WATCH: Angry Brett Kavanaugh fires back at accuser
Emotionally battling to rescue his Supreme Court nomination, Brett Kavanaugh fought back Thursday against allegations that he’d sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when both were high school students, telling Congress that allegations by her and others have “totally and permanently destroyed” his family and his reputation.
In a loud voice, the conservative jurist told the Senate Judiciary Committee that his confirmation process had become “a national disgrace.”
“You have replaced ‘advice and consent’ with ‘search and destroy,’” he said.
Shortly before, Ford had told the same senators that she was “100 percent” certain a drunken young Kavanaugh was the one who had pinned her to a bed, tried to remove her clothes and clapped a hand over her mouth as she tried to yell for help. A Kavanaugh friend stood by and they both laughed uproariously during the incident, she testified.
Kavanaugh told the senators, his voice raised: “I have never done this to her or to anyone.”
With his support among Senate Republicans in question, he also said he would not step side.
“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,” says Brett Kavanaugh. https://t.co/wkM6MaQZZI pic.twitter.com/KEYerxOxUi— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 27, 2018
'You will never get me to quit. Never.'
“You may defeat me in the final vote, but you’ll never get me to quit, never.”
Behind him in the audience, his wife, Ashley, sat looking stricken. He himself was close to tears when he mentioned his mother and daughter and, later, his father.
Earlier, Ford’s account, delivered in a soft and sometimes-halting voice, came as the Senate Judiciary Committee held an extraordinary session that Republicans hope will salvage Kavanaugh’s chances of joining the high court.
Ford’s tone was polite but firm in three hours of testimony during which repeated her accusations but offered no major new revelations. Rachel Mitchell, a veteran sex crimes prosecutor from Arizona who asked all questions for the committee’s all-male GOP senators, seemed to elicit no significant inconsistencies in her testimony.
Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation had seemed assured until Ford came forward and then other women emerged with additional allegations of sexual misconduct. The conservative jurist, now 53, has denied them all and awaited his own chance to testify later Thursday.
In an election-season battle being waged along a polarized nation’s political and cultural fault lines, President Donald Trump and most Republicans have rallied behind Kavanaugh with a chance to cement the conservative majority of the court for a generation. But it has become less clear that they will be able to hold GOP senators behind Trump’s nominee.
Republicans have accused Ford and the other women of making unproven allegations and have questioned why they’d not publicly revealed them for decades.
Among the television viewers on Thursday was Trump, who has mocked the credibility of Kavanaugh’s accusers. The president watched aboard Air Force One as he returned to Washington from the United Nations, said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
During a break in the hearing, some of Kavanaugh’s strongest supporters gave no indications of wavering.'
“You need more than an accusation for evidence. You need corroboration. That’s what’s missing here,” said No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas.
Brett Kavanaugh warns about "consequences" that will be felt for decades after the handling of the sexual assault accusation: "I am an optimistic guy...But today, I have to say that I fear for the future" https://t.co/9FalHY71EC pic.twitter.com/9oEfCYkEPJ— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 27, 2018