Kavanaugh Barely Vetted By FBI

Ken AshfordSex Scandals, Supreme Court, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

As Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh prepares for his second year on the Supreme Court, new reporting has detailed how the limits ordered by the White House and Senate Republicans last year constrained the FBI investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct when he was a college freshman.

The FBI was informed of allegations that Kavanaugh, while drunk during his freshman year at Yale, exposed himself to two heavily intoxicated female classmates on separate occasions. The bureau did not interview more than a dozen people who said they could provide information about the incidents.

One of the accounts, reported by Deborah Ramirez, was made public at the time of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. The other, not publicly known until this weekend, was reported by a male classmate who said he witnessed the incident. He unsuccessfully sought to get the FBI to investigate with help from a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who asked FBI Director Christopher A. Wray to look into the allegation.

The new details are based on interviews conducted by this reporter and two reporters for the New York Times for books about the confirmation. The New York Times reported some details late Saturday from its reporters’ new book.

The committee’s Republican majority declined to give a public hearing to Ramirez, and it is unclear how many senators knew of the allegation of a second, similar incident at Yale. The committee’s chairman, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and its senior Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, were both informed of the existence of the allegation.

Ramirez alleged that Kavanaugh exposed his penis and caused her to touch it while they were both inebriated during a drinking game in a dormitory suite in late 1983 or early 1984. Kavanaugh denied her allegation.

The other allegation, previously unreported, came from Washington lawyer Max Stier, who told Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) that he witnessed Kavanaugh exposing himself to a different female classmate during their freshman year.

Both Kavanaugh and the woman were heavily intoxicated at the time, according to Stier’s account, as described by people familiar with the contacts between him and Coons and others who have spoken with Stier since Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

The woman in that case, a friend of Ramirez, has denied that she was assaulted, telling friends she has no memory of such an incident. According to Stier’s account, the woman was so inebriated at the time that she could easily have no memory of it.

Several of the Democrats seeking their party’s presidential nomination weighed in on the new allegations.

“These newest revelations are disturbing,” Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts wrote on Twitter about The Times essay. “Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.”

Kamala Harris, a Democratic senator from California and a member of the Senate committee that presided over his confirmation hearings, on Twitter echoed the call for impeachment.

“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,” she wrote.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. called the revelations “profoundly troubling” but stopped short of calling for Justice Kavanaugh’s impeachment. In a statement on Twitter, he called for an investigation into “whether the Trump Administration and Senate Republicans pressured the F.B.I. to ignore evidence.”