US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has declared in a televised interview that he never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or at any other time in his life.
Mr Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley, sat down for an interview with Fox News Channel‚Äôs The Story With Martha MacCallum after a second woman accused him of sexual misconduct.
Mr Kavanaugh denied he was ‚Äúat any such party‚ÄĚ. He said he did not question that perhaps Ms Ford at some point in her life was sexually assaulted, ‚Äúbut what I know is I‚Äôve never sexually assaulted anyone.‚ÄĚ
Mr Kavanaugh said it was possible he may have met Ms Ford at some time, but he said they were not friends and did not travel in the same social circles. He said he did not remember being at a party with her.
Mr Kavanaugh was asked if there was any chance Ms Ford misunderstood an exchange between them.
‚ÄúI have never had any sexual or physical activity with Dr Ford,‚ÄĚ Mr Kavanaugh said. ‚ÄúI‚Äôve never sexually assaulted anyone, in high school or otherwise.‚ÄĚ
The second woman, Deborah Ramirez, has accused Mr Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a Yale dormitory party.
Mr Kavanaugh said: ‚ÄúI never did any such thing.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIf such a thing had happened, it would have been the talk of campus,‚ÄĚ Mr Kavanaugh said.
It is rare for nominees to the Supreme Court to give interviews.
Russell Wheeler, an expert on the judicial selection process at the Brookings Institution, said he is unaware of a similar media interview by a Supreme Court nominee in the past 100 years.
But there was nothing ordinary about the stakes and circumstances of Mr Kavanaugh‚Äôs nomination, with Republicans fighting to get him on the court by the end of September and cement a conservative-leaning court for years to come.
President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they are determined to get Mr Kavanaugh on the court, calling the allegations against him false and politically motivated.
Mr Kavanaugh was defiant as well.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm not going to let false accusations drive us out of this process,‚ÄĚ Mr Kavanaugh said.
Democrats have accused Republicans of not conducting a thorough review in their rush to get Mr Kavanaugh confirmed. They want the FBI to reopen its background investigation of Mr Kavanaugh and look into the allegations against him.
Ms Ford and Mr Kavanaugh are set to testify on Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In the Fox interview, Mr Kavanaugh got a taste of the personal questions he will face from senators.
MacCallum asked him how long he was a virgin in college, after he volunteered that he never had sex in high school.
‚ÄúMany years after. I‚Äôll leave it at that,‚ÄĚ Mr Kavanaugh said.
Ashley Kavanaugh was asked whether she wondered if her husband was telling the truth about the allegations against him. ‚ÄúNo, I know Brett. I‚Äôve known him for 17 years,‚ÄĚ she said, adding: ‚ÄúI know his heart. This is not consistent with Brett.‚ÄĚ
Mr Kavanaugh appeared to get emotional at the end of the interview. He said Mr Trump called him in the afternoon to show his support.
‚ÄúI know he‚Äôs going to stand by me,‚ÄĚ Mr Kavanaugh said.
Mr Trump said Democrats are ‚Äúworking hard to destroy‚ÄĚ Mr Kavanaugh.
On Twitter, the president said that Mr Kavanaugh is ‚Äúa wonderful man, and a man who has the potential to be one of our greatest Supreme Court Justices ever‚ÄĚ.
Mr Trump later urged his supporters on Twitter to ‚ÄúREMEMBER THE MIDTERMS!‚ÄĚ