Democrats called Sunday for a new investigation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in response to a New York Times piece that said Kavanaugh was seen sexually harassing a female student while at Yale.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former congressman Beto O’Rourke, and former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, Democratic presidential candidates, pushed for Kavanaugh’s impeachment.
During his confirmation hearings last fall, Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct while they were high school students in the 1980s.
Kavanaugh vehemently denied the claim during what became a bitter confirmation process, which catapulted the debate over the sexual assault allegations into daily conversation amid the MeToo movement. It also prompted a backlash among those who felt the Supreme Court nominee was being unfairly judged for something that may or may not have happened over three decades ago.
“He 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,” Harris said in a tweet. “He must be impeached.”
In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also defended the justice. “The far left’s willingness to seize on completely uncorroborated and unsubstantiated allegations during last year’s confirmation process was a dark and embarrassing chapter for the Senate,” he said. “Fortunately a majority of senators and the American people rallied behind timeless principles such as due process and the presumption of innocence.”
Kavanaugh was confirmed in a 50-to-48 Senate vote with all but one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin, voting against him.
The Times piece was adapted from the upcoming book “The Education of Brett M. Kavanaugh: An Investigation.” In it, the reporters said they had corroborated a prior claim of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh, and that they found the FBI interviewed none of the potential witnesses.
Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s, had alleged during his confirmation process that he had exposed himself to her in college. Her account had received less attention than Ford’s at the time of his confirmation. 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,” Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly wrote in the Times essay.
The reporters said that at least seven people they interviewed had heard about the incident, including the alleged victim’s mother.
Former Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that she is not sure how Democrats should proceed on the new revelations about the FBI background checks.
“That was such a mess. And what it did for those of us who were running, it crystallized how bad Washington is. So if you were of Washington at that moment, frankly, the party didn’t matter as much as the fact that you were part of that mess.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. — a presidential candidate who sits on the Judiciary Committee — told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that she still opposes Kavanaugh’s confirmation and that “there was a lack of a thorough FBI investigation” into the allegations against him.
“My concern here is that the process was a sham. I don’t think you can look at impeachment hearings without getting the documents. The House would have to get the documents. And the attorney general is shielding documents,” she said.
UPDATE: The New York Times article also cited a separate allegation, where a Yale classmate told the FBI and senators that at a different drunken dorm party Kavanaugh had his pants down the his friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student, who is not named in the story. But the FBI did not investigate, according to the report.
The New York Times later added an editor's note about that allegation regarding the unnamed female student (which is separate from the Ramirez allegation). The note said that an earlier version of the article "did not include one element of the book's account regarding an assertion by a Yale classmate that friends of Brett Kavanaugh pushed his penis into the hand of a female student at a drunken dorm party. The book reports that the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident. That information has been added to the article."