Wednesday 14 November 2018

Supreme Court pick Kavanaugh: I will not let false accusations push me out

‘I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone, in high school or otherwise,’ Mr Kavanaugh insisted in a televised interview.

Brett Kavanaugh, with his wife Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, answers questions during a Fox News interview (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
Brett Kavanaugh, with his wife Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, answers questions during a Fox News interview (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

By Kevin Freking, Associated Press

US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has declared in a televised interview that he never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or at any other time in his life.

Mr Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley, sat down for an interview with Fox News Channel’s The Story With Martha MacCallum after a second woman accused him of sexual misconduct.

 

Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her at a party when they were teenagers.

Mr Kavanaugh denied he was “at any such party”. He said he did not question that perhaps Ms Ford at some point in her life was sexually assaulted, “but what I know is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.”

Mr Kavanaugh said it was possible he may have met Ms Ford at some time, but he said they were not friends and did not travel in the same social circles. He said he did not remember being at a party with her.

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Brett Kavanaugh during a Fox News interview with Martha MacCallum (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

“I was not at the party described,” Mr Kavanaugh said.

Mr Kavanaugh was asked if there was any chance Ms Ford misunderstood an exchange between them.

“I have never had any sexual or physical activity with Dr Ford,” Mr Kavanaugh said. “I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone, in high school or otherwise.”

The second woman, Deborah Ramirez, has accused Mr Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a Yale dormitory party.

Mr Kavanaugh said: “I never did any such thing.”

“If such a thing had happened, it would have been the talk of campus,” Mr Kavanaugh said.

It is rare for nominees to the Supreme Court to give interviews.

Russell Wheeler, an expert on the judicial selection process at the Brookings Institution, said he is unaware of a similar media interview by a Supreme Court nominee in the past 100 years.

But there was nothing ordinary about the stakes and circumstances of Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination, with Republicans fighting to get him on the court by the end of September and cement a conservative-leaning court for years to come.

President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they are determined to get Mr Kavanaugh on the court, calling the allegations against him false and politically motivated.

Mr Kavanaugh was defiant as well.

“I’m not going to let false accusations drive us out of this process,” Mr Kavanaugh said.

Democrats have accused Republicans of not conducting a thorough review in their rush to get Mr Kavanaugh confirmed. They want the FBI to reopen its background investigation of Mr Kavanaugh and look into the allegations against him.

Ms Ford and Mr Kavanaugh are set to testify on Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In the Fox interview, Mr Kavanaugh got a taste of the personal questions he will face from senators.

MacCallum asked him how long he was a virgin in college, after he volunteered that he never had sex in high school.

“Many years after. I’ll leave it at that,” Mr Kavanaugh said.

Ashley Kavanaugh was asked whether she wondered if her husband was telling the truth about the allegations against him. “No, I know Brett. I’ve known him for 17 years,” she said, adding: “I know his heart. This is not consistent with Brett.”

Mr Kavanaugh appeared to get emotional at the end of the interview. He said Mr Trump called him in the afternoon to show his support.

“I know he’s going to stand by me,” Mr Kavanaugh said.

Mr Trump said Democrats are “working hard to destroy” Mr Kavanaugh.

On Twitter, the president said that Mr Kavanaugh is “a wonderful man, and a man who has the potential to be one of our greatest Supreme Court Justices ever”.

Mr Trump later urged his supporters on Twitter to “REMEMBER THE MIDTERMS!”

Press Association

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