Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh claimed in an interview Monday night with Fox News' Martha MacCallum that he was a virgin through high school and for many years after. He also said he wants a fair process through which he can defend himself against allegations of sexual assault and other sexually inappropriate behavior that have been made against him.
The former we could go without hearing; the latter goes without saying. But this is where we are. In his tell-too-much interview, Kavanaugh made his case in advance of Thursday's open hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the allegations.
I have said from day one of this story that Kavanaugh's first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, deserves to be heard and Kavanaugh deserves due process. This is not about politics; it's not about the Supreme Court, and it's not about the #MeToo movement -- it's about seeking the truth.
With allegations of decades-old incidents, we won't have a blue Gap dress, as with Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky; we won't have an "Access Hollywood" tape, as with Donald Trump. What we will have is a woman who says she has suffered the "lasting impact" of an alleged sexual assault ... by a man who says he has "never sexually assaulted anyone."
I cannot begin to understand the pain and anguish associated with being a victim of a sexual assault any more than I can understand the frustration and isolation of being wrongly accused. For that reason -- and despite Kavanaugh's TV interview -- we need to hear both sides.
Ford alleges Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party in the early 1980s when the two were in high school. She says her intent in coming forward with her story was to be a "helpful citizen" by providing information regarding the character of a Supreme Court nominee. On Thursday, Ford will be able to lay this out for the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Over the weekend, while details of Ford's hearing were being negotiated, a new allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh surfaced in The New Yorker.
Deborah Ramirez, who attended Yale University with Kavanaugh, alleges Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party in the mid-1980s. Again, I believe victims should be heard. However, Ramirez's own admitted memory gaps, drinking and inability to characterize Kavanaugh's role definitively make this story appear questionable at best, deliberately defamatory at worst. Kavanaugh says the event did not happen. I need to hear more.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calls the revelations "unsubstantiated smears" against Kavanaugh.
That may, or may not be true, but we won't know that until we hear from both sides.
These eleventh-hour revelations threaten to derail Kavanaugh's confirmation. The GOP must maintain a united front on Kavanaugh due to the fact that many Senate Democrats have already made up their minds.
Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii refused to acknowledge to CNN's Jake Tapper that Kavanaugh deserved to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, saying, "His credibility is already very questionable in my mind."
You can say a lot of things about Kavanaugh, but you can't question his immense drive and commitment to the Constitution -- key considerations when determining his ability to serve as a Supreme Court justice.
As a Republican who voted for the President in large part due to his commitment to Antonin Scalia-like justices, I'm encouraged to hear Kavanaugh say he will not withdraw his name from consideration over the allegations, adding that he's "not going anywhere."
In other words: Attempts "to bork" Kavanaugh will not go without a counterpunch.
The #MeToo movement has been instrumental in shining light on the darkness of sexual abuse. Let me be abundantly clear, I mean for all involved -- the accusers and the accused.
As my friend and colleague Don Lemon (who is a victim of sexual assault) says: it doesn't matter if the accused is "17 or 70," it's wrong. Sexual abuse is wrong. If Kavanaugh did this, it's wrong. He has denied all allegations. If the accusations are found to be true, lying is disqualifying for the Supreme Court.
If you are a victim of sexual abuse, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673.
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