as soon as possible to clear my name. I demanded the hearing for the very next day.
Unfortunately, it took the committee ten days to get to this hearing and those ten long days as was predictable and as I predicted my family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false additional accusations. The ten-day delay has been harmful to me and my family, to the Supreme Court.
When this allegation first arose I welcomed any kind of investigation, Senate, FBI or otherwise. The committee now has conducted a thorough investigation and I’ve cooperated fully. I know that any kind of investigation, Senate, FBI, Montgomery county police, whatever will clear me.
Listen to the people I know. Listen to the people who have known me my whole life. Listen to the people I’ve grown up with and worked with and played with and coached with and dated and taught and gone to games with and had beers with and listen to the witnesses who allegedly were at this event 36 years ago. Listen to Ms. Keyser. She does not know me. I was not at the party described by Dr. Ford.
This confirmation process has become a national disgrace. The constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy. Since my nomination in July there’s been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation.
Shortly after I was nominated, the Democratic Senate leader said he would, quote, “oppose me with everything he’s got.” A Democratic Senator on this committee publicly referred to me as “evil.” Evil. Think about that word, and said that those who supported me were, quote, “complicit in evil.” Another Democratic senator on this committee said, quote, “Judge Kavanaugh is your worst nightmare.” A former head of the National Democratic Committee said, quote, “Judge Kavanaugh will threaten the lives of millions of Americans for decades to come.”
I understand the passions of the moment, but I would say to those senators, your words have 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 e-mail to my wife, to make any kind of allegations against me and against my friends, to blow me up and take me down.
For decades to come I fear the country will reap the whirlwind. The behavior of several of the Democratic members of this committee at my hearing a few weeks ago was an embarrassment, but at least it was a good old-fashioned attempt at working. Those efforts didn’t work. When I did at least okay enough at the hearings that it looked like I might actually get confirmed a new tactic was needed. Some of you were lying in wait and had it ready.
This first allegation was held in secret for weeks by a Democratic member of this committee and by staff. It would be needed only if you couldn’t take me out on the merit. When it was needed this allegation was unleashed and publicly deployed over Dr. Ford’s wishes. And then — and then as no-doubt was expected if not planned, came a long series of false, last-minute smears designed to scare me and drive me out of the process before any hearing occurred, crazy stuff, gangs, illegitimate children, fights on boats in Rhode Island, all nonsense reported breathlessly and often uncritically by the media. This has destroyed my family and my good name. A good name built up through decades of very hard work and public service at the highest levels of the American government.
This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about president trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups. This is a circus. The consequences will extend long past my nomination. The consequences will be with us for decades.
This grotesque, character assassination will dissuade confident and good people of all political persuasions from serving our country and as we all know in the political system of the early 2000s, what goes around comes around. I am an optimistic guy. I always try to be on the sunrise side of the mountain and be optimistic about the day that is coming, but today I have to say that I fear for the future. The last time I was here I told this committee that a federal judge must be independent, not swayed by public or political pressure. I said I was such a judge, and I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. You’ve tried hard. You’ve given it your all.
No one can question your efforts and your coordinated and well-funded effort to destroy my good name and destroy my family will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. You may defeat me in the final vote, but you’ll never get me to never. I’m here today to tell the truth. I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone. Not in high school, not in college, not ever. Sexual assault is horrific. One of my closest friends to this day is a woman who was sexually abused and who in the 1990s when we were in our 30s confided in me about the abuse and sought my advice. I was one of the only people she consulted. Allegations of sexual assault must always be taken seriously. Always. Those when make allegations always deserve to be heard. At the same time the person who is the subject of the allegations also deserves to be heard. Due process is a foundation of the American rule of law.
Due process means listening to both sides. As I told you in my hearing three weeks ago, I’m the only child of Martha and Ed Kavanaugh. They’re here today. When I was 10 my mom went to law school and as a lawyers she worked hard and overcame barriers including the workplace sexual harassment that so many women faced at the time and still face today. She became a trailblazer, one of Maryland’s earliest women prosecutors and trial tested. She and my dad taught me the importance of equality and respect for all people and she inspired me to be a lawyer and a judge. Last time I was here I told you that when my mom was a prosecutor and I was in high school she used to practice her closing arguments at the dining room table on my dad and me.
As I told you, her trademark line was use your common sense, what rings true, what rings false. Her trademark line is a good reminder as we sit today some 36 years after an event occur with no corroboration and refuted by the people who were allegedly there. After being in the public arena of 36 years without a hint, a whiff of an allegation like this. And with my nomination to the supreme court was just about to be voted on at a time when I’m called evil by Democratic member of this committee, while Democratic opponents of my nomination say people will die if I am confirmed. This onslaught of last-minute allegations does not ring true.
I’m not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person in some place at some time, but I have never done this to her or to anyone. That’s not who I am. It is not who I was. I am innocent of this charge. I intend no ill will to Dr. Ford and her family. My daughter, Liza, said their prayers and little Liza, 10 years old — said to Ashley, we should pray for the woman, a lot of wisdom from a 10-year-old — we mean — we mean no ill will.
First, let’s start with my career. For the last 26 years since 1992, I’ve served in many high-profile and sensitive government positions for which the FBI has investigated my background six separate times. Six separate FBI background investigations over 26 years. All of them after the event alleged here. I’ve been in the public arena and under extreme public scrutiny for decades. In 1992 I worked for the office of solicitor general in the department of justice. In 1993 I clerked on the supreme court for justice Anthony Kennedy.
I spent four years at the independent counsel’s office during the 1990s. That office was the subject of enormous scrutiny from the media. The year of the impeachment of President Clinton our office and I personally were in the middle of intense national media and political spotlight. I and other leading members of Ken Starr’s office were opposition research from head to toe, from birth to the present day.
Recall the people who were exposed that year of 1998 of having engaged in sexual wrongdoing or indiscretions in their past. One person on the left even paid $1 million for people to report evidence of sexual wrongdoing and it worked. It exposed some prominent people. Nothing about me. From 2001 to 2006 I worked for George W. Bush in the White House. As secretary I was by President Bush’s side for three years and was entrusted with the nation’s most sensitive secrets. I travelled on air force one all over the country and the world with President Bush. I went everywhere with him from Texas to Pakistan, from Alaska to Australia, from Buckingham Palace to the Vatican. Three years in the West Wing, five and a half years in the White House. I was then nominated to be a judge on the DC Circuit. I was thoroughly vetted by the White House, the FBI, the American Bar Association and this committee. I sat before this committee for two thorough confirmation hearings in 2004 and 2006.
For the past 12 years leading up to my nomination to this job, I’ve served in a very public arena as a federal judge on what is often referred to as the second most important court in the country. I’ve handled some of the most significant and sensitive cases affecting the lives and liberties of the American people. I have been a good judge and for this nomination another FBI background investigation, another bar association investigation, 31 hours of hearings, 65 senator meetings, 1200 written questions, more than all previous supreme court nominees combined. Throughout that entire time, throughout my 53 years and seven months on this Earth until last week, no one ever accused me of any kind of sexual misconduct. No one ever. A lifetime. A lifetime of public service and a lifetime of high-profile public service at the highest levels of American government, and never a hint of anything of this kind, and that’s because nothing of this kind ever happened.
Second, let’s turn to specifics. I categorically and unequivocally deny the allegation against me by Dr. Ford. I never had any sexual or physical encounter of any kind with Dr. Ford. I never attended a gathering like the one Dr. Ford describes in her allegations. I’ve never sexually assaulted Dr. Ford or anyone. Again, I am not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person in some place at some time, but I’ve never done that to her or to anyone. Dr. Ford’s allegations stems from a party that she alleges occurred during the summer of 1982. 36 years ago.
I was 17 years old, between my junior and senior years of high school at Georgetown Prep, a rigorous, all-boys Catholic Jesuit high school in Rockville, Maryland. When my friends and I spent time at parties over the weekend it was from all-girls schools from Immaculata, Holy Cross and Dr. Ford did not attend one of those schools. She attended a private school named Holton Arms and she was a year behind me. She and I did not travel in the same social circles. It is possible that we met at some point at some events, although I do not recall that.
To repeat, all of the people identified by Dr. Ford as being present at the party have said they do not remember any such party ever happening importantly, her friend, miss Keyser has not only denied knowledge of the party.
Miss Keyser said under penalty of felony, she does not know me. Does not recall ever being at a party with me ever, and my two male friends who were allegedly there who knew me well have told this committee under penalty of felony that they do not recall any such party and that I never did or would do anything like this.
Dr. Ford’s allegation is not nearly uncorroborated. It is refuted by the very people she says were there including by a longtime friend of hers, refuted. Third, Dr. Ford has said that this event occurred at a house near Columbia country club which is at the corner of Connecticut avenue and Chevy chase, Maryland. In her letter to senator Feinstein, she said that there were four other people at the house, but none of those people nor I lived near Columbia Country Club.
As of the summer of 1982, Dr. Ford was 15 and could not drive she did not live near Columbia Country Club. She said confidently that she had one beer at the party. She did not say how she got to the house in question or how she got home or whose house it was.
Fourth, I’ve submitted to this committee detailed calendars recording my activities in the summer of 1982. Why did I keep calendars? My dad started keeping detailed calendars of his life in 1978. He did so with both a calendar and a diary.
Very organized guy, to put it mildly. Christmas time we’d sit around and he would have old milestone, old weddings and events from his calendars. In ninth grade — in ninth grade in 1980 I started keeping calendars of my own. For me also it’s both a calendar and a diary. I’ve kept such calendars and diaries for the last 38 years. Mine are not as good as my dad’s in some years, and when I was a kid the calendars are about what you would expect from a kid. Some goofy parts to embarrassing parts, but I did have the summer of 1982 documented pretty well.
The event described by Dr. Ford presumably happened on a weekend as I believe everyone worked and had jobs in the Summers, and in any event, a drunken early evening event of the kind she describes presumably happened on a weekend. If it was a weekend, my calendars show that I was out of town almost every weekend night before football training camp started in late August. The only weekend night that I was in D.C. Were Friday, June 4 when I was with my dad at a pro golf tournament. And had my high school achievement test at 8:30 the next morning.
I also was in D.C. On Saturday night August 7th, I was at a small gathering at beck’s’s house in rockville with Matt, Denise, Lori and Jenny. Their names are all listed on my calendar. I won’t use their last names. Lori and Jenny. Their names are all listed on my calendar. I won’t use their last names here and then the weekend of August 20th, I was doing final preparations for football training camp that began on Sunday the 22nd.
As the calendars confirm, that weekend before a brutal football training camp schedule was no time for parties. So let me emphasize this point. If the party described by Dr. Ford happened in the summer of 1982 on a weekend night, my calendar shows all but definitively that I was not there.
During the week days in the summer of 1982, as you can see I was out of town for two weeks in the summer for a trip to the beach with friends and at the legendary five-star basketball camp in Homesdale, Pennsylvania. When I was in town I spent much of my time, working, working out, lifting weight, playing basketball or hanging out and having some beers with friends as we talked about life and football and school and girls.
Some have noticed that I didn’t have church on Sundays on my calendars. I also didn’t list brushing my teeth and for me going to church on Sundays was like brushing my teeth. Automatic. Still is. In the summer of 1981 I worked construction. In the summer of 1982 my job was cutting lawns. I had my own business of sorts. You see some specifics about the lawn cutting listed on the August calendar page when I had the time the last lawn cutting of the summer of various lawns before football training camp.
I played in a lot of summer league basketball games for the Georgetown Prep team at night at Blair high school in silver springs. Men nights I worked out at another guy Tobin’s house — he was a great quarterback on our football team and his dad ran a workout or lifted weights at Georgetown Prep in preparation for the football season.
I attended and watched many sporting, vents as is my habit to this day. The calendars show a few weekday gatherings at friends’ houses after a workout or just to meet up and have some beers, but none of those gatherings included the group of people that Dr. Ford has identified. And as my calendars show I was very precise about listing who was there, very precise in, and keep in mind my calendars were also diaries of sorts, forward looking and backward looking just like my dad’s.
He can see, for example, I crossed out missed workout and the canceled doctor’s appointments and that I listed the precise people who had shown up for certain events. The calendars are obviously not dispositive on their own, but they’re another piece of evidence in the mix for you to consider.
Fifth, Dr. Ford’s allegation is radically inconsistent with my record and my character for my youth to the present day. As students at an all-boys Catholic Jesuit school, many of us became friends and remain friends to this day with students at local catholic all-girl schools. One feature of my life that has remained true to the present day is that I’ve always had a lot of close female friends. I’m not talking about girlfriends. I’m talking about friends who were women. That started in high school. Maybe it’s because I’m an old child and had no sister, but we had no social media or text or email and we talked on the I remember talking almost every night it seemed to my friends Amy or Julie or Kristen or Karen or Suzanne or Moira or Megan or Nicky.
The list goes on. Friends for a lifetime built on a foundation of talking through school and life charting at age 14. Several of those great women are in the seats right behind me today. My friends and I sometimes got together and had parties on weekends, the drinking age was 18 in Maryland for most of my time in high school and was for all of my time in high school. I drank beer with my friends. Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers. Sometimes others did. I liked beer. I still like beer, but I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out and I never sexually assaulted anyone.
There say bright line between drinking beer which I gladly do and which I fully embrace and sexually assaulting someone which is a violent crime. If every American who drinks beer or every American who drank beer in high school is suddenly presumed guilty of sexual assault it would be an ugly new place in this country. I never committed sexual assault program as high school students we sometimes did goofy or stupid things.
I look back at high school and cringing for some things. For one thing, our yearbook was a disaster. I think some editors and students wanted the yearbook to be some combination of Animal House, Caddyshack and Fast Times at Ridgemont High which were all recent movies at that time. Many of us went along in the yearbook to the point of absurdity. This past week — my friends and I have cringed — when we read about it and talked to each other.
One thing in particular we’re sad about one of our good one of our good female friends who we would dance with had her name used on the yearbook page with the term alumnus. That yearbook reference was “Renate Alum” was intended to show affection in that she was one of us. But in this circus, the media’s determines it was related to sex. It was not related to sex. The woman herself noted the media on the record. She and I never had any sexual interaction at all. So sorry to her for that yearbook reference. This may sound a bit trivial given all that we are here for, but one thing I want to try to make sure — sure of in the future to my friendship with her. She was and is a great person.
This is not a topic I ever imagined would come up in a judicial confirmation hearing and I want to give you a full picture of who I was. I never had sexual intercourse or anything close to it during high school or for many years after that and in some crowds I would be outwardly shy about my inexperience. I tried to hide that. I was also inwardly proud of it. For me and the girls who I was friends with, that lack of major rampant sexual activity in high school was a matter of faith and respect and caution.
The committee has a letter from 65 women who knew me in high school. They said that I always treated them with dignity and respect.
That letter came together in one night. Thirty-five years after graduation, while a sexual assault allegation was pending against me in a very fogged and public situation where they knew, they knew they’d be vilified if they defended me. Think about that. They put themselves on the line for me.
Those are some awesome women. I love all of them — you also have a letter from women who knew me in college. Those were varsity athletes. They described that I treated them as friends and equals and supported them in their sports at a time when women’s sports was emerging in the wake of Title IX. I thank all of them for all their texts and their e-mails and their support.
One of those women friends from college, a self-described liberal and feminist sent me a text last night that said, quote, “deep breaths. You’re a good man. A good man. Good man.” A text yesterday from another of those women friends from college said, quote, “Brett, be strong. Pulling for you to my core.” A third text yesterday from yet another of those women I’m friends with from college said, “I’m holding you in the light of God.”
As I said in my opening statement, the last time I was with you, cherish your friends, look out for your friend, lift up your friends, love your friends. I felt that love more over the last two weeks than I ever have in my life. I thank all my friends. I love all my friends.
Throughout my life, I’ve devoted huge efforts to encouraging and from promoting the careers of women. I will put my record up against anyone, male or female. I am proud of the letter from 84 84 women when [they] worked with me at the Bush White House from 2001 to 2006 and described me as, quote, “a man of the highest integrity.” Read the op-ed from Sarah Day from Yarmouth, Maine.
She worked outside of President Bush’s office. Here’s what she recently wrote in centralmaine.com. Today she stands by her comment. Quote, Brett was an advocate for young women like me. He encouraged me to take on more responsibility and to feel confident in my role. In fact, during the 2004 Republican national convention Brett gave me the opportunity to help with the preparation and review of the president’s remarks, something I never — something I never would have had the chance to do if he’d not included me, and he didn’t just include me in the work. He made sure I was at Madison square garden to watch the president’s speech instead of back at the hotel watching it on TV. End quote. As a judge since 2006 I’ve had the privilege of hiring four recent law school graduate to serve as my law clerk each year. The law clerks for federal judges are the best and brightest graduates of American law school. They work for one-year terms for judges after law school and then they move on in their careers. For judges, training these young lawyers is an important responsibility. The clerks will become the next generation of American lawyers and leaders, judges and senators. Just after I took the bench in 2006 there was a major New York Times story that the low numbers of women law clerk in the supreme court and federal appeals courts. I took notice and I took action.
A majority of my 48 law clerks over the last 12 years have been women. In a letter to this committee, my women law clerk said I was one of the strongest advocates in the federal judiciary for women lawyers, and they wrote that the legal profession is fairer and more equal for women lawyers and wrote the legal profession is fairer and more equal because of me. In my time on the bench, no federal judge, not a single one in the country, has sent more women law clerks to clerk on the supreme court than I have. Before this allegation arose two weeks ago, I was required to start making certain administrative preparations for my possible transfer to the supreme court just in case I was confirmed.
As part of that, I had to, in essence, contingently hire a first group of four law clerks who could be available to clerk at Supreme Court for me on a moment’s notice. I did so and contingently hired four law clerks. All four women. If confirmed, I’ll be the first justice in the history of the supreme court to have a group of all women law clerks. That is who I am. That is who I was. Over the past 12 years, I’ve taught constitutional law to hundreds of students. Primarily at Harvard law school. While I was hired by then-dean and now-justice Elena Kagan. One of my former women students, a Democrat, testified to this committee that I was an even-handed professor who treats people fairly and with respect. In a letter to this committee, my former students, male and female alike, wrote that I displayed a character that impressed us all.
I love teaching law. Thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee unleashed, I may never be able to teach again. For the past seven year, I’ve coached my two daughters’ basketball teams. You saw many of those girls when they came to my hearing for a couple of hours. You have a letter from the parents of the girls I coach that describe my dedication, commitment, and character. I coach because I know that a girl’s confidence on the basketball court translates into confidence in other aspects of life. I love coaching more than anything I’ve ever done in my whole life, but thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to coach again. I’ve been a judge for 12 years.
I have a long record of service to America and to the constitution. I revere the constitution. I am deeply grateful to President Trump for nominating he was so gracious to my family and me on the July night he announced my nomination at the White House. I thank him for his steadfast when I accepted the president’s nomination, Ashley and I knew this process would be challenging. We never expected that it would devolve into this. Explaining this to our daughters has been about the worst experience of our lives. Ashley has been a rock. I thank god every day for Ashley and my family.
We live in a country devoted to due process and the rule of law. That means taking allegations seriously, but if the mere allegation, the mere assertion of an allegation, a refuted allegation from 36 years ago, is enough to destroy a person’s life and career, we will have abandoned the basic principles of fairness and due process that define our legal system in our country. I ask you to judge me by the standard that you would want applied to your father. Your husband. Your brother. Or your son. My family and I intent no ill will toward Dr. Ford or her family, but I swear today under oath before the Senate and the nation, before my family and God, I am innocent of this charge.
Letter to Senate Judiciary Committee:
Adams, B. (2018, September 23). New Brett Kavanaugh accusation has a bunch of flaws, but Democrats already using it against him anyway. Washington Examiner. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/new-brett-kavanaugh-accusation-has-a-bunch-of-flaws-but-democrats-already-using-it-against-him-anyway
Anderson, M. (2018, September 17). Who is Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault? NPR. Retrieved from: https://www.npr.org/2018/09/17/648803684/who-is-christine-blasey-ford-the-woman-accusing-brett-kavanaugh-of-sexual-assaul
Bustos, S. (2018, September 24). Brett Kavanaugh: Full transcript of Fox interview. USA Today. Retrieved from: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/09/24/brett-kavanaugh-transcript-interview-fox-news-martha-maccullum/1415548002/
Chamberlain, S. (2018, September 24). Kavanaugh denies sexual misconduct in Fox News exclusive: ‘I know I’m telling the truth’. Fox News. Retrieved from: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/09/24/brett-kavanaugh-wife-ashley-speak-out-on-supreme-court-nomination-controversy-in-fox-news-exclusive.html
Cole, D. (2018, September 24). Trump says allegations against Kavanaugh ‘totally political’. CNN. Retrieved from: https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/24/politics/donald-trump-kavanaugh-allegations-totally-political/index.html
Farrow, R., & Mayer, J. (2018, September 23). Senate democrats investigate a new allegation of sexual misconduct, from Brett Kavanaugh’s college years. The New Yorker. Retrieved from: https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/senate-democrats-investigate-a-new-allegation-of-sexual-misconduct-from-the-supreme-court-nominee-brett-kavanaughs-college-years-deborah-ramirez