Watch: Brett Kavanaugh’s Full Opening Statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee

Watch: Brett Kavanaugh’s Full Opening Statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee


KAVANUGH: Mr. Chairman, ranking member Feinstein,
members of the committee: Thank you for allowing me to make my statement. I wrote
it myself yesterday afternoon and evening. No one has seen a draft of it
except for one of my former law clerks. This is my statement: Less than two weeks
ago, Dr. Ford publicly accused me of committing wrongdoing at an event more
than 36 years ago, when we were both in high school. I denied the allegation
immediately, categorically and unequivocally. All four people allegedly
at the event, including Dr. Ford’s longtime friend Miss Kaiser, have said
they recall no such event. Her longtime friend Miss Kaiser said under penalty of
felony that she does not know me and does not believe she ever saw me at a
party ever. Here is the quote from Miss Keiser’s
attorney’s letter, quote: “Simply put, Miss Kaiser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and
she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was
present, with or without Dr. Ford.” End quote. Think about that fact: the day after the allegation appeared, I told this
committee that I wanted a hearing as soon as possible to clear my name. I
demanded a hearing for the very next day. Unfortunately it took the committee 10
days to get to this hearing. In those 10 long days, as was predictable and as I
predicted, my family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed
by vicious and false additional accusations. The 10-day delay has been
harmful to me and my family, to the Supreme Court and to the country.
When this allegation first arose, I welcomed any kind of investigation —
Senate, FBI or otherwise. The committee now has conducted a thorough
investigation and I’ve cooperated fully. I know that any kind of investigation —
Senate, FBI, Montgomery County police, whatever — will clear me. Listen to the people I know. Listen to the people who’ve known me my whole life. Listen to
the people I’ve grown up with, and worked with, and played with, and coached with,
and dated, and taught, and gone to games with, and had beers with. And listen to
the witnesses who allegedly were at this event 36 years ago. Listen to Miss Keiser.
She does not know me. I was not at the party described by Dr. Ford. 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’s 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 — 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 Kavanagh is your worst nightmare.” A former head of
the Democratic National Committee said, quote, “Judge Kavanagh 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
in 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 okay 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, 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 but built
up through decades of very hard work and public service at the highest levels of
the American government. 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. 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’ve 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’re in our 30s, 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. As I told you at my hearing three weeks ago, I’m the only
child of Martha and Ed Kavanaugh. They are here today. When I was 10, my mom went
to law school and as a lawyer she worked hard and overcame barriers, including
workplace sexual harassment, that so many women face at the time and still face
today. She became a trailblazer, one of Maryland’s earliest women
prosecutors and trial judges. She and my dad taught me the importance of equality
and respect for all people, and she inspired me to be a lawyer and a judge.
Last time I was here, I told you that when my mom was a prosecutor and I was
in high school, she used to practice her closing arguments at the dining room
table on my dad and me. As I told you, her trademark line was:
“Use your common sense — what rings true? What rings false?” Her trademark line is a
good reminder as we sit here today, some 36 years after the alleged event
occurred, when there is no corroboration — and indeed it is refuted by the people
allegedly there. After I have been in the public arena for 26 years, without even a
hint, a whiff of an allegation like this, and when my nomination to the Supreme
Court was just about to be voted on, at a time when I’m called evil by a
Democratic member of this committee, while Democratic opponents of my
nomination say people will die if I am confirmed — this onslaught of last-minute
allegations does not ring true. I’m not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been
sexually assaulted by some person in some place at some time. But I have never
done this to her, or to anyone. That’s not who I am, it is not who I was. I am
innocent of this charge. I intend no ill will to Dr. Ford or her family — the other
night, Ashley and my daughter Liza said their prayers. And little Liza, all 10
years old said to Ashley “We should pray for the woman.” That’s a lot of wisdom from a 10-year-old. We mean, we mean no ill-will. First let’s
start with my career: For the last 26 years, since 1992, I’ve served in many
high-profile and sensitive government positions for which the FBI has
investigated my background. Six separate times — six separate FBI background
investigations over 26 years, all of them after the event alleged here. I
have been in the public arena and under extreme public scrutiny for decades. In
1992, I worked for the office of Solicitor General in the Department of
Justice in 1993. I clerked on the Supreme Court for Justice Anthony Kennedy. I
spent four years in the Independent Counsel’s office during the 1990s. That
office was the subject of enormous scrutiny from the media and the public
during 1998, the year of the impeachment of President Clinton. Our office
generally and I personally were in the middle of an intense national media and
political spotlight I and other leading members of Ken Starr’s office were
opposition researched from head to toe, from birth through the present day.
Recall the people who were exposed that year of 1998 as having engaged in some
sexual wrongdoing or indiscretions in their past. One person on the left even
paid a million dollars for people to report evidence of sexual wrongdoing, and
it worked, exposed some prominent people — nothing
about me from 2001 to 2006. I worked for President George W. Bush in the White
House as staff secretary. I was by President Bush’s side for three years and
was trusted with the nation’s most sensitive
secrets. I traveled on Air Force One all over the country and the world with
President Bush. I went everywhere with him from Texas to Pakistan, from Alaska
to Australia, from Buckingham Palace to the Vatican.
Three years in the West Wing, five and a half years in the White House.
I was then nominated to be a judge on the DC Circuit. I was thoroughly vetted
by the White House, the FBI, the American Bar Association and this committee. I sat
before this committee for two thorough confirmation hearings in 2004 and 2006.
For the past twelve years leading up to my nomination for this job I’ve served
in a very public arena as a federal judge on what is often referred to as
the second-most important court in the country. I’ve handled some of the most
significant and sensitive cases affecting the lives and liberties of the
American people. I have been a good judge. And for this nomination, another FBI
background investigation, another American Bar Association investigation,
31 hours of hearings, 65 senator meetings, 1,200 written questions — more than all
previous Supreme Court nominees combined. Throughout that entire time, throughout
my 53 years and seven months on this Earth, until last week no one ever
accused me of any kind of sexual misconduct.
No one ever. A lifetime, a lifetime of public service, and a lifetime of
high-profile public service at the highest levels of American government,
and never a hint of anything of this kind. And that’s because nothing of this
kind ever happened. Second, let’s turn to specifics. I
categorically and unequivocally deny the allegation against me by Dr. Ford. I
never had any sexual or physical encounter of any kind with Dr. Ford. I
never attended a gathering like the one Dr. Ford describes in her allegation.
I’ve never sexually assaulted Dr. Ford or anyone. Again, I am not questioning
that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person, in some place,
at some time. But I’ve never done that to her or to anyone. Dr. Ford’s allegation stems from a party
that she alleges occurred during the summer of 1982 — 36 years ago. I was 17
years old, between my junior and senior years of high school at Georgetown Prep,
a rigorous all-boys Catholic Jesuit High School in Rockville, Maryland. When my
friends and I spent time together at parties on weekends, it was usually with
friends from nearby Catholic all-girls high schools: Stoneridge, Holy Child,
Visitation, Immaculata, Holy Cross. Dr. Ford did not attend one of those schools
she attended an independent private school named Holton Arms, and she was a
year behind me. She and I did not travel in the same social circles. It is
possible that we met at some point, at some events, although I do not recall
that. To repeat: All of the people identified by Dr. Ford as being present
at the party have said they do not remember any such party ever happening.
Importantly, her friend Miss Kaiser has not only denied knowledge of the party,
Miss Kaiser said under penalty of felony she does not know me, does not recall
ever being at a party with me, ever. And my two male friends who are
allegedly there, who knew me well, have told this committee under penalty of
felony that they do not recall any such party and that I never did or would do
anything like this. Dr. Ford’s allegation is not merely
uncorroborated, it is refuted by the very people she says were there, including by
a longtime friend of hers, refuted. Third: Dr. Ford has said that this event
occurred at a house near Columbia Country Club which is at the corner of
Connecticut Avenue and the East-West highway in Chevy Chase, Maryland. In her
letter to senator Feinstein, she said that there were four other people at the
house.But none of those people nor I lived near Columbia Country Club as of
the summer of 1982. Dr. Ford was 15 and could not drive, yet and she did not live
near Columbia Country Club. She says confidently that she had one
beer at the party, but she does not say how she got to the house in question or
how she got home, or whose house it was. Fourth, I’ve submitted to this committee
detailed calendars recording my activities in the summer of 1982. Why did
I keep calendars? My dad started to keeping detailed calendars of his life
in 1978. He did so as both a calenar and a diary. A very organized guy, to put it
mildly. Christmastime, we sit around and he would regale
us with old stories, old milestones, old weddings, old events from his calendars. In ninth grade, in ninth grade in 1980 I
started keeping calendars of my own, for me. Also it’s both a calendar and a diary.
I’ve kept such calendars/diaries for the last 38 years. Mine are not as good as my
dad’s. In some years and when I was a kid the calendars are about what you would
expect from a kid — some goofy parts, some embarrassing parts. But I did have the
summer of 1982 documented pretty well. The event described by Dr. Ford
presumably happened on a weekend because I believe everyone worked and had jobs
in the summers. And in any event a drunken early evening event of the kind
she describes presumably happened on a weekend. If it was a weekend my calendars
show that I was out of town almost every weekend night before football training
camp started in late August. The only weekend nights that I was in DC were
Friday June 4 when I was with my dad at a pro golf tournament… and had my high school achievement test
at 8:30 the next morning. I also was in DC on Saturday night August 7th but I
was at a small gathering at Becky’s house in Rockville with Matt, Denise, Lori,
and Jenny — their names are all listed on my calendar. I won’t use their last names
here. And then on the weekend of August 22nd I was staying at the Garrett’s
with Pat and Chris as we did final preparations for football training camp
that began on Sunday the 22nd. As the calendars confirm, that weekend
before a brutal football training camp schedule was no time for parties. So let
me emphasize this point: If the party described by Dr. Ford happened in the
summer of 1982 on a weekend night my calendar shows all but definitively that
I was not there. During the weekdays in the summer of 1982 as you can see I was
out of town for two weeks of the summer for a trip to the beach with friends and
at the legendary 5-star basketball camp in Honesdale Pennsylvania. When I was in town I spent much of my
time working working out, lifting weights, playing basketball or hanging out and
having some beers with friends as we talked about life and football and
school and girls. Some have noticed that I didn’t have church on Sundays on my
calendars. I also didn’t list brushing my teeth and for me going to church on
Sundays was like brushing my teeth: automatic. Still is in the summer of 1981.
I had worked construction in the summer of 1982. My job was cutting lawns. I had
my own business of sorts. You see some specifics about the lawn cutting listed
on the August calendar page when I had to time the last lawn cuttings of the
summer of various lawns before football training camp. I played in a lot of
summer league basketball games for the Georgetown Prep team at night at Blair
High School in Silver Spring. Many nights I worked out with other guys at Tobin’s
house. He was the great quarterback on our
football team and his dad ran workouts or lifted weights to Georgetown Prep in
preparation for the football season. I attended and watched many sporting
events as is my habit to this day. The calendars show a few weekday
gatherings at friends houses after a workout or just to meet up and have some
beers. But none of those gatherings included the group of people that Dr.
Ford has identified and as my calendars show I was very precise about listing
who was there, very precise. And keeping keep in mind my calendars also are
diaries of sorts, forward-looking and backward looking just like my dad’s. You
can see, for example, that I crossed out missed workouts and the canceled
doctor’s appointments and that I listed the precise people who had shown up for
certain events. The calendars are obviously not dispositive on their own
but there are another piece of evidence in the mix for you to consider. Fifth: Dr. Ford’s allegation is radically
inconsistent with my record and my character for my youth to the present
day. As students at an all-boys Catholic Jesuit school many of us became friends
and remained friends to this day with students at local Catholic all-girls
schools. One feature of my life that has remained true to the present day is that
I’ve always had a lot of close female friends. I’m not talking about
girlfriends, I’m talking about friends who are women. That started in high
school. Maybe it was because I’m an only child and had no sisters but anyway we
had no social media or text or email and we talked on the phone. I remember
talking almost every night, it seemed, to my friends Amy or Julie or Kristen or
Karen or Suzanne or Maura or Megan or Nikki. The list goes on, friends for a
lifetime built on a foundation of talking through school and life starting
at age 14. Several of those great women are on the seats right behind me today. My friends and I sometimes got together
and had parties on weekends. The drinking age was 18 in Maryland for most of my
time in high school and was 18 in DC for all my time in high school. I drank beer
with my friends. Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too
many beers. Sometimes others did. I liked beer. I still liked beer. But I did not
drink beer to the point of blacking out and I never sexually assaulted anyone.
There is a bright line between drinking beer, which I gladly do and which I fully embrace, and sexually assaulting someone
which is a violent crime. If every American who drinks beer or every
American who drank beer in high school is suddenly presumed guilty of sexual
assault will be an ugly new place in this country. I never committed sexual
assault. As high school students we sometimes did goofy or stupid things. I
doubt we are alone. And looking back at high school and cringing and some things.
For one thing our yearbook was a disaster.
I think some editors and students wanted the yearbook to be some combination of
Animal House Caddyshack and Fast Times at Ridgemont
High which were all recent movies at that time. Many of us went along in the
yearbook to the point of absurdity. This past week my friends and I have cringed when we read about it and talk to each
other one thing in particular we’re sad about one of our good one of our good female friends who we
would admire and went to dances with had her name used on yearbook page with
the term alumnus. That yearbook reference was clumsily intended to show
affection and that she was one of us. But in this circus the media has
interpreted the term as related to sex. It was not related to sex. The woman
herself noted the media on the record she and I never had any sexual
interaction at all. I’m so sorry to her for that yearbook reference. This may sound a bit trivial given all
that we are here for but one thing I want to try to make sure sure of in the
future is my friendship with her. She was and
is a great person. As to sex: This is not a topic I ever imagined would come up at
a judicial confirmation hearing but I want to give you a full picture of who I
was. I’ve never had sexual intercourse or
anything close to it during high school or for many years after that. In some
crowds I was probably a little outwardly shy about my inexperience, tried to hide
that. at the same time I was also inwardly proud of it. For me and the
girls who I was friends with, that lack of major or rampant sexual activity in
high school was a matter of faith and respect and caution. The committee has a
letter from 65 women who knew me in high school. They said that I always treated them
with dignity and respect.That letter came together in one night 35 years
after graduation while sexual assault allegation was pending against me in a
very fraut and public situation where they knew, they knew they’d be vilified
if they defended me. Think about that. They put themselves on the line for me. Those are some awesome women and I love
all of them. You also have a letter from women who knew me in college. Most were
varsity athletes and they described that I treated them as friends and equals and
supported them in their sports at a time when women’s sports was emerging in the
wake of Title 9. I thank all of them for all their texts and their emails and
their support. One of those women friends from college, a self-described liberal
and feminist, send me a text last night that said, quote, “Deep breaths.
You’re a good man, a good man, a good man.” A text yesterday from another of those
women friends from college said, quote, “Brett be strong — pulling for you to my
core. A third text yesterday from yet another of those women I’m friends with
from college said “I’m holding you in the light of God.” As I said in my opening statement the
last time I was with you cherish your friends, look out for your friends,
lift up your friends, love your friends. I felt that love more over the last two
weeks than I ever have in my life. I thank all my friends. I love all my
friends. Throughout my life I’ve devoted huge efforts to encouraging and
promoting the careers of women. I will put my record up against anyone’s, male
or female. I am proud of the letter from 84 women, 84 women who worked with me at
the Bush White House from 2001 to 2006 and described me as, quote, “A man of the
highest integrity.” Read the op-ed from Sarah Day from Yarmouth Maine.
She worked in Oval Office operations outside of President Bush’s office.
Here’s what she recently wrote in CentralMaine.com and today she stands
by her comments. Quote: “Brett was an advocate for young women like me. He
encouraged me to take on more responsibility and to feel confident in
my role. In fact during the 2004 Republican National Convention Brett
gave me the opportunity to help with the preparation and review of the
president’s remarks — something I never something I never would have had the
chance to do if he had not included me. And he didn’t just include me in the
work, he made sure I was at Madison Square Garden to watch the President’s
speech instead of back at the hotel watching on TV.” End quote. As a judge since 2006, I’ve had the
privilege of hiring for recent law school graduates to serve as my law
clerks. Each year the law clerks for federal judges are the best and
brightest graduates of American law schools. They worked for one year terms
for judges after law school and then they move on in their careers for judges.
Training these young lawyers is an important responsibility.
The clerks will become the next generation of American lawyers and
leaders, judges and senators. Just after I took the bench in 2006 there was a major
New York Times story about the low numbers of women law clerks at the
Supreme Court and federal appeals courts. I took notice and I took action. A
majority of my 48 law clerks over the last 12 years have been women. In a
letter to this committee my women law clerks said I was one of the
strongest advocates in the federal judiciary for women lawyers and they
wrote that the legal profession is fairer and more equal because of me. In
my time on the bench no federal judge not a single one in the country has sent
more women law clerks to clerk on the Supreme Court than I have. Before this
allegation arose two weeks ago I was required to start making certain
administrative preparations for my possible transfer to the Supreme Court
just in case I was confirmed. As part of that I had to in essence contingently
hire a first group of four law clerks who could be available to clerk at the
Supreme Court for me on a moment’s notice. I did so and continually hired
for law clerks all four women. IOf confirmed I’ll be the first job
just in the history of the Supreme Court to have a group of all women law clerks.
That is who I am, that is who I was over the past 12 years.
I’ve taught constitutional law to hundreds of students, primarily at
Harvard Law School, was hired by then Dean and now Justice Elena Kagan. One of
my former women’s students, a Democrat, testified to this committee that I was
an even-handed professor who treats people fairly and with respect. In a
letter to this committee my former students male and female alike wrote
that I displayed a character that impressed us all. I loved teaching law
but thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed I
may never be able to teach again. For the past seven years I’ve coached my two
daughters’ basketball teams. You saw many of those girls when they came to my
hearing for a couple of hours. You have a letter from the parents of the girls I
coached that described my dedication commitment and character. I coach because
I know that a girl’s confidence on the basketball court translates into
confidence in other aspects of life. I love coaching more than anything I’ve
ever done in my whole life. But thanks to what some of you on this
side of the committee of unleashed I may never be able to coach again. I’ve
been a judge for 12 years. I have a long record of service to America and to the
Constitution. I revere the Constitution I am deeply grateful to President Trump
for nominating me. He was so gracious to my family and me on the July night he
announced my nomination at the White House.
I thanked him for his steadfast support. when I accepted the president’s
nomination Ashley and I knew this process would be challenging. We never
expected that it would devolve into this. Explaining this to our daughters has
been about the worst experience of our lives. Ashley has been a rock. I thank God
every day for Ashley and my family. We live in a country devoted to due process
and the rule of law. That means taking allegations seriously. But if the mere
allegation, the mere assertion of an allegation, the refuted allegations from
36 years ago, is enough to destroy a person’s life and career, we will have
abandoned the basic principles of fairness and due process that define our
legal system in our country. I ask you to judge me by the standard that you would
want applied to your father, your husband, your brother or your son. My family and I
intend no ill-will toward Dr. Ford or her family but I swear today under oath
before the Senate and the nation, before my family and god, I am innocent of this
charge. you

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8 Replies to “Watch: Brett Kavanaugh’s Full Opening Statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee”

  1. My heart is broken for this poor man 💔😢
    I am literally balling watching this. THESE LOW LIFE DEMONIC DEMOCRATS ARE GULITY OF CHARACTER ASSASSINATION!!!🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

  2. This is a true american hero. This is a real man. These politricks are shameful and anyone involved with his attempted destruction should be removed from any official public office. Anyone to be found to provide funds to destroy him should be brought to the publics attention. Sad fucktards.

  3. It's clear that Kavanaugh is not only a sexual predator as his former Yale roommate articulated, he purposely targeted sensitive, vulnerable women. This, in many ways, mirrors US foreign policy, for example in choosing which country to invade and heartlessly plunder. I can see why the GOP members like this sociopath creep.

  4. If Kavanaugh is as belligerent with senators in a public hearing as he was today, imagine how dangerous he is for vulnerable women when he's drunk at a party, as an overly entitled white man with no recourse for his actions. What a hideous and pitiful arrogant coward of a man.

  5. I hope all of Kavanaugh's friends from private school are not as pathetic, petulant, arrogant and entitled as this. I trust they aren't.

  6. There was only one goal of the Democrats in this whole mess and that was to stop any Trump nominated Justice from getting on the bench…. it does not matter who it was the Democrats what a Left Leaning Judge and they know with Kavanaugh they would never achieve that…. Looks like The Judge will be Nominated today… Screw the Democrats

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