Brett Kavanaugh misconduct report sparks calls for impeachment
Published 1:09 PM EDT Sep 15, 2019
WASHINGTON – The report of a new sexual misconduct allegation against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has sparked fury among figures on both the left and right.
In a Sunday morning tweet, President Donald Trump accused the “LameStream Media” and Democrats of colluding to scare Kavanaugh “into turning Liberal.”
And on the left, presidential candidates Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment.
Harris had voted against Kavanaugh’s confirmation in October 2018.
Kavanaugh had been confirmed by a 50-48 Senate vote last October despite a bitter nomination process. Christine Blasey Ford had accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct while they were high school students in the 1980s, but Kavanaugh denied the claim during what became a heated confirmation process.
A New York Times essay published Saturday evening and adapted from the upcoming book “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation” featured new information that two reporters said corroborated a prior claim of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh and uncovered evidence supporting a previously unreported claim.
Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s, had alleged during Kavanaugh’s confirmation process that the now-confirmed justice had exposed himself to her in college. Her account had received less attention than Ford’s at the time though, as Ford had testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“During his Senate testimony, Mr. Kavanaugh said that if the incident Ms. Ramirez described had occurred, it would have been ‘the talk of campus.’ Our reporting suggests that it was,” wrote New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly.
The reporters said at least seven people they interviewed had heard about the incident –including the alleged victim’s mother.
Despite the presence of these witnesses, Pogrebin and Kelly say that the FBI “interviewed none of them, though we learned many of these potential witnesses tried in vain to reach the F.B.I. on their own.”
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Pogrebin and Kelly said they also uncovered another incident of sexual misconduct in which another one of Kavanaugh’s classmates “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 classmate, Max Stier, flagged the report to the FBI, but they declined to investigate the incident.
Brian Fallon, the execute director of progressive judicial group Demand Justice, pitched a question about Kavanaugh’s impeachment as a question for the next Democratic debate.
“Here is a good question for the next Democratic debate: Do you support impeaching Brett Kavanaugh?” he wrote on Twitter.
Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican Party, slammed the report and said “The New York Times should be ashamed of this smear on Justice Kavanaugh,” citing a tweet from Federalist Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway claiming the reporting in Pogrebin and Kelly’s book undercut the reporting in their essay.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said on ABC’s “This Week,” “I think that follows up with the rather shameful circus we saw during the confirmation hearing,” adding that calls for Kavanaugh’s impeachment were “another sign of how nasty and divided the time is.”
Later Sunday, after first deleting a tweet in which he had misspelled “libel” as “liable,” Trump said Kavanaugh should “start suing people for libel, or the Justice Department should come to his rescue.”
Only one Supreme Court Justice has ever been impeached.
According to the Federal Judicial Center, the federal courts’ educational and research center, Associate Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase was impeached in 1804 “on charges of arbitrary and oppressive conduct of trials” but was acquitted by the U.S. Senate a year later.