When Brett Kavanaugh swears to tell the truth and then answers allegations that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when the two were in high school, it could be the final time he answers questions about his past. On the other side of his nomination fight lies a lifetime on the Supreme Court.
Ford, who came forward into an unwanted spotlight, will face questions too, delivered by a sex crimes prosecutor from Arizona instead of the all-male Republican side of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Another accuser, Deborah Martinez, from Kavanaugh's time as an undergraduate at Yale, will not be featured at Thursday's hearing.
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Neither will Julie Swetnick, who went to a DC area high school and alleged in a sworn statement Wednesday that in the early 1980s she attended house parties with Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge. Swetnick said she saw Kavanaugh "drink excessively at many of these parties and engage in abusive and physically aggressive behavior towards girls." She also said Kavanaugh was present at a party where she was gang raped. Swetnick did not identify Kavanaugh or Judge as her attacker in that incident. In a statement, Kavanaugh called those latest allegations "ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone."
Republican investigators for the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday asked Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh about two new allegations against him, both of which he denied.
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Since there is unlikely to be any definitive corroborating evidence for any of the claims against Kavanaugh, what he says and how he answers the accusations will largely help determine whether Republicans rally around him and put him on the court for the rest of his life.
Here are some questions Kavanaugh will likely face in response to Ford's allegations and testimony:
2. President Donald Trump said one of your accusers must not be telling the truth because she was drunk. If you routinely drank until you vomited in high school as your yearbook suggests, how can you be certain you would remember the party described by Ford?
3. You said repeatedly in your Fox News interview you just want a fair process. If a large number of senators believe Ford after Thursday, will you withdraw your nomination?
4. Is there anything Ford could say on Thursday that could lead you to withdraw your nomination?
5. A few days ago, President Trump tweeted: "I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!" Do you believe it is unusual that Ford did not immediately file a report?
6. As a judge, would you want the committee to hear testimony from the only named witness in Ford's account, Mark Judge, especially since he could theoretically exonerate you?
7. President Trump also said of Deborah Ramirez, "She said she was totally inebriated, and she was all messed up. And she doesn't know if it was him, but it might have been him." Do you think, in general, that sexual assault allegations are more, less or equally credible given the accuser's state of mind at the time of an alleged incident?
8. There are references on your yearbook page to "100 kegs" and vomiting. Your friend wrote a book with the title "Wasted." You've said you were concerned mostly with sports and service projects in those years. How much would you routinely drink in high school? Do you still ever drink alcohol to excess?
9. Do you ever attend a party where girls were given drugs or spiked punch, as Swetnick alleges in her sworn affidavit?
10. What does Renate Alumnus mean? Is that a reference to an encounter with Renate Dolphin? She says there was no encounter between you.
11. What explains the fact that your lawyer now says you shared a brief kiss with Renate Dolphin and her lawyer says you didn't?
12. Is putting a woman's name in your yearbook without her knowledge a respectful way to treat women?
13. There are other references in the yearbook that are either difficult to understand or suggestive. Could you explain what those meant?
14. You said in your interview with Fox News that you did not have sex until years after college. Do you believe that a virgin, as you described yourself, cannot commit sexual misconduct?
15. When your nomination was announced by President Trump, you said: "No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination." Clearly you mean that as a compliment. Why not then urge the White House to reopen your FBI background file and get to the bottom of these claims?
16. Merrick Garland's nomination did not receive a vote for more than a year because Mitch McConnell said voters should weigh in. If Democrats win control of the Senate on Election Day and your nomination is still in question, should you still be confirmed?
17. You encouraged Kenneth Starr to pursue a vigorous and explicit line of questioning with President Bill Clinton during that investigation. Do you still believe a public official should be made to answer, in great detail, questions about their private sexual life?
18. You've talked about your background, your personal life -- certainly as a father and husband. When, if ever, is it appropriate for the public to stop considering past behavior when making an assessment of a person? Is there an age before which a person seeking a powerful office should not have to answer for their actions?
19. A college roommate of yours recently came out to say that he did not know specifically about Deborah Ramirez's allegations, but that you routinely got drunk and became aggressive and belligerent in college. Is he part of the smear campaign you alluded to in a recent statement?
20. Do you believe someone who reports a sexual assault or some kind of sexual misconduct weeks, month or even years after it allegedly took place is less credible than someone who immediately reports it?
21. There was discussion, according to the New Yorker, about the alleged incident with Ramirez on an email thread with Yale alums. Are they part of the smear campaign you discussed?