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Brett Kavanaugh Barely Controls His Rage in Combative Testimony Denying Sexual Assault Allegations

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Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh Thursday morning, saying with certainty that it was Kavanaugh who attempted to rape her when they were in high school in 1982. Judge Kavanaugh repeatedly denied Blasey Ford’s allegations, denouncing her testimony with barely controlled rage and repeatedly choking up with tears in his eyes. He singled out Democrats on the committee and accused them of staging a “circus” aimed at derailing his confirmation. We feature an excerpt from Kavanaugh’s opening statement.

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Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. Today we’re bringing you excerpts from Thursday’s historic Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. We started with the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Now we go to the testimony of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. In the morning, Blasey Ford testified she was “100 percent positive” it was Kavanaugh who attempted to rape her at a small gathering of high school students in 1982. In the afternoon, Judge Kavanaugh testified. While he said he did not watch Blasey Ford’s testimony, he repeatedly denied her allegations, denouncing them with barely controlled rage, repeatedly choking up with tears in his eyes. He singled out Democrats on the committee and accused them of staging a “circus” aimed at derailing his nomination. This is an excerpt of Brett Kavanaugh’s opening statement.

JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH: 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 has 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 Democratic National 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 meaning. Millions of Americans listened 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 email to my wife, to make any kind of allegation against me and against my friends, to blow me up and take me down? You sowed the wind for decades to come. I fear that the whole 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 just a good old-fashioned attempt at Borking. Those efforts didn’t work. When I did at least OK 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 merits. 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 2-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 and coordinated character assassination will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from serving our country. And as we all know, in the United States 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, to be optimistic about the day that is coming, but today I have to say that I fear for the future. 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 am.

I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. You have tried hard. You’ve given it your all. No one can question your effort. But 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 quit. 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 thirties, 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 who 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.

AMY GOODMAN: Judge Brett Kavanaugh, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday. When we come back, we’ll hear questioning of both of those who testified, Dr. Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Stay with us.

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Dr. Christine Blasey Ford: I Am 100% Certain Brett Kavanaugh Attempted to Rape Me in 1982

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