- Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s critics say his history of making evasive, misleading, and provably false statements under oath should disqualify him from sitting on the nation’s highest court.
- These are all the times Kavanaugh has made clearly misleading or false statements to Congress.
Whether Brett Kavanaugh claims a seat on the Supreme Court may be determined by this week’s FBI investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against him, but critics of the nominee say his history of making evasive, misleading, and provably false statements under oath should disqualify him no matter what the FBI finds.
Kavanaugh has appeared to either mislead or make false statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee about a range of issues, including his drinking habits and social life in high school and college, which have drawn scrutiny ever since he was accused of sexual misconduct, including by professor Christine Blasey Ford, who says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a small house party when the two were teenagers.
During his questioning by Judiciary Committee Democrats, the judge also repeatedly refused to provide direct answers to questions, infuriating Democrats and even frustrating some key swing vote Republicans, like Sen. Jeff Flake.
Some Democrats have called for the FBI to expand its investigation of Kavanaugh to include a probe of his truthfulness while testifying before Congress throughout his time in government. And their calls might make perjury a central issue in Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote.
The summer of 1982
- “I never attended a gathering like the one Dr. Ford describes”: Kavanaugh told the committee that he never went to a small house party similar to the one Ford says she was assaulted at, despite the fact that his 1982 calendar lists gatherings very similar to it. On Thursday, July 1, Kavanaugh’s calendar shows he went to a friend’s house to drink “skis” (beers) with a group of friends that included two of the people Ford says were at the small house party where she was allegedly assaulted.
- “All four witnesses who are alleged to be at the event said it didn’t happen”: Kavanaugh insisted multiple times during his Senate testimony that the three others who Ford says attended the gathering have “refuted” her allegations. That is a clear misrepresentation of the facts. Instead of denying the party happened, the three witnesses say they don’t recall it happening. Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s friend who was allegedly in the room when Ford says Kavanaugh attacked her, says he has “no memory of this alleged incident” and had not seen him act aggressively. Kavanaugh’s friend P.J. Smyth, another alleged attendee of the small party, said he has “no knowledge of the party in question” or the allegations. And Ford’s friend Leland Ingham Keyser likewise said she “has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where [Kavanaugh] was present,” but told The Washington Post that she believes Ford’s allegations. And while Keyser said she doesn’t remember knowing Kavanaugh in high school, Kavanaugh said it was possible he had met her “in high school at some point at some event.”
- “She and I did not travel in the same social circles”: Kavanaugh also said that while it’s possible he and Ford met at some point, the two did not overlap socially. But Ford said that she went out with one of Kavanaugh’s friends, Chris Garrett, and attended four or five parties where Kavanaugh was also present. Ford also said she was friendly with Judge for two years before the summer of 1982.
- Binge drinking and blackout denials:Throughout his Senate testimony, Kavanaugh repeatedly evaded questions about his high school and college drinking habits and denied ever drinking to the point of blacking out. But people who knew him during this time claim that he was a known heavy drinker. Kavanaugh’s yearbook page named him the treasurer of the “Keg City Club,” and referred to his campaign to drink 100 kegs with his friends during their senior year of high school. Several of Kavanaugh’s high school and college classmates have come forward to say that Kavanaugh was a “sloppy drunk,” “frequently, incoherently drunk,” and regularly became “aggressive and belligerent” when he drank to excess. One Yale classmate described an instance in which Kavanaugh threw a beer in another student’s face during a drunken dispute and the incident ended with one student in jail. Another Yale classmate – now a medical doctor – says Kavanaugh’s claims that he never suffered memory lapses while drunk aren’t “credible.”
- The drinking age: Kavanaugh said during an interview with Fox News days before his hearing that “the drinking age was 18 [and] … the seniors were legal and had beer” at parties in high school. But Maryland increased the drinking age from 18 to 21 during the summer of 1982, when Kavanaugh was 17. He corrected this misstatement during his Senate testimony, saying instead, “The drinking age was 18 in Maryland for most of my time in high school, and was 18 in D.C. for all of my time in high school.” But Kavanaugh never admitted that it was illegal for him to drink in his home state for the entirety of his time in high school.
- Renate Alumni: Kavanaugh, along with 12 of his Georgetown Prep classmates, called himself a “Renate Alumnius,” on his 1983 senior yearbook page, referring to Renate Schroeder Dolphin. One classmate’s page read, “You need a date / and it’s getting late / so don’t hesitate / to call Renate.” Kavanaugh insisted that the reference was “not related to sex” and was instead “clumsily intended to show affection, and that she was one of us.” But four of Kavanaugh’s high school classmates told The New York Times that the references were indeed boasts about conquests of a sexual nature. Dolphin called the joke “horrible, hurtful and simply untrue.”
- “Devil’s Triangle”: When asked about the term “Devil’s Triangle,” which appears on both Kavanaugh and Judge’s yearbook pages, Kavanaugh told senators he was referencing a drinking game that involved three cups and quarters. But the term is common slang for sex between two men and a woman – and Kavanaugh’s classmates told The Times that they had never heard the term used to refer to a drinking game. Notably, an attempted sex act between two men and one women is precisely what Ford has accused Kavanaugh and Judge of committing.
- “Boofing”: Also on his yearbook page, Kavanaugh wrote, “Judge – have you boofed yet?” (Judge’s page includes, “Bart, have you boofed yet?”) Kavanaugh insists the term – which is 1980s slang for anal sex – “refers to flatulence,” despite his Georgetown Prep classmates saying otherwise.
- “Beach Week Ralph Club, Biggest Contributor”:While Kavanaugh conceded during his testimony that “ralphing” referred to vomiting, he refused to answer questions about whether he had vomited due to alcohol, and instead said he was “known to have a weak stomach” for spicy food.
‘Spying’ on Democrats
- In 2003, while working in President George W. Bush’s White House, Kavanaugh received information about judicial nominations – including an email labelled “spying” from a GOP “mole” – that was stolen from Senate Democrats by another Republican staffer, Manuel Miranda. Some emails sent from the staffer to Kavanaugh were marked “intel” or “highly confidential” and one asked Kavanaugh to meet at Miranda’s home to discuss the information. But in 2006, Kavanaugh testified repeatedly that he didn’t suspect anything “untoward” and believed Miranda had received the detailed information on the Democrats’ plans from a friendly Democratic aide.
Controversial judicial nominations
- Kavanaugh has also minimized the role he played in the vetting and promotion of two controversial appeals court nominees – Judge William H. Pryor Jr., who called Roe v. Wade an “abomination” and supported the banning of sodomy, and Judge Charles W. Pickering Sr., a former conservative politician with a controversial record on racial justice issues – during his time in the Bush White House. In his 2006 Senate testimony, Kavanaugh said that Pryor’s nomination was “not one that I worked on personally” and that Pickering was “not one of the judicial nominees that I was primarily handling.” But emails released recently show he was more involved with both than he led the Senate to believe.
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