Following a morning of testimony from his accuser that was deemed credible by some Republican senators, a defiant Brett Kavanaugh declared the Supreme Court nomination process has become a “national disgrace,” charging Democrats replaced the Senate’s “advice and consent” role with “search and destroy.”
Kavanaugh opened with pointing out that the witnesses that accuser Christine Blasey Ford has named all say they do not remember being at the kind of gathering she describes.
Even Ford’s lifelong friend, Leland Ingham Keyser, has denied the professor’s claim that she was at the gathering and said she didn’t know Kavanaugh.
Warming up, an angry Kavanaugh said he had demanded a hearing the very next day after Ford’s claim became public to clear his name.
But it took 10 days, he said, and during that time “my family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false accusations.”
The claims, he said, are “harmful also to the Supreme Court and the country.”
“I know that any kind of investigation, Senate, FBI, Montgomery County police county, whatever, will clear me,” he said.
The judge urged the senators to “listen to the people I know, listen to the people who have known me my whole life.”
And he urged, once again, that the senators listen to the purported witnesses who all say they were at no such gathering.
“She does not know me,” he said of Keyser. “I was not at the party described by Dr. Ford.”
‘Search and destroy’
Kavanaugh said the nomination process “has become a national disgrace.”
The Constitution, he said, gives the Senate the responsibility of “advice and consent” in the nomination of Supreme Court justices, but Democrats have replaced it with “search and destroy.”
There’s a “frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything, to block my nomination,” he said.
He chastised senators who he said have defamed him, calling him, for example, “evil.”
“Your words have meaning,” he said, that are heard by millions of Americans.
“You’ve sowed the wind for decades to come,” he warned. “I fear that the whole country will reap the whirlwind.”
He called the previous round of confirmation hearings in which Democrats immediately tried to adjourn an “embarrassment” and a “good, old fashioned attempt at Borking,” referring to Democrats’ blocking of nominee Robert Bork in 1987.
When the committee was about to vote, he said, “a new tactic” was deployed, telling senators that “some of you had it lying in wait.”
“When it was needed, this allegation was unleashed and publicly deployed, over Dr. Ford’s wishes,” he said.
“Then came a long series of false, last-minute smears,” said Kavanaugh, including two more accusers who came forward with uncorroborated claims in the past week.
He called the claims “crazy stuff, gangs, illegitimate children, fights on boats in Rhode Island.”
“All nonsense,” he said, “reported breathlessly and uncorroborated by the media.”
“This has destroyed my family and my good name,” said Kavanaugh, “a good name built up through decades of hard work and service at the highest levels of government.”
Republicans committee members, with an 11-10 majority, met Thursday night, and a vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation could be held as early as Friday morning.
A final vote in the full Senate, where the GOP holds a 51-49 margin, could happen as early as Tuesday.
Grotesque character assassination
Kavanaugh said the resistance to him appears to be “fueled by pent-up anger” about President Trump and the 2016 presidential election, “revenge on behalf of the Clintons” and “millions of dollars.”
“This is a circus,” he said, and “the consequences will be with us for decades.
“This grotesque and coordinated character assassination will dissuade good people from serving,” said Kavanaugh.
“What goes around comes around,” a clearly angry Kavanaugh said. “I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process.”
“Your coordinated, well-funded effort to destroy my good name and my family will not drive me out,” he vowed.
“You may defeat me in the final vote, but you will never get me to quit,” he said. “Never.”
Kavanaugh said he was there “to tell the truth.”
“I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone, not in high school, not in college, not ever.”
He cited the advice of his mother, a retired judge, to discern what rings true and what rings false, reiterating that Ford’s claim has no corroboration and was refuted by people she insists were present.
He has 26 years of government service “without a whiff of an allegation,” he said.
Yet he was called “evil” by a Democratic member of the committee and others have warned people will die if he’s confirmed
“This onslaught of last minute allegations does not ring true,” he said.
Kavanaugh said he’s not questioning whether or not Ford was sexually assaulted “by someone at some place at some time.”
In tears, he said his 10-year-old daughter, before bed, said, “We should pray for the woman,” referring to Ford.
‘New level of absurdity’
Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., pointed to entries in Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook that critics have said indicate he was a rowdy partier.
Kavanaugh explained the editors of the yearbook included some “farce” and “exaggeration” in the text.
“If you want to sit here and talk about whether a Supreme Court nomination should be based on a high school yearbook page, that’s taking us to a new level of absurdity,” he said.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., pressed Kavanaugh to ask White House counsel Don McGahn, who was sitting in the room, “to suspend the hearing until the FBI completes its investigation and brings witnesses forward” to “finally put to rest these charges if they are false and to prove them if they are not.”
Chairman Grassley responded to his Democratic colleague with energy in his voice.
“This committee is running this hearing. Not you, not Don McGahn, note even the nominee,” he said.
“We are here today because Dr. Ford asked for an opportunity to be heard. We’re not suspending this hearing.”
As Senate Democrats continued to press for a further delay of the confirmation process, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., unleashed anger on his colleagues across the aisle that apparently had been building over weeks.
“If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could have come to us,” he told Democrats.
“What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open and hope you win in 2020,” Graham said.
Jabbing his finger, the senator said, “You’ve said that. Not me.”
Earlier Thursday, Ford claimed Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her during a small gathering when both were in high school 36 years ago. Saying she was “terrified” to testify, she described Kavanaugh as “the boy who sexually assaulted me,” declaring she “believed he was going to rape me.”
Two other women have since come forward, also with uncorroborated claims of sexual misconduct, and other anonymous complaints were sent to lawmakers Wednesday, on the eve of the hearing.
Just prior to the hearing, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut told reporters outside the hearing room that he and his colleagues were prepared to grill Kavanaugh about his personal life to establish a pattern that would lend credibility to Ford’s accusation.
“Every issue that bears on credibility, including sexual assault, excessive drinking, personal relationships, past records, are all fair game in this inquiry,” he said.
Asked this morning what motive Keyser might have, Ford said her friend “has significant health challenges, and I’m happy she is focused on her self and getting the health treatment that she needs, and she let me know she let her lawyer take care of it.”
Along with Judge, Patrick J. Smyth has declared he can’t corroborate Ford’s claim.
“I don’t expect that PJ and Leland would remember this party … because nothing remarkable happened to them,” she said. “They were downstairs.”
Republican staff members revealed Wednesday night that they had interviewed “a man who believes he, not Judge Kavanaugh, had the encounter with Dr. Ford in 1982.”
But Ford said she is “100 percent” certain it was Kavanaugh who attacked her.
‘From the Twilight Zone’
On Wednesday, the lawyer of porn star Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti, presented an affidavit from a client, Julie Swetnick, who claims that in approximately 1982 she was a victim of a gang rape at a party in which Judge and Kavanaugh “were present.” But Swetnick claims that after that incident, she, implausibly, went on to attend 10 more “gang rape” parties.
Later Wednesday, NBC News reported the Senate Judiciary Committee was inquiring about an anonymous complaint sent to Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., charging Kavanaugh, while inebriated, physically assaulted a woman he socialized with in the Washington, D.C., area in 1998.
Swetnick’s accusation came after the New Yorker, in a much-maligned piece Sunday lacking corroborating witnesses, reported Deborah Ramirez claimed Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party when both were freshmen at Yale University.
Kavanaugh denied Swetnick’s charge as “ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone.”
His attorney, Beth Wilkinson, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview Wednesday that Kavanaugh is “outraged, as you might imagine, by this latest allegation.”
“He has never met this woman, he doesn’t know Ms. Swetnick, he didn’t go to parties with her,” she said.
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