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Brett Kavanaugh says opposition against him is hit job fuelled by 'anger against Trump' and 'revenge for Clintons'

'You may defeat me in the final vote. But you’ll never defeat me ever'

Andrew Buncombe
Washington DC
Thursday 27 September 2018 16:37 BST
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Brett Kavanaugh says opposition against him is political hit job fulled by 'anger against Trump' and 'revenge on behalf of Clintons'

An emotional Brett Kavanaugh has claimed opposition against him is fuelled by anger over Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory and by revenge on “behalf of the Clintons”.

In a combative address to the Senate Judiciary Committee that unleashed the frustration he has reportedly been sitting on for weeks, the Supreme Court nominee launched a strident defence of his nomination and denied the volley of sexual assault allegations levelled against him. He frequently paused, apparently overcome with emotion – among such moments when he claimed his 10-year-old daughter told him we should pray for Christine Blasey Ford – one of at least three accusers to have made allegations him.

“This has destroyed my family and my good name. A good name built up through decades of public service,” he said, adding that the consequences of what was playing out before the committee would be felt for decades.

“I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. Your co-ordinated and well funded effort to destroy my good name... will not drive me out.”

In comments he reportedly wrote just the night before, he added: “You may defeat me in the final vote. But you’ll never defeat me ever...I’m here to tell the truth, I have never sexually assaulted anyone.”

Mr Kavanaugh, 53, spoke the committee barely an hour after they had heard an equally defiant Mr Ford who said she was “100 per cent” sure Mr Kavanaugh had tried to remove her clothes at at party in Maryland three decades ago.

“Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes. He had a hard time because he was so drunk, and because I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit under my clothes. I believed he was going to rape me. I tried to yell for help,” she told senators.

“When I did, Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from screaming. This was what terrified me the most, and has had the most lasting impact on my life. It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me.”

Mr Kavanaugh directly rejected Ms Ford’s accusations. “I have never done that to her, or to anyone,” he said. “It is possible that we met at some point at some events, but I do not recall that.”

He said he drank a lot in his youth, but that there was a “bright line between drinking beer – which I gladly do and fully embrace, and sexual assault. I never committed sexual assault”.

He added: “As high school students we sometimes did goofy and stupid things. This past week, my friends and I have cringed when we read about it and talked to each other.”

The judge, with emotion still in his voice, claimed Democrats on the committee, had destroyed his life.

“I love teaching law. But thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee I may never be able to teach again,” he said.

“I love coaching [basketball] more than anything 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.”

Mr Kavanaugh said while, in a country devoted to the process of law it was appropriate to take allegations seriously, “if an allegation...from 36 years ago, is enough to destroy a persons career we will have abandoned... due process”.

He added: “My family and I intend no ill will to Dr Ford and her family. I swear before the nation and God I am innocent of this charge.”

Ms Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California, said over during testimony that extended over four hours, that a drunken Mr Kavanaugh attacked her and tried to remove her clothing at a gathering of teenagers in Maryland when he was 17 years old and she was 15 in 1982.

Mr Kavanaugh said he wanted to testify as soon as Ms Ford’s allegation first emerged and was not surprised that other allegations followed.

He said: “In those 10 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.”

In a heated exchange with Democratic senator Patrick Leahy, Mr Kavanaugh was asked whether a character in a book by one of Mr Kavanaugh’s friends, Mark Judge, who keeps passing out from excessive drinking, was based on him.

“You’d have to ask him,” said Mr Kavanaugh. Mr Leahy replied: “I agree with you there.”

Asked by Democrat Dick Durbin whether he would be open to an FBI investigation, he said he would be open to whatever the committee wanted him to do. “I have said I am willing to do anything. I am innocent.”

Committee chairman Chuck Grassley said Mr Durbin could request an FBI report if he wanted to.

Mr Kavanaugh was defended by South Carolina Lindsey Graham who attacked Democrats on the committee and said he had been forced to go through “hell”.

“If you wanted a fair process...you came to wrong town at the wrong time,” Mr Graham said to Mr Kavanaugh.

“This is going to destroy the ability of good people to come forward because of this crap.”

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