(CNN)The following is the opening statement delivered by Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. The transcript was produced by CNN via a recording of his statement. The statement differs from the prepared remarks submitted to the committee on Wednesday.
READ: Brett Kavanaugh's opening testimony
Mr. Chairman, ranking member Feinstein, members of the committee, thank you for allowing me to make my statement. I wrote it myself yesterday afternoon and evening. No one has seen a draft, or it, except one of my former law clerks. This is my statement.
Less than two weeks ago, Dr. Ford publicly accused me of committing wrongdoing at an event more than 36 years ago, when we were both in high school, I denied the allegation immediately, categorically and unequivocally. All four people allegedly at the event, including Dr. Ford's longtime friend Ms. Keyser. Her longtime friend Ms. Keyser said she does not know me and does not believe she ever saw me at a party ever. Here is the quote from Ms. Keyser's attorney's letter: "Quote, simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh, and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present with or without Dr. Ford, end quote." Think about that fact.
The day after the allegation appeared, I told this committee that I wanted a hearing as soon as possible to clear my name. I demanded a hearing for the very next day. Unfortunately, it took the committee 10 days to get to this hearing. In those 10 long days, as was predictable, and as I predicted, my family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false additional accusations. The 10-day delay has been harmful to me and my family, to the Supreme Court and to my country. When this allegation first arose, I welcomed any kind of investigation, Senate, FBI, or otherwise. The committee now has conducted a thorough investigation and I have cooperated fully. I know that any kind of investigation, Senate, FBI, Montgomery County police, whatever, will clear me. Listen to the people I know, listen to the people who have known me my whole life. Listen to the people I've grown up with, and worked with and played with and coached with and dated and taught and gone to games with and had beers with and listen to the witnesses who allegedly were at this event 36 years ago. Listen to Ms. Keyser. She does not know me. I was not at the party described by Dr. Ford.
This confirmation process has become a national disgrace. The Constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advise and consent with search and destroy. Since my nomination in July, there has been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation, shortly after I was nominated, the Democratic Senate leader said he would, quote, oppose me with everything he's got, a Democratic senator on this committee publicly referred to me as evil ... evil, think about that word. And said that those who supported me were, quote, complicit in evil.
Another Democratic senator on this committee said, quote, "Judge Kavanaugh is your worst nightmare." A former head of the Democratic National Committee said, quote, "Judge Kavanaugh will threaten the lives of millions of Americans for decades to come."
I understand the passions of the moment, but I would say to those senators, your words have meaning. Millions of Americans listened carefully to you, given comments like those, is it any surprise that people have been willing to do anything, to make any physical threat against my family, to send any violent email to my wife, to make any kind of allegation against me or against my friends to blow me up and take me down
You sowed the wind, for decades to come, I fear that the whole country will reap the whirlwind. The behavior of several of the Democratic members of this committee at my hearing a few weeks ago was an embarrassment, but at least it was a good old-fashioned attempt at "Borking." Those efforts didn't work when I did at least OK enough at the hearings that it looked like I might actually get confirmed, a new tactic was needed. Some of you were lying in wait and had it ready. This first allegation was held in secret for weeks by a Democratic member of this committee and by staff. It would be needed only if you couldn't take me out on the merits. When it was needed, this allegation was unleashed and publicly deployed over Dr. Ford's wishes. And then, and then, as no doubt was expected if not planned came a long series of false last minute smears designed to scare me and drive me out of the process before any hearing occurred. Crazy stuff. Gangs, illegitimate children, fights on boats in Rhode Island, all nonsense, reported breathlessly and often uncritically by the media. This has destroyed my family and my good name, a good name built up through decades of very hard work and public service at the highest levels of the American government, this whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election. Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups. This is a circus.
The consequences will extend long past my nomination, the consequences will be with us for decades. this grotesque and coordinated character assassination will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from serving our country and as we all know, in the United States political system of the early 2000s, what goes around comes around. I am an optimistic guy, I always try to be on the sunrise side of the mountain, to be optimistic about the day that is coming, but today I have to say that I fear for the future. Last time I was here, I told this committee that a federal judge must be independent not swayed by public or political pressure. I said I was such a judge, and I am. I will not be intimidated by withdrawing from this process. You've tried hard. You've given it your all, no one can question your effort, but your coordinated and well-funded effort to destroy my good name and destroy my family will not drive me out. the vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. you may defeat me in the final vote, but you'll never get me to quit. Never.
I'm here today to tell the truth. I've never sexually assaulted anyone. Not in high school, not in college, not ever. Sexual assault is horrific. One of my closest friends to this day is a woman who was sexually abused and, who, in the 1990s when we were in our 30s, confided in me about the abuse and sought my advice. I was one of the only people she consulted. Allegations of sexual assault must always be taken seriously, always. Those who make allegations always deserve to be heard. At the same time, the person who was the subject of the allegations also deserves to be heard. Due process is a foundation of the American rule of law. Due process means listening to both sides. As I told you at my hearing three weeks ago, I am the only child of Martha and Ed Kavanaugh, they are here today. When I was 10, my mom went to law school, and as a lawyer she worked hard and overcame barriers including the workplace sexual harassment that so many women faced at the time and still face today. She became a trailblazer, one of Maryland's earliest women prosecutors and trial judges, she and my dad taught me the importance of quality and respect for all people and she inspired me to be a lawyer and a judge.
Last time I was here, I told you that when my mom was a prosecutor and I was in high school, she used to practice her closing arguments at the dining room table on my dad and me. As I told you, her trademark line was, "Use your common sense." What rings true, what rings false, her trademark line is a good reminder as we sit here today some 36 years after the alleged event occurred, when there is no corroboration and indeed it is refuted by the people allegedly there. After I have been in the public arena for 26 years without even a hint a whiff of an allegation like this, and when my nomination to the Supreme Court was just about to be voted on at a time when I'm called evil by a democratic member of this committee while democratic opponents of my nomination say people will die if I am confirmed. This onslaught of last minute allegations does not ring true. I am not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person in some place at some time, but I have never done this to her or to anyone, that's not who I am, it is not who I was. I am innocent of this charge. I intend no ill will to Dr. Ford and her family. The other night Ashley and my daughter Liza said their prayers, and little Liza, all of 10 years old, said to Ashley we should pray for the woman. That's a lot of wisdom from a 10-year-old.
We mean no ill will.
First, let's start with my career, for the last 26 years since 1992, I have served in many high profile and sensitive government positions, for which the FBI has investigated my background six separate times, six separate FBI background investigations, over 26 years, all of them after the event alleged here. I have been in the public arena and under extreme public scrutiny for decades. In 1992, I worked for the Office of the Solicitor General in the Department of Justice. In 1993, I clerked on the Supreme Court for Justice Anthony Kennedy. I spent four years in the independent counsel's office during the 1990s. That office was the subject of enormous scrutiny from the media and the public. During 1998, the year of the impeachment of President Clinton, our office generally, and I personally, were in the middle of an intense national media and political spotlight. I and other leading members of Ken Starr's office were opposition researched from head to toe, from birth through the present day. Recall the people who were exposed that year of 1998 as having engaged in some sexual wrongdoing or indiscretions in their past. One person on the left even paid a million dollars for people to report evidence of sexual wrongdoing, and it worked, he exposed some prominent people, nothing about me
From 2001 to 2006, I worked for President George W. Bush in the White House. As staff secretary, I was by President Bush's side for three years and was entrusted with the nation's most sensitive secrets. I traveled on Air Force One all over the country and all over the world with President Bush, I went everywhere with him from Texas to Pakistan, from Alaska to Australia, from Buckingham Palace to the Vatican, three years in the West Wing, five-and-a-half years in the White House. I was then nominated to be a judge on the DC Circuit, I was thoroughly vetted by the White House, the FBI, the American Bar Association and this committee. I sat before this committee for two thorough confirmation hearings in 2004 and 2006. For the past 12 years leading up to my nomination for this job, I've served in a very public arena as a federal judge on what is often referred to as the second most important court in the country. I've handled some of the most significant and sensitive cases affecting the lives and liberties of the American people, and I've done a good job. And for this nomination, another FBI background investigation, another American Bar Association investigation, 31 hours of hearings, 65 senator meetings, 1,200 written questions, more than all previous Supreme Court nominees combined. Throughout that entire time, throughout my 53 years and seven months on this Earth until last week, no one ever accused me of any kind of sexual misconduct. No one ever, a lifetime, a lifetime of public service, and a lifetime of high profile public service, at the highest levels of American government, and never a hint of anything of this kind. And that's because nothing of this kind ever happened.
Second, let's turn to specifics. I categorically and unequivocally deny the allegation against me by Dr. Ford. I never had any sexual or physical encounter of any kind with Dr. Ford. I never attended a gathering like the one Dr. Ford describes in her allegation. I have never sexually assaulted Dr. Ford or anyone. Again, I am not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted in some place at some time, but I have never done that to her or to anyone. Dr. Ford's allegation stems from a party that she alleges occurred during the summer of 1982, 36 years ago, I was 17 years old, between my junior and senior years of high school at Georgetown Prep, a rigorous all-boys Catholic Jesuit high school in Rockville, Maryland. When my friends and I spent time together at parties on weekends, it was usually with friends from nearby Catholic all-girls high schools,
When my friends and I spent time together at parties on weekends, it was usually with friends from nearby Catholic all-girls high schools: Stone Ridge, Holy Child, Visitation, Immaculada, Holy Cross. Dr. Ford did not attend one of those schools. She attended an independent private school named Holton Arms, and she was a year behind me. She and I did not travel in the same social circles, it is possible that we met at some point at some events, although I do not recall that. To repeat, all of the people identified by Dr. Ford as being present at the party have said they do not remember any such party ever happening. Importantly, her friend, Ms. Keyser, has not only denied knowledge of the party, Ms. Keyser said under penalty of felony that she does not know me and does not recall being at a party with me ever, and my two male friends who were allegedly there and knew me well have told this committee under penalty of felony that they do not recall any such party and that I never did or would do anything like this. Dr. Ford's allegation is not merely uncorroborated, it is refuted by the very people she says were there including by a longtime friend of hers, refuted
Third, Dr. Ford has said that this event occurred at a house near Columbia Country Club, which is at the corner of Connecticut Avenue and East-West highway in Chevy Chase, Maryland. In her letter to Senator Feinstein, she said that there were four other people at the house, but none of those people nor I live near Columbia Country Club. As of the summer of 1982, Dr. Ford was 15 and could not drive yet and she did not live near Columbia Country Club, she says confidently that she had one beer at the party, but she does not say how she got to the house in question or how she got home or whose house it was. Fourth, I've submitted to this committee detailed calendars recording my activities in the summer of 1982. Why did I keep calendars? My dad started to keep detailed calendars of his life in 1978.
He did so as both a calendar and a diary. He's a very organized guy to put it mildly. Christmastime, we sit again, and he'd regale us with old stories. Old milestones, old weddings, old events from his calendars. In ninth grade, in 1980, I started keeping calendars of my own, for me, also, it's both a calendar and a diary, I have kept such calendars and diaries for the last 38 years. Mine are not as good as my dad's in some years, and when I was a kid, the calendars are about what you would expect from a kid, some goofy parts, some embarrassing parts, but I did have the summer of 1982 documented pretty well. The event described by Dr. Ford presumably happened on a weekend, because I believe everyone worked and had jobs in the summers, and in any event, a drunken early evening event of the kind she describes presumably happened on a weekend. If it was a weekend, my calendars show that I was out of town almost every weekend night before football training camp started in late August. The only weekend nights that I was in DC were, Friday, June 4, when I was with my dad at a pro-golf tournament, and had my high school achievement test at 8:30 the next morning. I also was in DC on Saturday night, August 7, but I was at a small gathering at Becky's house in Rockville, with M