A frustrated Brett Kavanaugh was refusing to answering some questions on his private life during mock practice sessions for his upcoming Senate testimony, it was revealed, as Democrats are preparing to grill him about the drinking and partying culture of his prep school days.
Kavanaugh, who was accused by Christine Blasey Ford of sexually attacking her when they were teenagers at a high school party in the 1980s, bristled when asked about his private life.
Questions about his drinking habits and his sexual proclivities saw President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court get visibly frustrated, sources told The Washington Post.
Brett Kavanugh reportedly refused to answer some questions on his private life in practice sessions for Senate testimony
Christine Ford’s lawyer said she is willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee
He declined to answer some of the questions altogether, saying they were too personal.
‘I’m not going to answer that,’ Kavanaugh said at one point, The Post reported.
But a senior White House official told the paper the questions were designed to go over the line and Kavanaugh struck the right tone in his responses.
Kavanaugh joined White House aides playing the role of senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee in mock sessions in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building designed to prepare him for this week’s high-stakes showdown that could make or break his Supreme Court nomination.
His hours of practice are designed to prepare him for tough questioning from Democrats about his days at Georgetown Prep, a private all-male Washington D.C. high school he attended.
On Tuesday, Kavanaugh was reported to have spent more than two hours practicing his responses with aides, where he condemned sexual assault while trying to avoid placing blame on Ford.
The eyes of the public will be on him and his answers as will the eyes of Republican senators.
Kavanaugh has complained about the stories focusing on his family and has grown ‘incredibly frustrated,’ The Post reported, but he is not looking to withdraw his nomination.
And a show down is being set as Ford has agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee with a date tentatively set for Thursday at 10 a.m.
Republicans going into the hearing have to consider the optics: all 11 members of the judiciary panel are white males, leaving the GOP to considering having some female staffers on the committee pose questions to Ford as they try to avoid a spectra reminiscent of what Anita Hill faced in her testimony against Clarence Thomas in his 1991 confirmation hearing.
Republican senators in particular have a delicate balancing act – wanting to confirm Trump’s conservative candidate to the Supreme Court while not angering female voters ahead of the upcoming midterm election.
‘She will be treated respectfully but she will be challenged. As will Judge Kavanaugh,’ Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Judiciary panel, told ‘Fox News Sunday.’
Democrats, meanwhile, have been pushing for extra witnesses to testify along with Ford to help her comfort level and her credibility.
However, if only Ford and Kavanaugh testify they are considering letting witnesses – such as trauma experts – speak at news conferences.
Democrats have also been researching Kavanaugh’s prep school days and plan to ask him about the culture of drinking and partying described in his friend Mark Judge’s books.
Ford said Judge was in the room when the attack happened, which he has denied and also has declined to testify.
‘I would be wanting to hear what kind of environment it was in high school. Apparently there was a lot of drinking and partying going on,’ Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ Sunday morning.
‘We have before us a nominee that is under a cloud. There’s not even a modicum of investigation. And so we are left basically with he-said, she-said. This happens a lot in the context of sexual assault. We know this,’ she said.
‘I put his denial in the context of everything that I know about him in terms of how he approaches his cases,’ she noted.
Negotiations on testimony are expected to continue over Sunday, with Ford’s team and the panel still not able to agree on crucial details of the hearing.
Christine Blasey (now Ford) and Brett Kavanaugh in their respective high school year books
Patrick J Smyth (left) and Mark Judge (right) have both denied any knowledge of the sexual assault. In a statement, Smyth denied knowledge and praised the SCOTUS nominee’s ‘great integrity’. Judge, who was reportedly in the room when Ford was assaulted, has denied any recollection of the incident
While all parties have agreed on only using pool cameras, keeping Ford and Kavanaugh separate and providing police security for the renowned psychologist, there is still no consensus on whether alleged witness Mark Judge will be subpoenaed.
Ford described to The Washington Post in detail how, when she was a student at the all female Holton Arms she was at a teenage party in the 1980s, when Kavanaugh and his high school classmate followed her upstairs when she went to the bathroom and pushed her into a bedroom.
She alleged Kavanaugh held her down, tried to rip off her swimsuit, and put his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream.
She said she escaped when his friend, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them.
‘I thought he might inadvertently kill me,’ Ford told the newspaper.
Kavanaugh has repeatedly and strongly denied the allegation.
Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono said she wants to ask Kavanaugh about his school’s partying culture
Kavanugh has spent hours practicing questions with White House aides.
‘This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes—to her or to anyone,’ Kavanaugh said in a statement provided by the White House.
Kavanaugh said he ‘had no idea’ who made the allegation until Ford identified herself Sunday in a bombshell Washington Post interview.
‘Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday,’ he noted.
Judge, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Georgetown Prep, has written several books about his experiences at the elite Catholic high school near Washington, D.C.
Judge does not mention witnessing – or taking part in – any sexual assaults in his autobiographical books Wasted and God and Man at Georgetown Prep, which describe his struggles with alcoholism and eventual recovery.
But he does detail the hard-partying exploits of his classmates and friends – a group that included Kavanaugh – often in houses where parents were absent, matching the circumstances described by Ford of her alleged attack.
‘[Georgetown] Prep was a school positively swimming in alcohol, and my class partied with gusto – often right under the noses of our teachers,’ wrote Judge in his 2005 book God and Man at Georgetown Prep.
‘Senior year, my class of eighty decided that by the end of the year we would drink a hundred kegs of beer,’ wrote Judge. ‘I’m sorry to say that we succeeded.’
Kavanaugh is not named in the books and in both the author uses pseudonyms, in the first book even calling Georgetown Prep ‘Loyola’, a reference to St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order of Catholic priests who ran the school.
Judge declined to testify before the Senate panel and said he doesn’t remember the incident in question.
‘I have no memory of this alleged incident,’ he wrote in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee sent via his attorney last week.
‘I do not recall the party described in Dr. Ford’s letter,’ added Judge, who wrote a book about his high school days describing heavy partying, drinking, and teenage sex.
He also defended longtime pal Kavanaugh, saying: ‘I never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford described.’
Ford has named four other people allegedly at the party but all have said they don’t remember it.
On Saturday night, Leland Ingham Keyser, who CNN describes as a ‘lifelong friend’ of Ford, issued a statement denying any recollection of the party itself or Kavanaugh.
‘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,’ her attorney, Howard J. Walsh, said in a statement sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Keyser separately clarified to the Washington Post she believes Ford, but does not have any personal knowledge of the assault.
Three other people, two of whom are Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge, have also denied any knowledge of the alleged assault.
The third, Patrick J Smyth, issued a statement on Wednesday denying any knowledge of the party, and going on to praise Kavanaugh as a ‘person of great integrity’.
‘I am issuing this statement today to make it clear to all involved that I have no knowledge of the party in question; nor do I have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh,’ Smyth declared.
The White House, which has said repeatedly Kavanaugh denies the allegation and is prepared to testify at any time, released a statement pointing out the denials from the others alleged to be at the party.
‘One week ago, Dr. Christine Ford claimed she was assaulted at a house party attended by four others. Since then, all four of these individuals have provided statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee denying any knowledge of the incident or even having attended such a party,’ White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement late Saturday night.
But Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said it was no surprise others didn’t remember the night in question.
‘It’s no surprise, if another person was in the room or not in the room, but in the house that night and had no occurrence like the – the one that was stated by Dr. Ford, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t even remember that party scene 36 years ago,’ he said on ABC’s ‘This Week’ on Sunday.