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Senator discusses contentious moment at Kavanaugh hearing that had embattled nominee apologizing moments later

By WITW Staff on September 28, 2018

One of the most explosive moments during Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony on Thursday came when Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota questioned him about his drinking as a teenager. Klobuchar, a Democrat whom Kavanaugh mentioned that he had great respect for at the beginning of their exchange, asked the judge whether he’d ever drunk enough beer to have blacked out when he was in high school. (Kavanaugh proclaimed his affinity for beer literally dozens of times during his testimony.)

Upon hearing the question, Kavanaugh abruptly became combative. “No … I think that you’ve probably had beer, senator,” he said, turning the question around on her.

“Has there ever been a case where you drank so much that you didn’t remember what happened the night before or part of what happened,” Klobuchar repeated.

“You’re asking about a blackout — I don’t know, have you?” Kavanaugh said.

Klobuchar tried to move the question forward by asking whether he was denying that he’d ever blacked out.

“Yeah, and I’m curious if you have,” he shot back.

“I have no drinking problem, judge,” Klobuchar said.

“Nor do I,” was Kavanaugh’s sharp response.

Moments earlier, Klobuchar had revealed that her father, who is 90, is a recovered alcoholic, a point she brought up again when, after a short break in the testimony, Kavanaugh apologized for the outburst.

On Friday morning, Klobuchar appeared on the Today show to discuss the exchange with NBC’s  Savannah Guthrie.

“What I was thinking is if he was a judge in a courtroom and I had acted like that — and this is kind of like our courtroom, right — he would’ve thrown me out,” Klobuchar said when asked to take viewers inside her head during that contentious moment. She added that she appreciated Kavanaugh’s public apology, but maintained that the judge didn’t answer her question about claims that his heavy drinking as a teenager led to instances where he blacked out.

“The only way we get to the bottom of this is if we reopen the FBI investigation,” the senator added. So far, President Trump has refused to order an FBI investigation — or, as Klobuchar put it during the testimony, a “background check” — into the claims against Kavanaugh and that does not appear like it will change.

Below, watch the full exchange from inside the Dirksen Senate Office Building and the interview with Klobuchar.


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