Brett Kavanaugh's Fox News Interview Is Now Testimony Under Oath - Rolling Stone
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Brett Kavanaugh’s Fox News Interview Is Now Testimony Under Oath

The judge’s potentially dubious claims about drinking and virginity carry penalty of perjury

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

Brett Kavanaugh and his wife Ashley answer questions during a FoX News interview with Martha MacCallum.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP/REX Shutterstock

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee released transcripts of a private interview with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. In his sworn testimony, Kavanaugh denied the explosive sexual allegations brought by Julie Swetnick. “I’ve never participated in a gang rape.” Kavanaugh said. “I’ve never participated in sexual activity with more than one woman present and me. I think — yeah. Just making sure I accurately described that. In other words, I’ve never had a threesome or more than a threesome.” Kavanaugh also flatly denied the allegations brought by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, and Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez, who accused Kavanaugh of exposing his penis to her at a party.

Kavanaugh’s lawyerly parsing of his sexual activity among multiple women was highlighted by Axios. But other news from the transcript has escaped notice. Most consequential: that Fox News interview that Kavanaugh conducted with Martha MacCallum has been entered into evidence as testimony by Kavanaugh — under “penalty of felony,” as the judge might put it. This means that the credibility-straining claims Kavanaugh made on the network could now place him in legal jeopardy.

In the Judiciary Committee transcript, the Fox News interview is placed retroactively under oath. A staffer, whose name is redacted, asks Kavanaugh: “Everything that you said on that interview, do you — do you affirm that today? Do you adopt that as your testimony today?” Kavanaugh replies, “Yes.” The SCOTUS nominee also responds in the affirmative when the questioner asks if Kavanaugh understands that entering his answers to Fox News as testimony means that he is “subject to felony prosecution if you’re lying.”

Reviewing the Fox News transcript, Kavanaugh has now placed the following claims under oath:

His behavior toward women:

Kavanaugh: “I’ve always treated women with dignity and respect.”

His days at Georgetown Prep:

Kavanaugh: “I was focused on academics and athletics, going to church every Sunday at Little Flower, working on my service projects, and friendship, friendship with my fellow classmates and friendship with girls from the local all girls Catholic schools…. I was focused on trying to be number one in my class and being captain of the varsity basketball team and doing my service projects, going to church.”

His sexual experiences:

Kavanaugh: “I did not have sexual intercourse or anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter…”

MacCallum: “So you’re saying that through all these years that are in question, you were a virgin?”

Kavanaugh: “That’s correct.”

MacCallum:  “Never had sexual intercourse with anyone in high school —”

Kavanaugh: “Correct.”

MacCallum:  “— and through what years in college since we’re probing into your personally life here?”

Kavanaugh: “Many years after. I’ll leave it at that. Many years after.”

His drinking habit:

MacCallum: “Was there ever a time that you drank so much that you couldn’t remember what happened the night before?”

Kavanaugh:  “No, that never happened.”

MacCallum: “You never said to anyone, ‘I don’t remember anything about last night.’”

Kavanaugh:  “No, that did not happen.”

Kavanaugh’s contemporaries have publicly disputed several of these claims. Kavanaugh and other Georgetown Prep classmates wrote in their yearbooks of being a “Renate alumnus.” (Kavanaugh misspelled it as “alumnius.”) The woman they referred to, Renate Schroeder Dolphin, understands the entries as bragging about making her a sexual conquest. “The insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue,” she told the New York Times. (In his public Senate testimony, Kavanaugh claimed: “That yearbook reference was clumsily intended to show affection, and that she was one of us.”)

Kavanaugh’s Yale classmates also disputed his claim of moderate drinking. His former classmate Liz Swisher told the Washington Post: “Brett was a sloppy drunk, and I know because I drank with him. I watched him drink more than a lot of people. He’d end up slurring his words, stumbling,” she said, adding, “it’s not credible for him to say that he has had no memory lapses in the nights that he drank to excess.”

Another Yale contemporary, Lynne Brookes, also said Kavanaugh’s Fox News interview (now testimony) was laughable. “He’s trying to paint himself as some kind of choir boy,” she told the Post. “You can’t lie your way onto the Supreme Court, and with that statement out, he’s gone too far. It’s about the integrity of that institution.”

Kavanaugh’s freshman year roommate, James Roche, recalled to the New Yorker that Kavanaugh was “frequently, incoherently drunk.” In a new statement, a former Kavanaugh drinking buddy, Chad Luddington, writes he has been “deeply troubled by what has been a blatant mischaracterization by Brett himself of his drinking at Yale.” He added: “On many occasions I heard Brett slur his words and saw him staggering from alcohol consumption, not all of which was beer. When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive.”

Documents released by Judiciary Committee member Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) also cast doubt on Kavanaugh’s truthfulness about drinking and memory. Emails from Kavanaugh’s time in the George W. Bush White House record his participation in a 2001 boy’s weekend on a boat rented from Annapolis, Maryland.

In an email to his friends from his White House account upon returning to work, Kavanaugh thanks his ship-mates for a great adventure but confesses he does not remember everything that happened, while apologizing for his belligerence: “Excellent time,” Kavanaugh writes in a message dated September 10th, 2001. “Apologies to all for missing Friday (good excuse), arriving late Saturday (weak excuse), and growing aggressive after blowing still another game of dice (don’t recall).”

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