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Brett Kavanaugh unequivocally denies allegations of sexual misconduct two women have made against him. No one who wasn't there can know with certainty what's true.
But President Trump's Supreme Court nominee has gone beyond simply denying those allegations about his behavior more than 30 years ago. In the process, Kavanaugh has deepened questions about his present-day credibility – a bedrock requirement for the lifetime job he now seeks.
In an interview with Fox News, Kavanaugh all but denied even participating in the raucous party culture of elite private schools he attended. Instead, he portrayed himself as dutiful and devout.
"I went to an all-boys Catholic high school," explained Kavanaugh, now a federal appeals court judge. "I was focused on academics and athletics, going to church every Sunday at Little Flower, working on my service projects, and friendship – friendship with my fellow classmates, and friendship with the girls from the local all-girls Catholic schools."
Kavanaugh acknowledged attending parties where, with the drinking age then at 18, "seniors were legal and had beer there." Never, he insisted, had he become so inebriated as to subsequently forget his actions.
He didn't stop there. Kavanaugh denied not just sexual misconduct, but having sex at all during high school and "for many years thereafter."
Set aside the fact that neither Kavanaugh accuser claims he had sex with them. The judge's self-description strains credulity in multiple ways.
One Yale classmate promptly spoke up to say Kavanaugh once told him a contradictory story about his sexual experience. Another recalled Kavanaugh's penchant for becoming "incoherently drunk."
At Yale, Kavanaugh joined a fraternity whose members waved a flag made of women's panties for a photo in the campus newspaper. He belonged to an all-male secret society known for drinking and its crude sexual nickname.
That matches public evidence from Kavanaugh's high school days. Kavanaugh's friend and Georgetown prep football teammate, Mark Judge, wrote a memoir entitled "Wasted" that described a hard-drinking milieu involving a character identified as "Bart O'Kavanaugh." California college professor Christine Blasey Ford claims Judge was there when Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when she was 15.
Nor does Kavanaugh's pious current account line up with his Georgetown Prep yearbook. Among his activities, it lists "100 Kegs or Bust" and "Beach Week Ralph Club – biggest contributor." There was also sexual innuendo.
Though Kavanaugh told Fox he always treated women with "dignity and respect," the yearbook names him and other football players as "alumni" of a particular girl from a nearby Catholic school. Now the woman, who signed a letter backing Kavanaugh for the court before having seen those yearbook references, calls the insinuation "horrible, hurtful and simply untrue" in an interview with the New York Times.
Kavanaugh inspired doubts about his truthfulness before the misconduct allegations surfaced.
He evaded questions about whether he'd join other Republican-appointed justices to reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortions rights decision, even though he emerged as a Supreme Court prospect from a conservative vetting process designed to ensure that he will. That reticence matches how justices appointed by presidents of both parties have steered clear in their confirmation hearings of cases that may later come before them.
Kavanaugh disclaimed any knowledge of a sexually-inappropriate culture in the chambers of Alex Kozinski, a federal judge for whom he clerked. Other clerks have called that culture, which ultimately forced Kozinski's resignation, an open secret.
Kavanaugh disclaimed knowledge of the fact that, as a Bush White House aide, he had been using stolen Democratic intelligence in plotting strategy to confirm judicial nominees. A Senate Republican aide had purloined it from Senate Democratic computer files.
"Judge Kavanaugh has repeatedly made misleading and at times false statements," Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said earlier this month. Her Democratic colleague Patrick Leahy wrote in the Washington Post, "Time and again, Kavanaugh appears to have misled the Senate under oath."
Republican rejected those earlier Democratic credibility complaints as simple partisanship. Now, seeking to shield himself from his female accusers, Kavanaugh has invited new ones.