About This Project

Supreme Revenge

View Interview Collection

To produce Supreme Revenge, FRONTLINE’s investigation of the roots of the confirmation battle over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a reporting team led by director Michael Kirk conducted interviews with dozens of people. By the time filming ended, the team had logged a total of 42 hours, 26 minutes and 42 seconds of interviews with U.S. senators and staff, White House advisers, leading journalists, activists and legal scholars.

Now you can explore the collection of 39 interviews used in the making of Supreme Revenge. The interactive archive presents all interview excerpts used in the film in their original context, plus hours of insights, analysis and stories that weren’t included in the final cut.

Among highlights from the interviews, which chronicle three decades of brinksmanship leading to the confrontation over Kavanaugh:

Former Sen. Alan Simpson on the Kavanaugh hearings: “It was the epitome of a totally broken system and just an epicenter of what's happened in America today, and happening this very day.”

Harvard Law professor Jack Goldsmith on the importance of the Kavanaugh nomination:The stakes for the future of American public law couldn't be higher. The direction of the law, of American public law, really depends on that seat.”

Former White House adviser Steve Bannon on why he “detests” Sen. Mitch McConnell, but views him as a hero when it comes to the courts: “…To me he's the epitome of the establishment. That being said, if you're a conservative, he essentially saved the country.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham on his decision to turn against Democrats in an angry defense of Kavanaugh: “And I thought this was a complete joke. I thought it was a drive-by shooting. I thought they were destroying this guy’s life.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar on her exchange with Kavanaugh about claims of excessive drinking: “…Then I asked him if it was possible that he had blacked out, and that's why he didn't remember it. And he went back at me and asked me if I blacked out. And I thought—my first reaction was, boy, if I had done that in your courtroom, I thought this in my head, you would kick me out.”

Sen. Susan Collins on being threatened over her confirmation vote: “…The lack of civility, the death threats, the profanity that was directed at both my staff and me, was very difficult. I received a fax in which the person threatened to cut off my arms and legs and slit my throat if I voted for Judge Kavanaugh.”

NPR reporter Nina Totenberg on breaking the news about harassment allegations against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas: “I managed to get stuff. And pretty soon I had Anita Hill’s name, and I called her up.

We are publishing these full-length interviews as part of FRONTLINE’s Transparency Project. One goal of the project is to make the source material that goes into our films more accessible, which reinforces the credibility of our journalism. Another is to give audiences new ways to go deep on subjects that interest them, discovering new facts and insights inside a rich archive.

Over several recent films, we’ve created new ways for our audiences to search, experience and share the in-depth interviews. Today, hundreds of interviews conducted by our filmmakers are online in video and text, published in a format designed to make it easy to navigate.

So far, the Transparency Project has published interactive interviews as part of these FRONTLINE investigations:

For Putin’s Revenge (2017) we published 56 interviews conducted for the two-part series. The interviews collected in The Putin Files have been viewed more than two million times.

In Trump’s Takeover, The Interactive Film (2018) we built a viewing experience that linked highlighted quotes to text interviews, enabling viewers to see quotations in context while streaming the video.

For Trump’s Showdown – The Interactive Film (2018), about the Mueller investigation, we updated the design to make it easier to navigate between the film and the source material in dozens of original interviews.

For The Facebook Dilemma (2018) we published 29 full-length interviews with key Facebook executives, critics of the company, journalist and lawmakers.

FRONTLINE’s commitment to publishing interviews is nothing new; we’ve been putting transcripts online since 1996. The Transparency Project, building on our journalistic guidelines of fairness and accountability, aims to take this practice even further, providing unprecedented public access to the raw materials of journalism.

To encourage other news organizations to learn from our experience and develop similar projects, key features of the Transparency Project were created using open-source code.

We believe that transparency plays an important role in making journalism more credible. A survey done recently as part of the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy found that 71 percent of Americans said a commitment to transparency was a "very important" factor in fostering media trust. 

You can read more about the Transparency Project in this article from Nieman Reports.