A new book by two New York Times reporters suggests that Deborah Ramirez — who claimed that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while both were Yale students — had significant evidence to corroborate her charges. But Republicans seeking to confirm Kavanaugh ensured that her charges were not fully investigated. Now some prominent Democrats, including several presidential candidates, are calling for Kavanaugh to be impeached for lying during his Senate confirmation hearings.
During the winter of her freshman year, a drunken dormitory party unsettled her deeply. She and some classmates had been drinking heavily when, she says, a freshman named Brett Kavanaugh pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her, prompting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it. Some of the onlookers, who had been passing around a fake penis earlier in the evening, laughed.
Ramirez reportedly gave investigators a list of 25 witnesses who could support her allegation but they were hindered by rules imposed by the Senate Republicans and interviewed none of the proposed witnesses. Following up on her charges in a ten-month investigation, however, authors Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly found that “at least seven people, including Ms. Ramirez’s mother, heard about the Yale incident long before Mr. Kavanaugh was a federal judge.” Two of those witnesses were Ramirez classmates who learned of the assault just days after the party, “suggesting that it was discussed among students at the time.”
(Here I should note that both Pogrebin and Kelly were my colleagues at the New York Observer — and I continue to hold them in the highest regard.)
Over the weekend, the Times itself came under heavy criticism for an insensitive tweet promoting an article about the book, which described “having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party” as seeming “like harmless fun.” The paper subsequently deleted the tweet and instead noted on Twitter that “we deleted a previous tweet regarding this article. It was offensive, and we apologize.”
While President Trump and Senate Republicans continued to defend Kavanaugh, denouncing the new reporting as a “smear,” Democrats demanded a renewed investigation and possible impeachment of the new justice. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) declared in a tweet that Kavanaugh “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.”
In her own tweet, Senator Elizabeth Warren linked him to Trump: “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.”