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Brett Kavanaugh’s strategy is to be mad as hell.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Earlier today, there was reporting that Kavanaugh, who has been credibly accused of sexual assault, was furious about the allegations that have been levied against him by Christine Blasey Ford and others. Axios reported on Thursday morning that Kavanaugh was “hopping mad,” and that he would hit back when it was his turn to testify.

Kavanaugh’s indignant rage was on full display in his opening statement, in which he breathlessly accused “the left” of orchestrating a smear campaign and exacting “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.” He said, “My family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed.” Openly furious and frequently dissolving into tears, he painted himself as a victim of a massive political conspiracy, which he claimed was proof that the country is coming apart at the seams.

Kavanaugh vowed not to withdraw his nomination in the face of these attacks. He said he believed Ford had been assaulted by “someone,” but not him, consistently advancing the theory that this was all a case of “mistaken identity.”

Between his anger and his naked partisanship, it was one of the most surreal moments in Supreme Court history. There were clear precedents, including Clarence Thomas’s outrage during his own nomination process at being accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill. And Kavanaugh was practically goaded to anger by Donald Trump, who has suggested that Kavanaugh defend himself more aggressively. So Kavanaugh has apparently decided to shout his way through this, hoping to drown out Ford’s highly credible testimony from earlier in the day.