Brett Kavanaugh Didn't Help His Case on Fox News - Rolling Stone
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Brett Kavanaugh Didn’t Help His Case on Fox News

The Supreme Court nominee dug himself a deeper hole as he tried to bat off accusations of sexual abuse

Brett Kavanaugh, Ashley Estes Kavanaugh. Brett Kavanaugh, with his wife Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, answers questions during a FOX News interview, in Washington, about allegations of sexual misconduct against the Supreme Court nomineeKavanaugh Supreme Court, Washington, USA - 24 Sep 2018Brett Kavanaugh, Ashley Estes Kavanaugh. Brett Kavanaugh, with his wife Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, answers questions during a FOX News interview, in Washington, about allegations of sexual misconduct against the Supreme Court nomineeKavanaugh Supreme Court, Washington, USA - 24 Sep 2018

Brett Kavanaugh, with his wife Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, answers questions during a FOX News interview in Washington about allegations of sexual misconduct.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP/REX Shutterstock

America has now reached the point in the story where a Supreme Court nominee goes on national TV to very solemnly explain when he lost his virginity. “We’re talking about allegations of sexual assault,” Brett Kavanaugh told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum on Monday. I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone. I did not have sexual intercourse or anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter.” Just as it was disturbing when Kavanaugh equated contraceptives to “abortion-inducing drugs” during his confirmation hearing earlier this month, it’s unsettling that a man seeking a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court thinks sexual activity and sexual assault are mutually exclusive. “What I know is the truth, and the truth is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone,” he added.

Despite Kavanaugh’s categorical denials of the allegations by Christine Blasey Ford — who claims Kavanaugh violently sexually assaulted her in high school — and Deborah Ramirez — who claims he pushed his exposed penis into her face against her will while they were students at Yale — the credibility of the accusations seems to strengthen by the day. On Monday, the New York Times published a story about the sexual and alcoholic references on Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook page, belying his claim on Fox News that he spent his devotion to sports and studying while at Georgetown Prep precluded him from partying. He also addressed Ramirez’s accusation while speaking with MacCallum. “If such a thing had happened, it would have been the talk of the campus,” he said. “The women I knew in college and the men I knew in college say it’s inconceivable that I could have done such a thing.”

The first part of the statement is correct, as Jane Mayer, one of the report’s authors, pointed out on Twitter.

The fact that people were talking about the incident after it happened is one of the tentpoles of the claim’s credibility. The New Yorker cites multiple students who detail hearing about it second-hand, several of which were able to corroborate the account independently of Ramirez. “We found classmates had been talking about this for weeks,” Mayer said Monday on CBS. “There’d been an email chain of Yale classmates of Kavanaugh talking about ‘will this thing come out’ long before Christine Blasey Ford came forward. We felt the public ought to know about this.”

Ronan Farrow, the report’s co-author, took care of the second part of Kavanaugh’s defense, that those he knew at the time say “it’s inconceivable that I could have done such a thing.”

James Roche, a software industry CEO who was Kavanaugh’s roommate at the time, released a statement on Monday to supplement the New Yorker‘s reporting. In it, he wrote about how Kavanaugh was “a notably heavy drinker, even by the standards of the time, and that he became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk.” He went on to note that he became friends with Ramirez and trusts her account. “Based on my time with Debbie, I believe her to be unusually honest and straightforward and I cannot imagine her making this up,” he wrote, adding that he believed “[Kavanaugh] and his social circle were capable of the actions Debbie described.”

Meanwhile, multiple students who signed their names to a statement disputing Ramirez’s account on Monday asked for their names to be removed from it. Dino Ewing  and Louisa Garry (who appeared in a Judicial Crisis Network ad supporting Kavanaugh) told the New Yorker they no longer wished to dispute Ramirez’s story. As Mayer points out, this means that only four classmates kept their names on the statement drafted by Kavanaugh’s lawyer. Two of the remaining signatories are implicated in the incident. Another is the wife of the man who reportedly told Ramirez to “kiss” Kavanaugh’s exposed penis. Later on Monday, Akhil Amar, a Yale law professor who had previously endorsed Kavanaugh, released a statement about having “second thoughts” about the nominee. “I believe that these accusations deserve the best and most professional investigation possible,” he wrote.

The GOP doesn’t seem to agree with Amar. While speaking on the Senate floor on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) seemed more determined than ever to push through Kavanaugh’s confirmation. After describing the allegations as something to “plow right through” last week, he called Democrats “despicable” while labelling the accusations from Ramirez and Ford as part of a smear campaign. President Trump was right behind him, tweeting Monday night about “an array of False Accusations the likes of which have never been seen before.”

According to Vanity Fair, Trump, who last week expressed a desire to hear Ford’s side of the story, was frustrated that McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley (R-IA) allowed her testimony to be moved from Monday to Thursday, calling them “weak.” Though Republicans have said they want to get to the bottom of the allegations, they have refused to subpoena Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s friend who Ford says was present during her alleged assault. They’ve been just as steadfast in dismissing the need for a federal investigation, which has been called for by both Ford and Ramirez, as well as Senate Democrats. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) says the Judiciary Committee could vote on Kavanaugh as soon as Friday.

The last person to potentially possess a smoking gun against Kavanaugh may be Michael Avenatti, who has appeared on cable news so often since taking on Stormy Daniels’ case that he seems to have cleaved himself into two identical talking heads.

The attorney and prospective 2020 presidential candidate claims he has multiple clients with explosive and “100 percent credible” allegations against Kavanaugh. He promised CNN’s Chris Cuomo that one of these clients will come forward in the next 48 hours, but absent a verifiable video of the sexual assault, it’s unlikely Senate Republicans are going to delay the confirmation proceedings any longer. “I want to make it perfectly clear,” McConnell said on Monday. “Judge Kavanaugh will be voted on here on the Senate floor.”


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