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Brett Kavanaugh asked about gambling debt, nationals attendance

September 13, 2018

Judge Brett Kavanaugh has been bad luck for Washington’s baseball team.

President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee admitted in written answers to senators Wednesday that he has bought tickets to every Nationals playoff game since the team relocated to Washington, and in that time they’ve won just three of the 11 games.

His answers came in response to prodding from Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Richard Blumenthal, two Democrats who who demanded to know about any debts or other financial irregularities in the judge’s past.

Judge Kavanaugh went through his finances, describing his home and having had to sink “a decent amount of money” for unanticipated repairs including replacing the air conditioning, getting a new oven and refrigerator, dealing with basement flooding and removing mold.

He said he has never had gambling debts nor participated in “fantasy” leagues, though he did acknowledge being “a huge sports fan.” He said he had season tickets every year from 2005 through 2017, and bought playoff packages each year they made the postseason.

“I have attended all 11 Nationals’ home playoff games in their history,” he wrote, adding, “We are 3-8 in those games.”

The judge’s opponents had earlier highlighted his financial disclosure forms as a federal judge, questioning where he’d built up some debt. The White House had said at the time it came from home improvements and buying baseball tickets.

Judge Kavanaugh’s answers came as part of his responses to nearly 1,300 written questions submitted by senators nearly all of them from Democrats after his lengthy personal testimony last week.

In his questions Mr. Whitehouse inquired about one email from the judge’s past in which he appeared to admit to being part of a dice game.

“Since 2000, have you participated in any form of gambling or game of chance or skill with monetary stakes, including but not limited to poker, dice, golf, sports betting, blackjack, and craps? If yes, please list the dates, participants, location/venue, and amounts won/lost,” the senator prodded.

Judge Kavanaugh said he’s never taken part in gambling for money, and said the game of dice he spoke of in the email wasn’t for money.

Asked specifically about poker, he said he occasionally played with friends, but said he doesn’t have “details of those casual games.”

Mr. Whitehouse then asked if he’d ever “sought treatment for a gambling addiction.”

The judge replied flatly: “No.”

Mr. Whitehouse concluded his line of questioning by wondering what Judge Kavanaugh had meant in an email to colleagues when he urged them to “be very, very vigilant” in a confidential matter he’d discussed with them.

It turns out that matter was his first date with his now-wife, Ashley, on Sept. 10, 2001.

“Over the course of the preceding weekend, I had discussed Ashley at some length with my longtime friends. In the email, I was asking my friends not to share my interest in and upcoming date with Ashley with their spouses,” he said.

In one more substantive exchange with Mr. Whitehouse, Judge Kavanaugh said he will not release reporters from their confidentiality agreements with him during his time serving on the independent counsel’s investigation into the Clintons.

During the hearing last week he admitted to having served as an anonymous source for reporters, at the direction of Independent Counsel Ken Starr. Prodded by senators, he said he would have to think about whether he would release those reporters from their obligation to protect him as a confidential source.

But in his written answers he said he would not release them and said it was for their own good.

“It would be inappropriate in this context to disregard that foundational privilege and protection for the press,” he wrote.

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