Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh gave a fiery and emotional defense against an accusation of sexual assault leveled by Christine Blasey Ford, saying Thursday his name had been destroyed and he would not be intimidated into withdrawing from the process.
"I'm here today to tell the truth," Kavanaugh said. "I've never sexual assaulted anyone, not in high school, not in college, not ever. Sexual assault is horrific."
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He commented on the impact the allegations have had on his family, saying, "My family and my name have been destroyed by vicious and false accusations."
Kavanaugh, whose interview alongside his wife Ashley on Fox News on Monday was reserved, grew angry before the Senate Judiciary Committee as he blasted Senate Democrats and noted a lack of evidence to corroborate Ford's claim that Kavanaugh tried to rape her at a party in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh has also denied two other charges of sexual misconduct from his teenaged years.
Kavanaugh said the Senate had replaced "advise 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," he said, noting one Democratic lawmaker on the committee, Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.), had even referred to him as "evil" and another, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.), called him "your worst nightmare," without calling them out by name.
Reports emerged of President Donald Trump, who has faced more than a dozen allegations of sexual misconduct, telling Kavanaugh to be forceful in his defense on Thursday. If true, he appeared to have listened.
"The behavior of this committee was an embarrassment," Kavanaugh said angrily of his earlier confirmation hearing. "At least it was just a good, old-fashioned attempt at ‘Borking.'"
He went on to call the process a "circus" and apparently "revenge on behalf of the Clintons."
"This whole two-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," he said. "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."
At several points, he choked up and even cried when recounting that one of his daughters said they should pray for Ford.
"That's a lot of wisdom from a 10-year-old," he said.
Kavanaugh concluded in saying he had no ill will toward Ford, but he swore "under oath, before the Senate and the nation, before my family and God, I am innocent of this charge."