Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York says Republicans are “bullying” a woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. (Sept. 20)
A woman who attended Yale University with Brett Kavanaugh has alleged that he sexually assaulted her when they were both freshmen at the Ivy League school, according to a New Yorker report, which says Senate Democrats are investigating the allegations.
The woman, identified as Deborah Ramirez, is accusing Kavanaugh of exposing himself at a dormitory party and “thrusting his penis” in her face, according to the story, which also says that this incident happened during the 1983-84 academic year. She acknowledges she had been drinking that night and has gaps in her memory.
Ramirez, 53, is the second woman to accuse the Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault decades ago.
Also Sunday, Attorney Michael Avenatti, who represents Stormy Daniels in her hush-money case against President Donald Trump, tweeted that he is representing a third woman with “information” on Kavanaugh. He sent a second tweet specifying that this woman is not Ramirez.
In Ramirez’ case, she claims she encountered him at a party a year after Christine Blasey Ford has said that he held her down, covered her mouth with his hand and tried to remove her clothes after he and a friend locked her in a bedroom at a party in 1982, when they were all in high school in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.
Given Ramirez’ allegation and Avenatti’s client, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California and a member of the Judiciary Committee, called Sunday for a delay in Kavanaugh’s nomination.
“I also ask that the newest allegations of sexual misconduct be referred to the FBI for investigation, and that you join our request for the White House to direct the FBI to investigate the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford as well as these new claims,” she wrote in a letter to Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
Kavanaugh, who has repeatedly denied the allegations by Ford, also denied this new accusation.
“This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen,” Kavanaugh said in a statement released by the White House. “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.”
Ford has agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee at 10 a.m. Thursday and The New Yorker reports that Ramirez is asking for an FBI investigation of her allegations against Kavanaugh.
Ramirez told The New Yorker that the incident took place after she was invited to a party where she and friends played a drinking game. She said she was repeatedly picked to take a drink and quickly became drunk.
At some point, Ramirez said, a male student exposed himself to her. She remembers Kavanaugh standing nearby and pulling up his pants while he laughed.
“I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants,” she told The New Yorker.
Ramirez said she does have gaps in her memories of the evening and knows she will be questioned about why she took so long to come forward with the allegations.
The White House responded Sunday by saying it “stands firmly” behind Kavanaugh and released an itemized attack on the New Yorker story that focuses on everything from the memory gaps to Kavanaugh classmates saying this kind of behavior is “out of character for Brett.”
“This 35-year-old, uncorroborated claim is the latest in a coordinated smear campaign by the Democrats designed to tear down a good man,” the statement reads. “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.”
George Hartmann, a Grassley spokesman, said “senior Republican staffers” who learned of the allegation last week referred to in The New Yorker article were not from Grassley’s office.
“Committee staff learned of the allegations like everyone else did in tonight’s New Yorker report,” he said. “Neither Ms. Ramirez or any legal representative of hers have contacted the chairman’s office. It seems once again that Senate Democrats are actively withholding information from the rest of the committee.”
A committee staffer emailed Avenatti “shortly after” he announced on Twitter he represented “a woman with credible information regarding Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge.”
Avenatti posted his response on Twitter: “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. There are multiple witnesses that will corroborate these facts and each of them must be called to testify publicly. ”
Hartmann said the committee would begin “looking into the allegations” but would not commit to calling in additional witnesses for the hearing.
David Popp, a spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said he had not talked to McConnell on Sunday night but that he was unaware of the allegations before they became public.
“The Democrats did not give me a heads up on the story. Neither did (The New Yorker reporters),” he said.
The response to the latest allegation against Kavanaugh prompted renewed calls for him to withdraw or be eliminated from consideration.
Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice, issued a short but pointed statement: “Enough is enough. Brett Kavanaugh needs to withdraw immediately.”
Women’s March COO Rachel O’Leary Carmona said her organization is planning a “week of action” leading into the Ford testimony on Thursday and called for Kavanaugh to be removed from consideration.
“His nomination was an affront to women from the start, and any continuation of these hearings will be seen by women as a war on survivors of sexual assault,” Carmona said.
Citing 10 quotes and excerpts from The New Yorker that “cast doubt” on Ramirez’ claim, Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director for the Judicial Crisis Network, said Senate Republicans “must not allow unsubstantiated and discredited allegations from over three decades ago to destroy the life and reputation of a good man.”
“(Senate Minority Leader) Chuck Schumer vowed to oppose Kavanaugh with everything he’s got, and apparently that took the form of character assassination. This has all of the ingredients of a smear campaign on steroids,” Severino said. “Senate Republicans should stand up to these unsubstantiated and discredited allegations and move forward with a vote to confirm Kavanaugh.”
Contributing: Eliza Collins, Michael Collins.
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