Facing multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, Brett Kavanaugh took an unusual step for a Supreme Court nominee on Monday night: Appearing on television. Kavanaugh’s Fox News interview included repeated references to wanting a fair process as he disputes allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez.
Below is the full transcript, with annotations and analysis in yellow.
MARTHA MACCALLUM: Thank you both for sitting down with me today. What made you decide to speak out before the hearing on Thursday? Judge Kavanaugh?
KAVANAUGH: I am looking for a fair process, a process where I can defend my integrity and clear my name. And all I’m asking for is fairness and that I’d be heard in this process.
MACCALLUM: Ashley, what has this been like for you the past couple of weeks? I know you’ve had death threats and all kinds of things coming your way. What – how does that feel?
ASHLEY ESTES KAVANAUGH: This process is incredibly difficult. It’s harder than we imagined, and we imagined it might be hard. But at the end of the day, our faith is strong and we know that we’re on the right path. And we’re just going to stick to it, so.
MACCALLUM: So let me – let’s get in to some of these allegations, because you’ve responded to them in statements, but you haven’t had a chance to respond them – to them in a fuller way.
And Christine Ford is expected to testify on Thursday, that you at a party in high school pinned her to a bed, held your hand over her mouth. She said she was afraid that she could inadvertently (ph) be killed at that moment.
She said that you tried to take off her clothes, and she believes that you would’ve raped her if Mark Judge hadn’t climbed on top and everyone tumbled to the floor. And then she had an opportunity to get away.
Now, she doesn’t remember the date and she doesn’t remember the place. But what she does remember that I just detailed, is very specific.
And other assault victims say that they’ve had similar memories where they remembered exactly what happened but they didn’t necessarily remember the events surrounding it. You have categorically denied that this happened. Did anything happen?
KAVANAUGH: No. I had never sexually assaulted anyone, not in high school, not ever. I’ve always treated women with dignity and respect.
Listen to the people who’ve known me best through my whole life, the women who have known me since high school, the 65 who overnight signed a letter from high school saying I always treated them with dignity and respect—
MACCALLUM: But was there—
KAVANAUGH: This is a—
MACCALLUM: This Christine Ford, do you know her?
KAVANAUGH: I may have met her, we did not travel in the same social circle, she was not a friend, not someone I knew—
MACCALLUM: You don’t remember ever being at parties with her ever?
KAVANAUGH: I do not. And this is an allegation about a party in the summer of 1982 at a house near Connecticut Avenue and East West highway with five people present.
I was never at any such party. The other people who are alleged to be present have said they do not remember any such party. A woman who was present, another woman who was present who is Dr. Ford’s lifelong friend has said she doesn’t know me and never remembers being at a party with me at any time in her life.
All I’m asking for is a fair process where I can be heard.
MACCALLUM: And to this date, no one has corroborated the story that she has told. As you accurately point out, but is there – so there’s no chance that there was something between the two of you that maybe she misunderstood the exchange that you had?
Nothing ever physical, you never met her, never kissed her, never touched her, nothing that you remember?
KAVANAUGH: Correct. I – I never had any sexual or physical activity with Dr, Ford. I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or otherwise—
MACCALLUM: So, where do you think this is coming from? Why would she make this up?
KAVANAUGH: What I know is the truth. And the truth is, I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or otherwise. I am not questioning and have not questioned that perhaps Dr. Ford at some point in her life was sexually assaulted by someone in some place. But what I know is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or at any time in my life —
MACCALLUM: So, when she says there’s no doubt in her mind that it was you, because she was asked that. Is it possible that you maybe confused him, maybe it’s a mistaken identity, maybe it was someone else. She said absolutely not.
KAVANAUGH: I have never sexually assaulted anyone. I was not at the party described. I was not anywhere at any place resembling that in the summer of 1982. The other people alleged to be there don’t say anything like that. And the woman who’s alleged to be there, who’s her friend, says that she doesn’t know me and doesn’t recall ever being at a party with me in her life.
MACCALLUM: Let me ask Ashley, when this came out what did you say to your husband? Did you question him and have moments where you wondered if he was telling you the truth?
ASHLEY ESTES KAVANAUGH: No. I know Brett. I’ve know him for 17 years. And this is not at all character; it’s really hard to believe. He’s decent, he’s kind, he’s good. I know his heart. This is not consistent with – with Brett.
MACCALLUM: And now over the weekend you’ve gotten new allegations. And obviously these other allegations, they say that they are standing up basically in support of Christine Ford, that they wouldn’t have come forward otherwise, but they don’t want her to be made to look like a liar. And Deborah Ramirez was a freshman at Yale. She say’s she was at a dorm party and this happened quote “Brett was laughing, I can still see his face and his hips coming forward like when you pull up your pants. I’m confident about the pants coming up, and I’m confident about Brett being there.”
She was initially uncertain it was you, they write in this piece, but after six days she’s confident enough, she says. Should the American people view her as credible?
KAVANAUGH: I never did any such thing – never did any such thing. The other people alleged to be there, don’t recall any such thing. If such as thing had a happened, it would’ve been the talk of campus. The women I knew in college and the men I knew in college said that it’s unconceivable that I could’ve done such a thing.
And the New York Times has reported that just last week the person making the accusation was calling other classmates saying she was not sure that I had done this. Again – again, just asking for a fair process where I can be heard and I can defend my integrity.
MACCALLUM: As you say, other Yale classmates were asked by her if they recall the incident, and told some of them that she couldn’t be certain that Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself. So she appears to be expressing some uncertainly. Given the doubts, are you surprised that the New Yorker published this account?
KAVANAUGH: I’m not going to comment on the New Yorker’s journalistic practices. The New York Times said they could not corroborate this story and said that the person making the accusation had been calling around last week to other classmates, indicating her uncertainty about whether I had ever done such a thing.
Again, I’m just asking for a fair process where I can be heard and defend my integrity and defend my family’s integrity.
MACCALLUM: It was one roommate – I think his last name of Roche (ph) – who said, you know, that he could see this kind of thing happening, that you drink a lot in high school, drink a lot in college. And although he hadn’t seen or heard this incident himself, that it added up to him, that – that it made sense that you treated women that way.
KAVANAUGH: I’ve always treated women with dignity and respect. He does not corroborate the incident at all. The incident did not happen.
MACCALLUM: You remember him? He was your roommate?
KAVANAUGH: I do remember him.
MACCALLUM: So why do you think he would say that?
KAVANAUGH: What I know – I’m not going to speculate about motives. I know I never did that. If I had done that, it would’ve been the talk of campus, and we have the reports saying that, even as late as the few weeks, she was calling around and not certain.
What I know is I’ve always treated women with dignity and respect. Listen to the women who’ve known me my whole life. A letter from friends I knew in high school, produced overnight 65 women who knew me in high school, women I knew in college who said how I much I support their women athletics, their letter and their goals.
When I worked in the Bush White House, 84 women signed a letter saying that, in the pressurized environment of the west-wing, I always treated them with equality and promoted women’s advancement –
MACCALLUM: (Inaudible) we’ve spoken to a couple of those women on our show, who signed that original letter, who stuck up for you unequivocally, that is absolutely true. And now – but now you’ve got more allegations.
So you’ve got this sort of attempt to kind of swarm a number of people who are putting at least enough doubt out there so that this process will be stymied so that it will take longer and so that they will get the investigation that they’re looking for.
Michael Avenatti says that he has significant evidence and another accuser, who claims that you and Mark Judge, at multiple house parties in the Washington D.C. area during the 1980s, would participate in the targeting of women with alcohol and drugs to allow a train of men to subsequently gang-rape them.
There are multiple witnesses that will corroborate these facts, and each of them must be called to testify publically. Did you ever participate in or where you ever aware of any gang-rape that happened at a party that you attended?
KAVANAUGH: That’s totally false and outrageous. I’ve never done any such thing, known about any such thing. When I was in high school – and I went to an all boys catholic high school, a Jesuit high school, where I was focused on academics and athletics, going to church every Sunday at Little Flower, working on my service projects, and friendship, friendship with my fellow classmates and friendship with girls from the local all girls Catholic schools.
And yes, there were parties. And the drinking age was 18, and yes, the seniors were legal and had beer there. And yes, people might have had too many beers on occasion and people generally in high school – I think all of us have probably done things we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit, but that’s not what we’re talking about.
We’re talking about an allegation of sexual assault. I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone. I did not have sexual intercourse or anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years there after. And the girls from the schools I went to and I were friends --
MACCALLUM: So you’re saying that through all these years that are in question, you were a virgin?
KAVANAUGH: That’s correct.
MACCALLUM: Never had sexual intercourse with anyone in high school –
MACCALLUM: – and through what years in college since we’re probing into your personally life here?
KAVANAUGH: Many years after. I’ll leave it at that. Many years after. And the people I went to high school with, the girls and the boys, now men and women, that I went to high school with, you know, I was good friends with them and we remain good friends. That’s how 65 people on a moments notice – 65 women – 220 people total, men and women who knew me in high school.
I will say fair process, let me be heard, fair process here from both sides, and listen to me and the facts I’ve described and listen to the people who have known me throughout my life, the men and women, the women who’ve known me throughout my life who’ve known me best.
And in my job as a judge for 12 years I’ve been promoting women’s equality. There was a problem with women law clerks getting hired at the Supreme Court. I am the leading federal judge in the country – the leader in the entire country of promoting women law clerks to get Supreme Court clerkships. For the last seven years, I’ve been coaching girl’s basketball. Ask the moms.
MACCALLUM: So what do you think is happening? What’s happening?
KAVANAUGH: I don’t know, but I want a fair process where I can defend my integrity. And I know I’m telling the truth. I know my life-long record, and I’m not going to let false accusations drive me out of this process. I have faith in God, and I have faith in the fairness of the American people. America’s about fairness and hearing from both sides. And I didn’t do this or anything resembling this. This is wrong.
MACCALLUM: Sir, you are going to be pressed on something that you just said about people do things in high school, and you were all drinking, were there times when perhaps you drank so much – was there ever a time that you drank so much that you couldn’t remember what happened the night before?
KAVANAUGH: No, that never happened.
MACCALLUM: You never said to anyone, “I don’t remember anything about last night.”
KAVANAUGH: No, that did not happen.
MACCALLUM: Did you ever have any sense that any kind of – the description of the behavior that I just described with these women being taken into rooms and raped or having sex with a number of men consensual or otherwise that that was going on at the parties that you were at?
KAVANAUGH: I never saw any such thing, any such thing. I certainly never participated in any such thing -- but I never saw or heard of any such thing. And we were – I was focused on trying to be number one in my class and being captain of the varsity basketball team and doing my service projects, going to church.
The vast majority of the time I spent in high school was studying or focused on sports and being a good friend to the boys and the girls that I was friends with. We have these great, life-long friendships that are fantastic, and supporting each other through the ups and downs of life, and, you know, they’re an awesome group of people.
MACCALLUM: So Ashley, when you hear women say that they’ve repressed a memory that they’ve been struggling with their whole life, they never wanted to say anything, they were embarrassed to even tell their parents or their friends what had happened, but years later in this situation Christine Ford says, you know, “I felt that I wanted to submit what I knew about Brett Kavanaugh into his file because I did hear that we was up for this very important position and I wanted to make sure that my story was in there. I didn’t want to come forward, but I wanted to make sure that they had that information,” because she felt it was really important that they know.
ASHLEY ESTES KAVANAUGH: I truly – I don’t understand it. I know Brett. I know who he is.
MCCALLUM: But do you sympathize with the idea that some women would suppress a memory or wouldn’t want to share it or would not be able to talk about it until many years later?
ASHLEY ESTES KAVANAUGH: I don’t understand - I don’t know what happened to her, and I don’t even want to go there. I feel badly for her family. I feel badly for her through this process. This process is not right.
MCCALLUM: Do you believe there should be an FBI investigation into these allegations and that a pause should happen and, you know, sort it all out? If there’s nothing to worry about and nothing to hide, why not have that process, Ashley? And then I’ll ask you that, Brett.
KAVANAUGH: I mean, I’ve said all along and Ashley, too, I want to be heard. I was first interviewed last Monday, the day after the allegation appeared by the committee staff under penalty of felony, and I denied this categorically and unequivocally and I said twice during that, I said, “I want a hearing tomorrow,” last Tuesday, a week ago.
I want an opportunity – a fair process. America’s about fairness, I want a fair process where I can defend my integrity and clear my name as quickly as I can in whatever forum the Senate deems appropriate.
MACCALLUM: When you hear senators who are on the committee – Senator Mazie Hirono and then you hear from others, you know, the New York Senator Gillibrand, she says, “I believe this woman. I believe all of them. They’re credible, and we all have to believe them.”
When you hear United States Senators who are making judgments, final judgments, what does that make you think about the presumption of innocence in this country?
KAVANUGH: In America, we have fairness. We hear from both sides. I’ve spent my life in the judiciary, the – our judicial system, and part of the judicial systems as I’ve said during my first – my hearing was process protectium (ph). That’s what judges believe that’s what our system was built on, the rule of law, about fair process.
MACCALLUM: Do you feel unprotected by the process?
KAVANAUGH: Fair process means hearing from both sides, and I think the process – I want to have an opportunity to defend my integrity and clear my name and have a fair process. A fair process at a minimum – at a bare minimum requires hearing from both sides before rushing –
MACCALLUM: Right. Let me ask you this. Separately from these allegations, is it fair to judge someone on something they did before they were 18-years-old? When they were 17-years-old, should anything they did then follow them later in life or should it enter into any decisions made about them later in life?
KAVANUGH: What I’m here to do is tell you the truth, and this allegation from 36 years ago is not –
MACCALLUM: But separately from what you’re being accused of just as a judge, if you were looking at this case as a part of what you’re going through and someone said, “This person did that at 17-years-old,” is it fair to judge them on something that when they’re in their 50s, 60s year old?
KAVANAUGH: I think everyone is judged on their whole life. I’m a good person. I’ve led a good life. I’ve tried to a lot of good for a lot of people. I am not perfect, I know that. None of us is perfect. I’m not perfect, but I’ve never, never done anything like this.
MACCALLUM: So in terms of the process now and what happens now, when you look at how all of this -- where all this generated from, do you have thoughts? Is this about Roe v. Wade? Is this about people who initially right off the bat, said they wanted to see you never take the spot on the Supreme Court? Where’s all this coming from?
KAVANAUGH: I just want a fair process where I can be heard.
MACCALLUM: You don’t have any thoughts on what’s – where this is coming from?
KAVANAUGH: I just want a fair process where I can be heard, defend my integrity, defend the integrity of my family. I’ve – I’m telling the truth.
MACCALLUM: You don’t want to talk about where you think this is coming from?
KAVANAUGH: I just want an opportunity, a fair process where I can defend my integrity.
MACCALLUM: All right. Ashley how’s this spin for the girls, for your family? What have you guys -- give us what ever window you feel comfortable saying about what this has been like for you as a family?
ASHLEY ESTES KAVANAUGH: This – it’s very difficult. It’s very difficult these conversations with your children, which we’ve had to have some broader terms for our youngest. But they know Brett. And they know the truth. And we told them at the very beginning of this process this will be not fun sometimes. You’re going to hear things that, people feel strongly, and you need to know that. And just remember you know your dad.
MACCALLUM: Did you guys ever look at each other and say “I’m out, this is enough. This just isn’t worth it”?
KAVANAUGH: I’m not going to let false accusations drive us out of this process. And we’re looking for a fair process where I can be heard and defend the -- my integrity, my life long record – my life long record of promoting dignity and equality, starting with the woman who knew me when I was 14 years old. I’m not going anywhere.
MACCALLUM: Do you believe that President Trump is going to stand by you through out?
KAVANAUGH: I know he’s going to stand by me. He called me this afternoon, and he said he’s standing by me.
MACCALLUM: All right. Thank you both very much. Good to speak with you today. Thanks for taking the time.
ASHLEY ESTES KAVANAUGH: Thank you.