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Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, sitting beside his wife Ashley, was unyielding in his defense against allegations of sexual assault in an interview with Fox News' Martha MacCallum on Monday.

"I want a fair process where I can defend my integrity. I know I am telling the truth. I know my lifelong record. I am not going to let false accusations drive me out of this process."
— Brett Kavanaugh

The bottom line: Kavanaugh not only used the interview as an opportunity to deny the accusations, but he also pushed back against what he described as mischaracterizations about his behavior in high school. He told MacCallum that he "didn't have anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter. The girls from the schools I went to and I were friends." (Note that none of the allegations involve intercourse).

"When I was in high school, and I went to an all boys Catholic high school where I was focused on academics and athletics and going to church every Sunday and working on service projects and friends. Yes there were parties. The drinking age was 18. Yes the seniors were legal and had beer. Yes, people might have had too many beers on occasion. ... That's not what we are talking about. We are talking about an allegation of sexual assault. I never sexually assaulted anyone."
— Brett Kavanaugh on Fox News

Other highlights:

  • The Supreme Court nominee said Trump called him earlier Monday to personally tell him that he’s sticking by him.
  • Kavanaugh's wife, Ashley, said she never questioned Kavanaugh about the accusations: "I know him for 17 years. ... This is not consistent with Brett.”

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.