Update: The Hill’s chief Washington correspondent, Saagar Enjeti, asked authors Kate Kelly and Robin Pogrebin about the claim that Kavanaugh asked them to lie, and their story changed.
They told Enjeti that they were working for a representative for Kavanaugh on obtaining an off-the-record interview. The representative told them that if the meeting were to occur, they would need to write “Kavanaugh declined to comment” in their book.
It is possible that the representative was following strict protocol for interviewing a Supreme Court Justice and that no deception was intended.
Original Story: Despite several glaring errors and omissions — not to mention the blaming of everyone but themselves for these errors — the authors of an anti-Brett Kavanaugh book continue to be taken seriously by mainstream media outlets.
Kate Kelly and Robin Pogrebin claimed during an appearance at the National Press Club Wednesday evening that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh agreed to speak with them for their book on the condition that they write that they didn’t speak with him.
It’s an odd request, to be sure. It is possible that Kavanaugh agreed to speak to the authors “off-the-record” rather than with the condition that Kelly and Pogrebin claimed. Kavanaugh’s office did not immediately respond to a Fox News inquiry.
The pair of New York Times authors also acknowledged that their attempt to interview Kavanaugh didn’t come until the final stages of their book.
The Huffington Post bought the pairs’ claims, writing an article titled, “NY Times Reporters Say Kavanaugh Asked Them To Lie In Exchange For An Interview.” Reporters from The Atlantic and The Washingtonian also credulously shared the claims on Twitter.
As with all the allegations against Kavanaugh, there is no evidence to support this version of events outside of the claim itself. And with these authors, the claim should make people skeptical.
The authors wrote an op-ed for the Times outlining a new allegation against Kavanaugh based solely on a claim from Max Stier, who worked as a defense attorney for former President Bill Clinton, who defended the president during impeachment proceedings. Kavanaugh at that time worked with Ken Starr on the investigation into the president. The “corroboration” for Stier’s claim was that other authors said he told them about the incident, but it was not clear whether Kavanaugh’s name had been brought up.
The Times neglected to initially include the damning detail that the alleged victim in the new allegation refused to comment and her friend denied that she knew anything about the allegation. The Times was forced to issue an embarrassing correction.
The authors tried to blame the Times for the error, claiming it was included in their draft of the article. It was also reported that the Times’ news department, as well as that of The Washington Post, turned down the story because it lacked evidence.
One error might be forgiven, but the authors erred again in an article for The Atlantic. The pair of authors claimed potential witnesses to Deborah Ramirez’s allegations against Kavanaugh — that he thrust his penis in her face —remained “mum.” (It should be noted that Ramirez was not sure it was Kavanaugh who did this to her until after she spoke with Democrat lawyers.)
In reality, some potential witnesses named by Kelly and Pogrebin did speak out about the allegations. The New Yorker “broke” the story of Ramirez’s claims last year, and included a lengthy section about classmates alleged to have witnessed the event denying Kavanaugh engaged in the behavior:
One of the male classmates who Ramirez said egged on Kavanaugh denied any memory of the party. “I don’t think Brett would flash himself to Debbie, or anyone, for that matter,’” he said. Asked why he thought Ramirez was making the allegation, he responded, “I have no idea.” The other male classmate who Ramirez said was involved in the incident commented, “I have zero recollection.”
In a statement, two of those male classmates who Ramirez alleged were involved in the incident, the wife of a third male student she said was involved, and one other classmate, Dan Murphy, disputed Ramirez’s account of events: “We were the people closest to Brett Kavanaugh during his first year at Yale. He was a roommate to some of us, and we spent a great deal of time with him, including in the dorm where this incident allegedly took place. Some of us were also friends with Debbie Ramirez during and after her time at Yale. We can say with confidence that if the incident Debbie alleges ever occurred, we would have seen or heard about it—and we did not. The behavior she describes would be completely out of character for Brett. In addition, some of us knew Debbie long after Yale, and she never described this incident until Brett’s Supreme Court nomination was pending. Editors from the New Yorker contacted some of us because we are the people who would know the truth, and we told them that we never saw or heard about this.”