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In Fox News interview, Kavanaugh sets a blueprint for Senate hearing

Brett and Ashley Kavanaugh in 2006, when life seemed simpler.
Reuters/Larry Downing
Brett and Ashley Kavanaugh in 2006.
  • Ephrat Livni
By Ephrat Livni

Senior reporter, law & politics, DC.

This article is more than 2 years old.

In an interview that aired Monday (Sept. 24), US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his wife Ashley spoke to Martha MacCallum of Fox News’ The Story about sexual misconduct allegations stalling his confirmation process. The couple revealed little, and stayed close to talking points that will likely form the basis of Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

“All I’m asking for is a fair process,” Kavanaugh told MacCallum repeatedly during the interview. “America is about fairness…In America, we have fairness…process protects you… fair process means hearing from both sides at a minimum…I just want a fair process where I can be heard and defend my integrity.”

While Kavanaugh denied the accusations against him, he was careful not to assail Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexually assaulting her at a party in the summer of 1982 when they were both in high school. “I’m not questioning that Dr. Ford was sexually assaulted,” Kavanaugh said, before emphasizing again that he wants the opportunity to be heard.

Regarding accusations from Deborah Ramirez reported by The New Yorker on Sept. 23, Kavanaugh said he did not expose himself to Ramirez at a party when they were undergraduates at Yale University. “I never did any such thing…If I had done such a thing, it would have been all over campus,” he said. The judge noted that until last week, Ramirez herself had expressed doubts it was him, based on the reports he received and a story in the New York Times (paywall). Still, Kavanaugh refused to comment on The New Yorker’s journalistic process and was careful to return to his central talking point: He wants a fair opportunity to be heard.

As to claims by Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels who says he represents a third accuser who will testify that Kavanaugh was involved in gang rapes at parties in the 1980s, the nominee denied the accusations vehemently. “That’s totally false and outrageous,” Kavanaugh said. He reminded MacCallum that he attended a Jesuit high school where he focused on his studies and sports and service, as well as “friendship” with both men and women.

Kavanaugh conceded that the legal drinking age was 18 and that seniors attended parties where there was beer when he was in high school. He veered briefly into dangerous territory, saying there were perhaps situations when some people had too many beers and that “everyone” has done something in their past that makes them cringe. But Kavanaugh was adamant that he never sexually assaulted anyone and never drank so much that he couldn’t remember what he’d done.

As an additional defense, Kavanaugh told MacCallum that he was a virgin throughout high school and college; when pressed, he would not say when precisely he lost his virginity. He also refused to speculate as to why he might be accused of things he hadn’t done, just saying he wants a chance to defend himself.

“I know Brett. I’ve known him for 17 years…I know his heart,” Ashley Kavanaugh responded when asked about the veracity of the accusations leveled against her husband. She said the confirmation process was more difficult than she imagined, but that their “faith is strong” and “they will stick it out.” She insisted that “Brett is a good man” and that the accusations are not consistent with what she knows about him.

Regarding Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations, Ashley Kavanaugh said, “I don’t understand it…I don’t know what happened to her…I feel badly for her family and for her.”

On Thursday, Kavanaugh will answer questions before the Senate Judiciary Committee. If tonight’s interview is any indication, he will not say much we haven’t heard before. He’ll say he was the national leader in sending female law clerks to the US Supreme Court, that he has always treated women with dignity and respect, and that women will attest to this, as did the 65 who signed a letter supporting Kavanaugh when Blasey Ford’s accusations were first made known. He’ll remind us that he coached girls basketball teams, insisting we “ask the moms” whether he supports gender equality.

Still, he’ll have that the opportunity to be heard, which is all Kavanaugh professes to really want. “I’m not perfect,” Kavanaugh told MacCallum. “But I’ve never done anything like this.”

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