Emotionally battling to rescue his Supreme Court nomination, a beleaguered Brett Kavanaugh fought back Thursday against allegations that he'd sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when both were high school students, telling Congress that allegations by her and others have "totally and permanently destroyed" his family and his reputation.
In a loud voice, the conservative jurist told the Senate Judiciary Committee that his confirmation process had become "a national disgrace."
"You have replaced 'advise and consent' with 'search and destroy,'" he said.
Kavanaugh denied Ford's allegation that he'd trapped her on a bed in a locked room during a gathering of friends when they were teenagers, saying, "I have never done this to her or to anyone."
With his support among Senate Republicans in question, he also said he would not step aside.
"You may defeat me in the final vote, but you'll never get me to quit, never."
Behind him in the audience, his wife, Ashley, sat looking stricken. He himself was close to tears when he mentioned his mother and daughter and, later, his father.
“You sowed the wind,” he said. “For decades to come, I fear the whole country will reap the whirlwind.”
In his opening statement, he called the allegations against him, including from two other women who’ve gone public, “crazy stuff” and “all nonsense.”
“This has destroyed my family and my good name,” he said, describing a conspiracy on the left that he said included anger toward President Donald Trump and “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.”
"I am innocent of this charge," Kavanaugh closed, before submitting to questions.
The Latest on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh (all times local):
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh (all times local):
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is apologizing to a high school acquaintance whose name was in a yearbook entry written by him and others with the word "alumnus" after.
Kavanaugh called Renate Schroeder Dolphin "a good female friend" whom people in his social circle "would admire and went to dances with." He said the yearbook reference "was clumsily intended to show affection and that she was one of us."
He says the media has falsely interpreted the term "alumnus" as being related to sex. He said it was not, adding that he and Dolphin "never had any sexual interaction at all."
He says, "So sorry to her for that yearbook reference."
According to reports, Dolphin had initially been one of 65 women to endorse Kavanaugh after the sexual assault allegations came to light from Christine Blasey (BLAH'-zee) Ford. Kavanaugh forcefully denied the accusation.
Dolphin withdrew her endorsement after Ford's accusation came to light.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says Democrats' actions in the past couple of weeks may mean he will never again get to do two things he loves, teach law and coach basketball.
Kavanaugh's comments Thursday came in an extraordinary, 45-minute opening statement in which he repeatedly expressed rancor toward Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Kavanaugh is blaming Democrats for the fraught environment stemming from allegations of sexual misconduct made by Christine Blasey Ford and two other women. He denied sexually assaulting anyone, including Ford when they were teenagers in high school.
The 53-year-old nominee gestured toward the Democrats seated to his right when he said that "thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to teach again." He repeated that formulation when talking about coaching his daughters in basketball.
Brett Kavanaugh says he never imagined the topic of sex would come up in a confirmation hearing, but he wants lawmakers to know he never had sexual intercourse or anything close to it during high school or for many years after that.
He said Thursday that for him and the girls he was friends with, the lack of major rampant sexual activity in high school "was a matter of faith and respect and caution."
He says the committee has a letter from 65 women who knew him in high school and they said he always treated them with dignity and respect.
He says that letter came together in one night 35 years after graduation. He says they knew they would be vilified if they defended him.
Kavanaugh tells senators "think about that. They put themselves on the line for me. Those are some awesome women."
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says the sexual allegations against him are a "calculated and orchestrated political hit."
California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford testified Thursday that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her during a gathering while they were in high school. She says she's 100 percent certain it was him. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.
Both are testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He says part of the reason for the allegations is anger by some about President Donald Trump and the 2016 election, and out of revenge on "behalf of the Clintons." In the 1990s, Kavanaugh was on the team that investigated President Bill Clinton as part of special prosecutor Kenneth Starr's investigation. The report led to Clinton's impeachment, though he was not removed from office.
Kavanaugh said Thursday that the allegations are also the result of money from left-wing opposition groups.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is choking up before the Senate Judiciary Committee as he fights back against allegations of sexual assault.
The judge sounded angry and tried to hold back tears Thursday as he told senators he was "innocent of this charge." Christine Blasey (BLAH'-zee) Ford testified earlier that he groped her and held her down during a party when they were teens.
Kavanaugh "categorically denied" all aspects of her testimony, saying he never did those things years ago.
The father of two daughters says one of his girls said they should "pray for the woman" making the allegations.
Kavanaugh says, "That's a lot of wisdom from a 10 year old." He says, "We mean no ill will."
Kavanaugh continued his testimony, his voice rising and choking up, throughout.
Melania Trump has not been watching the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing featuring Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey (BLAH'-zee) Ford.
Spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham says the first lady and members of her staff have been in meetings all day Thursday about her upcoming trip to Africa. The first lady is scheduled to depart Monday on a weeklong visit to Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt.
Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers.
Kavanaugh denies Ford's allegation. He has also denied claims of sexual misconduct against him a few other women.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says he "never had any sexual or physical encounter of any kind" with Christine Blasey Ford.
Kavanaugh is testifying Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ford testified earlier, telling senators that Kavanaugh assaulted her at a gathering in high school.
She says he and a friend barricaded her in a room and Kavanaugh got on top of her and covered her mouth so she could not cry out for help. She says she is "100 percent" certain it was Kavanaugh who attacked her.
Kavanaugh said that he isn't questioning whether Ford was sexually assaulted — but he says he did not do that to her or anyone. He says he's "innocent of this charge."
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is telling a Senate panel that he "will not be intimidated" into withdrawing his nomination to the Supreme Court.
Kavanaugh told lawmakers Thursday in his opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee: "You may defeat me in the final vote, but you'll never get me to quit. Never."
Kavanaugh was speaking following testimony by California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford. She says that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teens and that she is "100 percent" certain it was him.
Kavanaugh told lawmakers he is "innocent of this charge."
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is giving a defiant opening statement at the Senate Judiciary Committee to clear his name of allegations of sexual assault.
Kavanaugh told senators on Thursday the allegations have left his family and his name "totally and permanently destroyed."
The appellate court judge sounded angry, his voice rising. He says, "This confirmation process has become a national disgrace."
He lashed out at the committee over the time it has taken to convene the hearing after Christine Blasey (BLAH'-zee) Ford's allegation first emerged. He says, "This is a circus."
He urged senators to listen to the people who know him and not those making grotesque allegations against him.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has told a Senate panel that his family and his name "have been totally and permanently destroyed."
Kavanaugh spoke at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday after Christine Blasey Ford testified that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when both were in high school. She said she was terrified to come forward but did so because she felt it was her civic duty.
He says his confirmation process has become "a national disgrace" and a "character assassination."
Ford says the attack is seared in her memory and she is "100 percent" certain that it was Kavanaugh who attacked her.
The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing is resuming with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh set to testify on allegations he sexually assaulted a girl when both were in high school.
Kavanaugh says the allegations are false. California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford testified for nearly four hours on Thursday.
She told senators that Kavanaugh attacked her at a gathering while they were in high school. She says he held his hand over her mouth so no one could hear her scream.
She says the attack is seared in her memory and she is "100 percent" certain that it was Kavanaugh who attacked her.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says he's now more convinced than ever that Democrats' goal is to delay the vote on President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee to after the midterms.
Graham spoke Thursday afternoon after Christine Blasey Ford finished testifying at a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination. She says he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers, which Kavanaugh denies.
Graham called Ford "a nice lady who has come forward to tell a hard story," but he called her account "uncorroborated." He complained that she couldn't remember the house, the city or the month in which she says the attack occurred.
Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is blasting Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee for failing to call additional witnesses to testify about allegations by Christine Blasey Ford that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school.
The New York senator said Thursday that it is "an outrage" that Republicans did not force Kavanaugh's friend Mark Judge to testify under oath. Ford says Judge was present when Kavanaugh attacked her.
Both Judge and Kavanaugh have denied her allegations.
Gillibrand says the hearing "has been unfair" to Ford, noting that Republicans assigned a female prosecutor to question her on their behalf, even though Ford "is not on trial."
Gillibrand said the message Republicans are sending to sexual assault survivors is, "We don't believe you, your voice doesn't matter and we don't value you."
Several women in the audience stood up when Christine Blasey Ford finished testifying and said loudly, "Thank you, Dr. Ford!"
On Thursday afternoon, Ford finished her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee about her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when both were teenagers. She says he pinned her onto a bed, groped her and tried to take her clothes off while laughing with a friend, who was also in the room.
She said Thursday that she was "terrified" to be speaking at the hearing but felt that it was her civic duty to come forward.
Ford blew kisses to a couple of people in the audience after her testimony ended.
Kavanaugh is set to testify next. He has denied Ford's allegation.
The memoir of Brett Kavanaugh's friend Mark Judge appears to support one aspect of Christine Blasey Ford's account of the summer of 1982.
Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday that she ran into Judge at the Potomac Village Safeway where he worked six to eight weeks after she says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while Judge watched. Ford said Judge was arranging shopping carts and seemed "nervous" to see her.
Judge wrote in his book "Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk" that he worked at the local supermarket the summer before his senior year, which would have been 1982. Judge says he worked there to raise money for football camp.
Ford has been criticized for saying she could not remember the precise date of her alleged assault.
Kavanaugh and Judge have denied Ford's allegation.
Two attorneys representing Christine Blasey (BLAH'-zee) Ford at her Senate Judiciary Committee hearing say they're working for her pro bono.
Debra Katz and Michael Bromwich said Thursday they're not being paid to represent Ford over her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when both were teenagers. Kavanaugh has denied the allegation.
Ford was pressed by attorney Rachel Mitchell if anyone was helping with her legal fees.
Ford said she understood a GoFundMe campaign was started to help her cover the costs of telling her story. She says friends were also helping pay for security for her and her family.
Bromwich said he had "no expectation of being paid." Katz said similar.
Ford said Katz was recommended by the office of the panel's top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.
The woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when both were teenagers has finished her testimony before a Senate panel.
California psychology professor Christine Blasey (BLAH'-zee) Ford finished her testimony Thursday afternoon, about four hours after the hearing began. Ford alleges that one night in the summer of 1982, a drunken Kavanaugh forced her down on a bed, groped her and tried to take off her clothes. She said she was ultimately able to escape.
Ford showed no hesitancy in affirming the crucial question about the alleged attack, telling senators her certainty that Kavanaugh was responsible was "100 percent."
Lawmakers are expected to next hear from Kavanaugh, who has denied the allegations.
Christine Blasey (BLAH'-zee) Ford says she doesn't have any political motivation for coming forward with accusations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when they were teenagers.
Ford is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the accusations.
When Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii asked Ford about her motive for appearing, Ford said she'd been trying to get the information on the alleged assault to the committee while there was still a list of potential high court nominees.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegation, and he's set to address the committee later Thursday.
Two Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee say allegations made by Christine Blasey (BLAH'-zee) Ford against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh haven't been substantiated.
For South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, "It's not about, 'Do I believe her?'" but whether the sexual assault allegation from when Ford and Kavanaugh were teenagers is corroborated.
He says, "Is his denial any less believable than her allegation?"
Texas Sen. John Cornyn says "you need more than an accusation for evidence. You need corroboration. That's what's missing here."
Cornyn said Ford is repeating accusations already made in a sworn statement.
Graham says Democrats are trying to delay Kavanaugh's confirmation until after the midterm elections.
Some of the more talkative members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are suddenly quiet after hearing Christine Blasey (BLAH'-zee) Ford testify.
She's answering questions about her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. He denies the allegation.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas tells reporters he's "just listening" to the testimont. Another typically talkative Republican, Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, says he has not comment.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn is shrugging off Ford's testimony as "nothing new."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who's not on the committee — is ignoring reporters' questions about how the hearing has been going.
And South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds said he hasn't been watching the proceedings.
A long-serving Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee says the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a sexual assault when they were teenagers is "attractive" and "pleasing."
Utah's Orrin Hatch made the comments as the committee broke for lunch after hearing several hours of testimony from Christine Blasey Ford.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegations, and when Hatch was asked whether he found Ford to be believable, he said: "It's too early to say. I don't think she's uncredible. But it's way early."
And when a reporter asked the 84-year-old Hatch what he meant by saying the 51-year-old was "attractive," he said: "In other words, she's pleasing."
He said: "I'll say this. She's attractive, and she's a nice person and I wish her well."
Hatch is a senior member of the committee who was also at the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings.
Fox News Channel's Chris Wallace says Christine Blasey (BLAH'-zee) Ford's testimony against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is "a disaster" for Republicans.
Wallace and some others on Fox have used breaks in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to say Ford has performed strongly her early testimony. And they're expressing frustration about the line of questioning by the prosecutor hired by Republicans to question Ford about her sexual assault accusation against Kavanaugh.
The commentators' assessment is important because the White House says President Donald Trump, who was flying from New York to Washington as the hearing started, was watching Fox's coverage.
Fox's Brit Hume put it this way about Ford: "The more hesitant, the more fragile she has seemed, the more credible and powerful she seems to the audience."
President Donald Trump's eldest son is taking issue with Christine Blasey (BLAH'-zee) Ford's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee as she shares her recollections of an alleged sexual assault years ago by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Donald Trump Jr. is a fierce defender of his father and he frequently sounds off on Twitter. He's citing Ford's description of her fear of flying and her saying that she finds it easier when she's going on vacation.
Trump Jr. tweets that he's "no psychology professor," but he says it seems "weird" him "that someone could have a selective fear of flying."