WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will tell the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday that he is “not questioning” that Christine Blasey Ford “may have been sexually assaulted by some person in some place at some time, but I have never done that to her or to anyone.”
The hearing, in which Kavanaugh and Ford, a Palo Alto, Calif., professor, will address the committee separately, comes as a third accuser said she was a victim of a gang rape orchestrated in part by Kavanaugh.
Ford says Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed and tried to take off her bikini while covering her mouth at a high school party. Over the weekend, the New Yorker published allegations from former fellow Yale student Deborah Ramirez charging that the judge exposed himself to her at a party in college.
Today, attorney Michael Avenatti released a sworn affidavit from Julie Swetnick, a D.C. resident and security-clearance holder in relation to her work with the federal government, stating that she attended several house parties with Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge, who Ford says was president during her alleged assault. Swetnick described “abusive and physically aggressive behavior toward girls” from Kavanaugh when he got drunk, “including not taking ‘no’ for an answer.” She alleges that the pair spiked party punch with drugs or grain alcohol to lower girls’ inhibitions and says she witnessed boys including Kavanaugh and Judge lining up to gang-rape an inebriated girl.
Swetnick further alleges that she fell victim and was gang raped at one of the parties in 1982 where Kavanaugh and Judge were present after being drugged, possibly with Quaaludes slipped in her drink. She says she was “unable to fight off the boys raping me” and told two people about it.
In Kavanaugh’s prepared testimony, he notes that Ford “accused me of committing a serious wrong” and he denies the allegation “immediately, unequivocally, and categorically.”
“Over the past few days, other false and uncorroborated accusations have been aired. There has been a frenzy to come up with something—anything, no matter how far-fetched or odious—that will block a vote on my nomination. These are last minute smears, pure and simple,” Kavanaugh continues. “They debase our public discourse. And the consequences extend beyond any one nomination. Such grotesque and obvious character assassination—if allowed to succeed—will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from serving our country.”
Kavanaugh states, “I have never sexually assaulted anyone—not in high school, not in college, not ever… Sexual assault is horrific. It is morally wrong.”
“Allegations of sexual assault must be taken seriously. Those who make allegations deserve to be heard. The subject of allegations also deserves to be heard. Due process is a foundation of the American rule of law,” the testimony adds.
Kavanaugh will tell lawmakers that he spent most of his time in high school “focused on academics, sports, church, and service,” but “I was not perfect in those days, just as I am not perfect today.”
“I drank beer with my friends, usually on weekends. Sometimes I had too many. In retrospect, I said and did things in high school that make me cringe now. But that’s not why we are here today,” he continues. “What I’ve been accused of is far more serious than juvenile misbehavior. I never did anything remotely resembling what Dr. Ford describes.”
In lieu of questioning Ford themselves, the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, all male, will bring in Rachel Mitchell, deputy county attorney in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix and the division chief of the Special Victims Division, to do the work. Democratic lawmakers will conduct their own questioning.
“The goal is to de-politicize the process and get to the truth, instead of grandstanding and giving senators an opportunity to launch their presidential campaigns,” said Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who is not on the committee, told reporters Tuesday that he thinks outside counsel is the way to go because “somebody will do something that you guys will run 24/7 and inadvertently somebody will do something that’s insensitive.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told MSNBC that he thought using outside counsel is an abdication of “constitutional duty” on the part of GOP senators.
“And I’m really disappointed in Republican colleagues, not only for hiding behind this prosecutor, but also because they have failed to step forward and stop this rush to judgment, which is really an insult to a survivor,” Blumenthal added.