Jeff Flake Defends Brett Kavanaugh: 'Hard To Say What Drinking To Excess Is'

Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath about his drinking — a lot. Jeff Flake doesn't want to judge.
Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) refused to say whether Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath last week about his drinking habits, despite mounting evidence that he did.

Flake halted Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Friday and called for an FBI investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against the nominee, including the claim that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when they were in high school. But there’s another reason critics say Kavanaugh isn’t fit for a seat on the nation’s top court: During his testimony last week, he lied under oath ― a lot ― especially about his excessive drinking.

Naturally, journalists want to know what Flake thinks about all the lying. But in an interview on Wednesday morning, Flake fell all over himself trying not to take sides.

“With regard to his drinking in particular, it seemed that he downplayed it somewhat,” said “Today” show anchor Savannah Guthrie, downplaying the degree to which Kavanaugh downplayed his drinking.

“That’s obviously difficult to judge what constitutes drinking in excess. I’m not sure how to quite judge that ― especially for this Mormon,” Flake said. “If he misled the committee in that way, that’s something that is not right and shouldn’t happen, can’t happen. We’ll have to look at what the FBI comes back with. I don’t want to prejudge.”

Just yesterday, Flake said he wanted the FBI to conduct a real, full investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh, pushing back at claims that the whole thing is a sham designed to make confirming the judge less controversial. He’s also said that if Kavanaugh lied under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination will be over.

Those who knew him in college said he was a “heavy drinker” and “a sloppy drunk.” He lied about the drinking age in Maryland. He said a reference to “Devil’s Triangle” in his yearbook entry was about drinking game (it’s not). He said “Beach Week Ralph Club — Biggest Contributor” was a reference to his weak stomach, not to drinking to the point of vomiting. In a letter written to his friends in 1983, he said, “Warn the neighbors that we’re loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us. Advise them to go about 30 miles,” according to The New York Times.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story referred to “boofing” when it should have referred to “Devil’s Triangle.”

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