A new allegation against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in a New York Times article brought out the knives among the liberal set — as well as from President Donald Trump.
In a series of tweets Sunday, Trump suggested that Kavanaugh should “should start suing people for libel, or the Justice Department should come to his rescue,” saying that he was “an innocent man who has been treated HORRIBLY.”
The new allegation was briefly sketched out in a Sunday piece by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, authors of a forthcoming book, “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation.”
You can probably guess the bent of the tome by the title of their piece, which focuses on the accusations made by Deborah Ramirez, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Yale who claimed Kavanaugh “pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her, prompting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it.”
The article was headlined: “Brett Kavanaugh Fit In With the Privileged Kids. She Did Not.”
Yep, we’re going there again. Brett Kavanaugh was a rich kid and Deborah Ramirez came from a “working-class” town in Connecticut where she “enjoyed simple pleasures like swimming in their aboveground pool, taking camping trips and riding behind her father on his snowmobile.” (Because nothing says “working-class” like an aboveground swimming pool.)
Most of this was nothing more than red meat for the liberal faithful, mostly talk about how Yale was a torturous place to be in the 1980s if you weren’t wealthy and connected.
I’m sure that was probably the case, and yet that’s evidence for the fact that … Yale was a torturous place to be in the 1980s if you weren’t wealthy and connected.
If there is indeed some deeper corroboration of Ramirez’s story in Pogrebin and Kelly’s book, it wasn’t in Sunday’s piece.
There was a new accusation against Justice Kavanaugh, however, which is indeed big news.
“We also uncovered a previously unreported story about Mr. Kavanaugh in his freshman year that echoes Ms. Ramirez’s allegation. A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student,” the story read.
“Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly.”
And after that entire paragraph, a huge, Barry Bonds-sized asterisk: “We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier; the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say she does not recall the episode.” [Emphasis ours.]
Yeah, I’d say that’s a problem. A bigger problem was that that information wasn’t included in the article to begin with and was only added after it had been published.
The Times appended an editor’s note to the piece Sunday stating:
“An earlier version of this article, which was adapted from a forthcoming book, did not include one element of the book’s account regarding an assertion by a Yale classmate that friends of Brett Kavanaugh pushed his penis into the hand of a female student at a drunken dorm party. The book reports that the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident. That information has been added to the article.”
Oh. Well then.
The scanty information provided by Pogrebin and Kelly was nevertheless enough to convince some Democratic presidential candidates to call for an investigation, if not outright impeachment:
Last year the Kavanaugh nomination was rammed through the Senate without a thorough examination of the allegations against him. Confirmation is not exoneration, and these newest revelations are disturbing. Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 15, 2019
I sat through those hearings. Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people. He was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice.
He must be impeached.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 15, 2019
Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation is a shame to the Supreme Court.
This latest allegation of assault must be investigated.https://t.co/urvfd4dguL
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) September 15, 2019
The actual president, meanwhile, had an unsurprisingly different take.
“Now the Radical Left Democrats and their Partner, the LameStream Media, are after Brett Kavanaugh again, talking loudly of their favorite word, impeachment. He is an innocent man who has been treated HORRIBLY. Such lies about him. They want to scare him into turning Liberal!” Trump said in a tweet.
Now the Radical Left Democrats and their Partner, the LameStream Media, are after Brett Kavanaugh again, talking loudly of their favorite word, impeachment. He is an innocent man who has been treated HORRIBLY. Such lies about him. They want to scare him into turning Liberal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019
“Brett Kavanaugh should start suing people for libel, or the Justice Department should come to his rescue,” Trump wrote in a later tweet. “The lies being told about him are unbelievable. False Accusations without recrimination. When does it stop? They are trying to influence his opinions. Can’t let that happen!”
It’s worth noting, as the Washington Examiner did, that President Trump originally spelled libel as “liable” before deleting the tweet and sending it out again. It’s also worth noting that it’s unlikely a libel suit would succeed and the Justice Department probably can’t come to his rescue.
Still, what is worth taking away from this is that this is a relatively thin allegation — so thin, in fact, that the woman at the center of it denies even remembering the incident.
To say that’s problematic is to underestimate the issue by half.
And yes, I’m not surprised at the political cupidity of those calling for Kavanaugh’s impeachment, even given the fact that this is based on a single paragraph in a New York Times story meant to promote a book that is obviously going to be a character assassination turkey-shoot.
It’s questionable why they would want to bring this up now, however. The Kavanaugh story didn’t work well for the Democrats during the run-up to the 2018 midterms; it’s been argued that if President Trump didn’t take the attention off of the Kavanaugh confirmation and refocus it on the border crisis, the result would have been much better for Republicans. I suppose now there isn’t much risk of Michael Avenatti trotting out a Julie Swetnick this time around, but that’s really about all that’s changed.
If the Democrats want to roll the dice on that, good luck.
Unless there’s more evidence to this, the only real winners will be President Trump and the Republicans.
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