Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh forcefully denied the sexual assault allegations against him on Monday, saying he's willing to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee “in any way” the panel deems appropriate to “refute” the accusations.
Kavanaugh’s new statement comes after the White House said the committee was leaning toward inviting his accuser, Christine Ford, to testify regarding the claims. Ford, through her attorney, said she would be willing to appear before the committee.
“This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes—to her or to anyone,” Kavanaugh said in the statement Monday. “Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making the accusation until she identified herself yesterday. I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity.”
Kavanaugh also visited the White House on Monday, amid questions about whether the committee might proceed or not with a vote scheduled for Thursday.
All 10 Democrats on the committee on Monday urged Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to postpone the vote.
“As you are aware, Dr. Ford’s serious allegations were submitted to the FBI for investigation last week. Now that her story is public, it is even more important that we give the Bureau the time it needs to follow up,” they wrote in a letter. “…Once the FBI has completed its independent work, we hope that we can work together in a bipartisan manner to decide on next steps.”
Ford, a California-based professor, revealed her identity over the weekend in a Washington Post report, following a letter obtained by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., alleging sexual assault. She said that Kavanaugh, while in high school, pinned her down, tried to remove her bathing suit and put his hand over her mouth when she attempted to scream.
Kavanaugh issued a statement last week “categorically and unequivocally” denying the allegations when they first came out.
“I did not do this back in high school or at any time,” Kavanaugh said last week.
But Ford’s attorney, Debra Katz, told NBC’s “Today” that her client believes Kavanaugh attempted to rape her.
“She clearly considers this an attempted rape,” Katz said Monday. “She believes that if it were not for the severe intoxication of Kavanaugh, she would have been raped.”
Katz also said Monday that her client was “willing to take whatever it takes to get her story forth,” and would testify before the committee under oath.
Meanwhile, the White House defended both Kavanaugh and Ford, noting that the woman deserved to be heard.
“This woman should not be insulted and she should not be ignored. I think the Senate is headed toward a reasonable approach, allowing this woman to be heard in sworn testimony, allowing Judge Kavanaugh to be heard in sworn testimony,” White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, told “Fox & Friends” Monday. “I spoke with the president, I spoke with Senator [Lindsey] Graham and others. This woman will be heard.”
Conway said the committee will decide “how and in what form” Ford could share her account, suggesting it could be in a public setting or even over the phone. Conway, though, noted that Ford’s account, while it should be considered, should also be “weighed against” other evidence.
“This has to be weighed against what we already know—which is that Judge Kavanaugh is a man of good character and integrity,” Conway said, noting he has been through half a dozen rounds of FBI “vetting” and has been “lauded by women in every aspect of his life,” including former classmates, and mothers of young girls he coaches in basketball.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote before the committee is scheduled for Thursday at this point. The accusations have thrown the timeline into doubt, however. Many Democrats have called for a delay in the vote, and a handful of Republicans have opened the door to that possibility.
But Conway said there should not be a delay, noting that even without Ford’s allegations, many Democratic senators were planning to vote against him.
“Let’s not fool ourselves--long before this happened there were Democrats saying they would not vote for Judge Kavanaugh or anyone President Trump nominated for the Supreme Court,” Conway said. “Let’s make very clear that these Democratic senators … were not interested in Judge Kavnaugh’s significant record, his character and integrity, as testified to by many women.”
Conway, though, responded to Katz' statements by saying committee members she's spoken to want to let Ford testify.
“She should testify under oath. The Senate Judiciary Committee looks like they are heading that way,” she said.