The 22 most important moments from Brett Kavanaugh's extraordinary Fox News interview

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his wife Ashley sat down for an interview with Fox News' Martha Mc...

Posted: Sep 26, 2018 12:51 PM
Updated: Sep 26, 2018 12:51 PM

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his wife Ashley sat down for an interview with Fox News' Martha McCallum Monday in an attempt to reclaim momentum for a bid badly hamstrung by two allegations of sexually inappropriate conduct.

The entire scene was surreal. A man days away from a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will save or doom his chance at the nation's highest court, talking about his sexual past on national TV.

21st Century Fox

Brett Kavanaugh

Christine Blasey Ford

Companies

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Fox News

Misc people

Political Figures - US

Sex and gender issues

Sex crimes

Sexual assault

Society

Deborah Ramirez

I went through the transcript and picked out the most important lines. They're below.

1. "I am looking for a fair process, a process where I can defend my integrity and clear my name."

"Fair" is the word of this interview. Kavanaugh says it more than a dozen times in the course of the relatively short sitdown. The unspoken point comes through loud and clear: Being forced to endure these accusations without being able to answer them has been deeply unfair in Kavanaugh's mind. And he wants a chance to level the playing field.

2. "I have never sexually assaulted anyone, not in high school, not ever."

This is a total and complete denial, with zero wiggle room. Which means that if either of Kavanaugh's accusers -- Christine Blasey Ford or Deborah Ramirez -- can make a convincing case (or a corroborated case) that Kavanaugh did in fact engage in the behavior they said he did, he's cooked.

3. "All I am asking for is a fair process where I can be heard."

Again and again (and again), Kavanaugh turns whatever question he is asked to these two basic points: a) fair process where b) his voice can be heard.

4. "I never had any sexual or physical activity with Dr. Ford."

This response from Kavanaugh effectively eliminates the theory offered in some conservative circles that Kavanaugh and Ford did have an encounter that he believed to be consensual and she did not. What Kavanaugh has said even to this point in this interview is that there was never any sort of contact between him and Ford. None. Ever.

5. "I'm not questioning and have not questioned that perhaps Dr. Ford was sexually assaulted by someone in some place."

Kavanaugh is trying to walk a very fine line here. He knows that saying that Ford made the whole thing up would not play well in our current cultural moment. So, he says he believes she may well have been assaulted -- just not by him.

6. "I never did any such thing. Never did any such thing."

This is Kavanaugh's total denial of the allegation made over the weekend by Ramirez, who said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party when they were both freshmen at Yale.

7. "If such a thing had happened, it would have been the talk of the campus."

It's hard to know whether -- three decades later -- what was the "talk of the campus" and what wasn't. But it is worth noting that The New Yorker, which first wrote about the Ramirez allegations, talked to several people who went to Yale with Kavanaugh and Ramirez who said they had heard about a story similar to the one Ramirez told in the days after the event allegedly occurred. The magazine, however, acknowledged that it "has not confirmed with other eyewitnesses that Kavanaugh was present at the party."

8. "The women I knew in college and the men I knew in college says it is inconceivable that I could have done such a thing."

Many have. But one of Kavanaugh's roommates in the fall of 1983 -- James Roche -- released a statement in which he said he saw Kavanaugh often drinking heavily during that period of time. "Based on my time with Brett, I believe he and his social circle were capable of the actions that Debbie described," said Roche.

9. "Again, just asking for a fair process where I can be heard and I did defend my integrity."

I told you he was on message.

10. "The New York Times said they could not corroborate this story and said the person making the accusation had been calling around to other classmates indicating her uncertainty about whether I had ever done such a thing."

It is true that The New York Times had been pursuing this same story. But that doesn't tell the whole story. The New Yorker spoke to Ramirez on the record. The Times did not. As Times editor Dean Baquet told The Washington Post's Erik Wemple on Monday: "I gather some people thought we were trying to knock down (Ramirez's) account, but that's not what we were doing. I'm not questioning their story. We've been competing against Ronan Farrow for a year and he's terrific."

11. "A letter from friends I knew in high school produced overnight 65 women who knew me in high school."

This is true. But Kavanaugh's assertion that all the people who knew him in high school can attest that he was a good kid took a hit on Monday night when The New York Times reported that a woman mentioned in Kavanaugh's yearbook found the insinuation that she was part of a sexual conquest of his "hurtful" and "untrue."

12. "When I was in high school -- and I went to an all-boys Catholic high school where I was focused on academics and athletics and going to church every Sunday at Little Flower and working on my service projects and friendships."

Even if you believe that Kavanaugh never did anything like what is being alleged by Ford and Ramirez, this portrait the judge is painting of himself doesn't comport with the reality that even some of his friends portray of their high school life. The culture in which Kavanaugh operated was of drinking and carousing. Which doesn't make him guilty of sexual assault. But the idea that he was a choir boy is a bit of a reach.

13. "I did not have sexual intercourse or anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter."

Whoa boy. This took a turn. And I did not see it coming.

14. "Many years after. I will leave it that. Many years after."

So, we have now learned that Brett Kavanaugh, according to Brett Kavanaugh, was a virgin through high school and college and "many years thereafter." Which is not what I expected to learn when I tuned into this interview.

15. "I would say, fair process. Let me be heard."

Fair process. Be heard. Fair process.

16. "For the last seven years I've been coaching girls basketball. Ask the moms."

This argument doesn't really check out. Kavanaugh is making the case that because he coaches his daughters' basketball teams and the moms of the girls love and trust him, he couldn't possibly have done what Ford and Ramirez have alleged. Which is simply not true. One does not follow the other. Kavanaugh very well may have done neither of the things that the two women have said he did. But the fact that the moms of the kids he coaches think he is a good dude proves nothing either way,

17. "No, that never happened."

This is Kavanaugh's response to a very good McCallum question about whether he ever drank so much that he simply didn't remember what happened the night before. Kavanaugh's rejection of that idea is in keeping with his hermetically sealed denial. There was never a moment of his life he doesn't remember and he remembers he didn't do these things.

18. "I think everyone is judged on their whole life."

Here Kavanaugh rejects one of the defenses some have offered of him -- when he was young and stupid, he was young and stupid. Kavanaugh says that idea doesn't apply, that he should be judged on his conduct during his entire life: 15, 17 or 50s.

19. "I just want a fair process where I can be heard."

20. "I just want a fair process where I can be heard and defend my integrity defend the integrity of my family."

21. "I just want an opportunity and a fair process to defend my integrity."

These are three straight Kavanaugh responses to questions about whether he wonders where all this is coming from and why these women are saying what they are saying. And yes, they are almost verbatim of one another.

22. "I am not going anywhere."

The argument being made by Kavanaugh allies before and after this interview was that he wanted to do it not out of panic but because he wanted to send a very clear signal to Senate Republicans, some of whom were getting a bit shaky on all of it, that he was in the fight to stay. That he wasn't backing down and neither should they. This line, which is the most quoted of the interview, does just that.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 664446

Reported Deaths: 12663
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion909511650
Lake48568884
Allen36004640
Hamilton32182398
St. Joseph30166513
Elkhart25453419
Vanderburgh21300382
Tippecanoe20143203
Johnson16407361
Porter16042276
Hendricks15877300
Clark12018181
Madison11776319
Vigo11660231
Monroe10379163
Delaware9870179
LaPorte9802198
Howard9083199
Kosciusko8582111
Bartholomew7488147
Warrick7438151
Hancock7428133
Floyd7243170
Wayne6648192
Grant6446157
Boone610989
Morgan6106126
Dubois5925112
Dearborn549969
Cass547299
Marshall5439105
Henry542594
Noble510578
Jackson465167
Shelby461991
Lawrence4193113
Harrison402564
Gibson402083
Clinton396753
Montgomery389683
DeKalb387178
Knox357885
Miami357863
Whitley350237
Huntington347377
Steuben339555
Wabash332676
Putnam331260
Ripley327862
Adams324749
Jasper318143
White297952
Jefferson295874
Daviess285696
Fayette272156
Decatur271188
Greene262080
Posey261431
Wells258675
Scott251350
LaGrange241870
Clay241444
Randolph225676
Spencer218930
Jennings216344
Washington212827
Sullivan203639
Fountain202142
Starke189051
Owen183253
Fulton179837
Jay178528
Carroll176619
Perry173736
Orange171250
Rush165322
Vermillion161442
Franklin159635
Tipton148441
Parke140016
Pike128233
Blackford120727
Pulaski107344
Newton96632
Brown95140
Benton92213
Crawford91713
Martin80314
Warren75914
Switzerland7558
Union67510
Ohio54011
Unassigned0432

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 974480

Reported Deaths: 16750
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1125851214
Cuyahoga964441832
Hamilton736841034
Montgomery47424903
Summit40474802
Butler35678505
Lucas35588685
Stark29495803
Warren22510271
Lorain22111414
Mahoning19532537
Lake18471318
Clermont18459201
Delaware16537116
Licking15037189
Fairfield14587180
Trumbull14381413
Greene13626218
Medina13448226
Clark12319248
Wood11604163
Portage11078164
Allen10804216
Richland10334183
Miami10048189
Muskingum8204112
Columbiana8160200
Pickaway8079107
Tuscarawas8063227
Marion8006125
Wayne7898193
Erie6925140
Ross6161128
Geauga6097136
Hancock6013116
Ashtabula5993152
Scioto597780
Lawrence527218
Union515237
Darke5040114
Belmont497659
Huron4838107
Jefferson4814107
Sandusky4785108
Seneca4709107
Washington470991
Athens465447
Mercer459180
Auglaize456480
Shelby442479
Knox4045101
Putnam400090
Madison394253
Ashland381381
Fulton381258
Defiance372983
Brown372244
Crawford359096
Logan356072
Preble353678
Clinton341152
Highland328649
Ottawa324869
Williams302962
Jackson290745
Champaign289249
Guernsey288444
Perry270447
Fayette269441
Morrow260934
Henry247058
Hardin246558
Holmes243493
Coshocton238054
Van Wert230154
Gallia223131
Adams217436
Pike216026
Wyandot211747
Hocking194754
Carroll181641
Paulding160530
Meigs135930
Noble129333
Monroe116927
Morgan101119
Harrison100724
Vinton76613
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 29°
Angola
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 26°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 34°
Fort Wayne
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 29°
Lima
Clear
31° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 22°
Sunny & Seasonal Friday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events