Opinion

Trump Says He 'Can Be Persuaded' to Believe Kavanaugh's Accusers

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Posted: Sep 28, 2018 12:01 AM
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Trump Says He 'Can Be Persuaded' to Believe Kavanaugh's Accusers

WASHINGTON - Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, is facing a growing number of former female and male classmates who accuse him of being a drunk, and worse, in his high school and college years.

Kavanaugh has flatly denied charges from Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has alleged that he sexually assaulted her at a high school beer party decades ago in a drunken stupor.

And in a nationally broadcast interview with Fox News Monday night he strongly denied he drank to the point of passing out.

But other former Yale University classmates of his have come forward to describe him in his younger years as a very heavy drinker, according to the Washington Post in a front page story Wednesday.

Liz Swisher, who described herself as a friend when they were in college, told the Post that “Brett was a sloppy drunk, and I know because I drank with him. I watched him drink more than a lot of people. He’d end up slurring his words, stumbling.”

Swisher, a Democrat, and chief of the gynecologic oncology division at the University of Washington School of Medicine, didn’t mince words about his claims that he didn’t remember the sexual episode that Ford has alleged.

“There’s no medical way I can say that he was blacked out…. But it’s not credible for him to say that he has had no memory lapses in the nights that he drank to excess,” she told the Post.

Lynne Brookes, who the newspaper said “was a college roommate of one of the two women now accusing Kavanaugh of misconduct,” said his remarks in the Fox interview did not describe the classmate she knew.

“He’s trying to paint himself as some kind of choir boy,” said Brookes, a Republican, who remembered an encounter with an inebriated Kavanaugh.

“You can’t lie your way onto the Supreme Court, and with that statement out, he’s gone too far. It’s about the integrity of that institution.”

Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, and said that he was “stumbling drunk.”

In his Fox News interview, Kavanaugh denied that he had assaulted Ford, or that he had exposed himself to Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez as she claimed in a New Yorker magazine published Sunday.

“I’ve always treated women with dignity and respect,” he said in the Fox interview.

He told the news network that he engaged in some beer drinking, but never drank to the point of passing out.

When he was asked by Fox host Martha MacCallum if there were times “when perhaps you drank so much — was there ever a time that you drank so much that you couldn’t remember what happened the night before?”

“No,” Kavanaugh replied, “that never happened.”

“You never said to anyone, ‘I don’t remember anything about last night’” MacCallum asked again.

“No,” he answered, “that did not happen.”

But at another point in the interview, Kavanaugh said that “people” do things in high school that later cause them to “regret or cringe.”

Meantime, three of Kavanaugh’s Yale law school colleagues, who were among 25 of his classmates who signed a letter August 27 praising his accomplishments, “are now calling for an investigation into the sexual assault accusations he’s facing,” reports the Business Insider website.

Kent Sinclair, Douglas Rutzen and Mark Osler told the Post they now believe there should be a full investigation into Ford’s claims and those of other women.

Yet other high school and college friends of the nominee said they never saw Kavanaugh drink to the point that he was out of control.

“Drinking was prevalent in high school, but some guys handled it better than others, and Brett always maintained his composure,” Tom Kane, a close friend, told the Post.

Chris Dudley, another friend and star basketball player at Yale, said he went out with him “all the time. He never blacked out. Never even close to blacked out.”

But in a 2014 speech to the Yale Federalist Society, Kavanaugh acknowledged drinking heavily, recalling a boozy trip to Boston with 30 Yale Law classmates, the Post reported.

He recalled “falling out of the bus onto the steps of Yale Law School at about 4:45 a.m.”

Trump said at a news conference Wednesday that he still believed Kavanaugh was innocent of the misconduct accusations, but added he “can be persuaded” to believe his accusers and remained open to withdrawing the nomination, “if I thought he was guilty.”