Over the weekend, the New York Times relitigated the Kavanaugh sexual misconduct allegations by publishing a book excerpt from “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation.” A portion of the book excerpt, which focuses on the experience of Kavanaugh’s Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez, can be read below:
At Yale, she encountered students from more worldly backgrounds. Many were affluent and had attended elite private high schools. They also had experience with drinking and sexual behavior that Ms. Ramirez — who had not intended to be intimate with a man until her wedding night — lacked.
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. …
We also uncovered a previously unreported story about Mr. Kavanaugh in his freshman year that echoes Ms. Ramirez’s allegation. A classmate, Max Stier, 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.
But shortly after the NYT published the excerpt as an article, Mollie Hemingway, a writer at the Federalist, announced she had received a copy of the upcoming book and discovered that the New York Times excerpt omitted the fact that the alleged second victim, Tracy Harmon Joyce, didn’t actually recall the incident happening. The Times later issued a correction at the bottom of the article, clarifying that she “declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident.”
According to Hemingway, the basis for the recently published allegations came from attorney Max Stier, another one of Kavanaugh’s Yale classmates. As Hemingway writes:
Stier worked closely with David Kendall, who went on to defend Hillary Clinton against allegations of illegally handling classified information. Kavanaugh’s reference to his opponents being motivated by “revenge on behalf of the Clintons” met with befuddlement by liberal media, despite the surprisingly large number of Clinton-affiliated attorneys who kept popping up during his confirmation hearings.
In any case, Stier’s claim, which even two Democratic senators’ offices didn’t find particularly worthwhile, was that he had seen an inebriated Kavanaugh, pants-down, at a freshman-year party. Stier’s claim to the staffers, we’re told, was that other people at the party put Kavanaugh’s genitalia into the hands of a classmate. Another unnamed person alleged said that he or she might have remembered hearing that the female student had transferred out of her college because of Kavanaugh, “though exactly why was unclear.”
Even as the fresh accusations have been discredited, Democratic presidential candidates have begun calling for Kavanaugh’s impeachment, including Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
“Last year the Kavanaugh nomination was rammed through the Senate without a thorough examination of the allegations against him,” wrote Warren on Twitter. “Confirmation is not exoneration, and these newest revelations are disturbing. Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.”
But Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was having none of it. Monday afternoon, Graham announced on Twitter “Kavanaugh will not be impeached over these scurrilous accusations.”
Graham continued, opining that the only new information we’ve learned in the last few days is that, at the NYT, “Republicans are presumed to be ‘guilty'” and that the news agency “writes first” and “verifies later.” Graham also scolded the Democratic presidential candidates for being “willing to ruin Justice Kavanaugh’s life for political gain,” and called the latest attacks “beyond the pale.”
During the embattled confirmation last year, Graham famously questioned the integrity of the confirmation process and the willingness of the Democratic senators to ruin Kavanaugh’s life.
“What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020,” Graham shouted to Democratic senators in the chamber, reported CNN. “To my Republican colleagues, if you vote ‘no’, you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing that I have seen in my time in politics.”
As CNN Editor-at-Large Chris Cizzilla noted:
The reaction to Graham speaks to the bitter divisions within the country. For Republicans, his words were the highlight of the hearing. For Democrats, the low light.
What is beyond debate is that prior to Graham’s speech, Kavanaugh’s chances were fading. After it, they look to be at least 50-50, particularly with Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, announcing that he is voting for Kavanaugh’s nomination in the Judiciary Committee later Friday afternoon.
All of which means that if Kavanaugh winds up on the Supreme Court, he’s got Lindsey Graham to thank for it — maybe more than anyone else.
Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly stated Ramirez did not recall the alleged incident instead of Harmon Joyce. It has been revised to correct the mistake and include more context from the Times report.