From The New Yorker:
As Senate Republicans press for a swift vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Senate Democrats are investigating a new allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. The claim dates to the 1983-84 academic school year, when Kavanaugh was a freshman at Yale University. The offices of at least four Democratic senators have received information about the allegation, and at least two have begun investigating it. Senior Republican staffers also learned of the allegation last week and, in conversations with The New Yorker, expressed concern about its potential impact on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Soon after, Senate Republicans issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote. The Democratic Senate offices reviewing the allegations believe that they merit further investigation.
“This is another serious, credible, and disturbing allegation against Brett Kavanaugh. It should be fully investigated,” Senator Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii, said. An aide in one of the other Senate offices added, “These allegations seem credible, and we’re taking them very seriously. If established, they’re clearly disqualifying.”
The woman at the center of the story, Deborah Ramirez, who is fifty-three, attended Yale with Kavanaugh, where she studied sociology and psychology. Later, she spent years working for an organization that supports victims of domestic violence. The New Yorker contacted Ramirez after learning of her possible involvement in an incident involving Kavanaugh. The allegation was conveyed to Democratic senators by a civil-rights lawyer. For Ramirez, the sudden attention has been unwelcome, and prompted difficult choices. She was at first hesitant to speak publicly, partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident. In her initial conversations with The New Yorker, she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty. After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney,
Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections to say that she remembers Kavanaugh had exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away. Ramirez is now calling for the F.B.I. to investigate Kavanaugh’s role in the incident. “I would think an F.B.I. investigation would be warranted,” she said.
In a statement, Kavanaugh wrote, “This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen. The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so. This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name—and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building—against these last-minute allegations.”
The White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec said the Administration stood by Kavanaugh. “This 35-year-old, uncorroborated claim is the latest in a coordinated smear campaign by the Democrats designed to tear down a good man. This claim is denied by all who were said to be present and is wholly inconsistent with what many women and men who knew Judge Kavanaugh at the time in college say. The White House stands firmly behind Judge Kavanaugh.”
Ramirez said that, when both she and Kavanaugh were freshmen at Yale, she was invited by a friend on the women’s soccer team to a dorm-room party. She recalled that the party took place in a suite at Lawrance Hall, in the part of Yale known as Old Campus, and that a small group of students decided to play a drinking game together. “We were sitting in a circle,” she said. “People would pick who drank.” Ramirez was chosen repeatedly, she said, and quickly became inebriated. At one point, she said, a male student pointed a gag plastic penis in her direction. Later, she said, she was on the floor, foggy and slurring her words, as that male student and another stood nearby. (Ramirez identified the two male onlookers, but, at her request, The New Yorker is not naming them.)
A third male student then exposed himself to her. “I remember a penis being in front of my face,” she said. “I knew that’s not what I wanted, even in that state of mind.” She recalled remarking, “That’s not a real penis,” and the other students laughing at her confusion and taunting her, one encouraging her to “kiss it.” She said that she pushed the person away, touching it in the process. Ramirez, who was raised a devout Catholic, in Connecticut, said that she was shaken. “I wasn’t going to touch a penis until I was married,” she said. “I was embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated.” She remembers Kavanaugh standing to her right and laughing, pulling up his pants. “Brett was laughing,” she said. “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.” She recalled another male student shouting about the incident. “Somebody yelled down the hall, ‘Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face,’ ” she said. “It was his full name. I don’t think it was just ‘Brett.’ And I remember hearing and being mortified that this was out there.”
Ramirez acknowledged that there are significant gaps in her memories of the evening, and that, if she ever presents her story to the F.B.I. or members of the Senate, she will inevitably be pressed on her motivation for coming forward after so many years, and questioned about her memory, given her drinking at the party.
And yet, after several days of considering the matter carefully, she said, “I’m confident about the pants coming up, and I’m confident about Brett being there.” Ramirez said that what has stayed with her most forcefully is the memory of laughter at her expense from Kavanaugh and the other students. “It was kind of a joke,” she recalled. “And now it’s clear to me it wasn’t a joke.”
Kudos to Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow. Oh, but that’s not all.
My client is not Deborah Ramirez.— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 23, 2018
Warning: My client re Kavanaugh has previously done work within the State Dept, U.S. Mint, & DOJ. She has been granted multiple security clearances in the past including Public Trust & Secret. The GOP and others better be very careful in trying to suggest that she is not credible— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 24, 2018
Lawyer Michael Avenatti told the Senate Judiciary Committee late Sunday that he has multiple witnesses who can say Brett Kavanaugh participated in gang rapes of drunken women during high school.
“We are aware of significant evidence of multiple house parties in the Washington, D.C. area during the early 1980s during which Brett Kavanaugh, Mark Judge and others would participate in the targeting of women with alcohol/drugs in order to allow a ‘train’ of men to subsequently gang rape them,” Avenatti said in an email to Mike Davis, chief counsel for nominations for the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Avenatti did not disclose any details or identities of his witnesses.
Oh, but that’s not all.
Investigators in Montgomery County, Maryland, where Kavanaugh grew up, “confirmed Monday they’re aware of a potential second sexual assault complaint in the county,” the Montgomery Sentinel reports:
While investigators weren’t specific and spoke on background, they said they are looking at allegations against Kavanaugh during his senior year in high school after an anonymous witness came forward this weekend.
It’s not yet clear if this is the same person Michael Avenatti has said he’s representing, so, if this report is validated, there might be four sets of allegations or it might still be three.
At this point, the White House and the Republicans in Congress appear to be doubling and tripling down on Kavanaugh, a terrible idea politically as the elections are coming up.
But with an agree-upon heariong set for Thursday, questions abound:
WHAT IS MITCH MCCONNELL THINKING? A congressional leader is supposed to shield their members from tough votes — and there is no one better at that than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Whether the allegations are proven or not, has the vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh become too politically toxic for Republican senators to take? Will he, somehow, nudge Kavanaugh out, press PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP to nominate someone new and try to get the nominee through in the lame-duck?
WILL KAVANAUGH WITHDRAW? Kavanaugh is a veteran Republican who signed up decades ago for a conservative reimagining of the court. Would he advise a friend in his shoes to stick it out? Or would he say that this nomination is hurting the larger cause?
WHAT DO THE FENCE-SITTERS SAY? Does this make it easier for REPUBLICAN SENS. SUSAN COLLINS (MAINE) and LISA MURKOWSKI (ALASKA) — and even JEFF FLAKE (ARIZ.) and BOB CORKER (TENN.) — to wash their hands of Kavanaugh? Has a no vote become that much easier? A no vote just got much easier for JOE MANCHIN (D-W.VA.), HEIDI HEITKAMP (D-N.D.) and all other Democrats.
WHERE IS TRUMP? If there’s one thing we know about the president, it’s that he hates losing. Does he believe a Kavanaugh withdrawal makes Kavanaugh look like a loser — but does not affect his standing? If so, Kavanaugh is gone. Does he believe Kavanaugh withdrawing would make him a loser? If that’s the case, he’ll probably stick by his guy, and try to push him through.
THE HEARING ON THURSDAY — if it ends up happening — is going to be a session about Kavanaugh’s high school and college behavior. Democrats will ask how much he drank and how much he partied.
Brett Kavanaugh must also be asked about this entry in his yearbook: “FFFFFFFourth of July.” We believe that this stands for: Find them, French them, Feel them, Finger them, F*ck them, Forget them. As well as the term “Devil’s Triangle.” Perhaps Sen. Grassley can ask him. #Basta— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 24, 2018
UPDATE: Kavanaugh letter to Committee
Then why doesn’t he want an investigation by the FBI?
Latest letter from Kavanaugh to the Judiciary Committee is extraordinary.— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 24, 2018
He alleges that his accusers are “coordinating” with one another.
It’s an outlandish accusation but if he has proof, he should present it on Thursday.
Hundreds of survivors and allies have gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court to support each other, and to demand a government that #BelieveSurvivors.— Women’s March (@womensmarch) September 24, 2018
To make that happen, we have to start with #CancelKavanaugh pic.twitter.com/EZQZkB7357
Sexual assault survivors and allies gathered to protest Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation after a second woman alleges he assaulted her decades ago.— POLITICO (@politico) September 24, 2018
Many held signs saying “Vote no or we’ll fund your opponent” to pressure GOP moderate Susan Collins, who’s now undecided pic.twitter.com/FNZ38AwMNI
Vanity Fair reports that, in private, Trump is growing increasingly frustrated by being mired in a deteriorating situation with Kavanaugh. On Monday, a Republican briefed on Trump’s thinking said Trump has been considering pulling Kavanaugh’s nomination. https://t.co/JUea9ttiMT— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 24, 2018
Republicans are no longer pretending where they stand on this:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasts Senate Democrats following sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh: “This shameful, shameful smear campaign has hit a new low” pic.twitter.com/MMNnrsiU64— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) September 24, 2018
Put another way: Republicans are trapped between a GOP base that views Brett Kavanaugh as the only victim here, and their need to show suburban women that they take Christine Ford and sexual assault seriously: https://t.co/CNocRiujiX— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) September 24, 2018
Dr. Ford responds to Committee – a personal letter not through her lawyer:
Was there ever any doubt that he’d go to Fox News for help? https://t.co/aKLhaoqmaZ— Matt Novak (@paleofuture) September 24, 2018
Aaaaand Grassley responds:
Kavanaugh to do a media blitz with friendly news outlet (Fox News)
From Ford’s letter to Grassley: “I have received an inordinate number of requests to appear on major TV shows to elucidate further information, to which I have not responded.” https://t.co/a8y4VKDMVr— Elana Schor (@eschor) September 24, 2018
WH comms director accused of covering up sexual misconduct at Fox chooses Fox host who defended network’s leading perpetrator of sexual misconduct to interview SCOTUS nominee accused of sexual misconduct who was picked by president accused of sexual misconduct.— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) September 24, 2018
Update: 2 Kavanaugh classmates withdrew from a statement his lawyers issued disputing Ramirez’s claims. It is now signed by the 2 men whom Ramirez alleged had egged on Kavanaugh, the wife of the man she said told her to "kiss it,” and one other classmate: https://t.co/o8nTmjw2Vg pic.twitter.com/z6zPRBeR1r— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) September 24, 2018