kavanaugh allegations
September 16, 2019

Last October, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) sent FBI Director Christopher Wray a letter stating that he had relevant information regarding the allegations of sexual assault made against President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, but the FBI appears to have ignored him, The New York Times reports.

The Times obtained a copy of this letter, which states that Coons heard from multiple people who said they had information on Kavanaugh. He told Wray that he "cannot speak to the relevance or veracity of the information that many of these individuals seek to provide, and I have encouraged them to use the FBI tip portal or contact a regional FBI field office. However, there is one individual whom I would like to specifically refer to you for appropriate follow-up."

Coons was asking the FBI to contact one of Kavanaugh's former Yale classmates, Max Stier, Coons' spokesman Sean Coit confirmed. Over the weekend, the Times reported that during Kavanaugh's freshman year, Stier saw Kavanaugh with his pants down, and his friends pushed his penis into a female student's hand. Stier notified senators and the FBI about the incident, the Times says. The incident has similarities to an allegation made by a former classmate named Deborah Ramirez, who said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a party at Yale their freshman year.

Several Democratic presidential candidates have called for Kavanaugh's impeachment, while Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct.) on Monday said there should be a "full, fair investigation, as was never done at the time. It was a sham, as we said then, and there should be a full inquiry now." Catherine Garcia

September 15, 2019

President Trump is offering some of his favorite advice to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh: He wants him to sue.

The New York Times on Saturday reported a previously unknown sexual misconduct allegation made against Kavanaugh by a former Yale University classmate who reportedly witnessed the incident at a party during Kavanaugh's freshman year at the Ivy League school. The classmate reportedly alerted senators and the FBI about it during Kavanaugh's confirmation process last year, but the agency did not investigate the claims.

Kavanaugh, of course, faced several accusations of sexual misconduct before his confirmation, and the latest one has led to calls for a new investigation into the matter. But Trump apparently won't stand for that, instead chalking the news up to a conspiracy theory being pushed by the Democrats and the media in the hopes of impeaching the Trump-appointed justice.

Trump is therefore suggesting Kavanaugh defend his reputation by suing for libel. If he doesn't, the president vaguely called for the Justice Department to "come to his rescue." Tim O'Donnell

September 15, 2019

Max Stier, a former Yale University classmate of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, reportedly notified senators and the FBI during the justice's confirmation process last year about a previously unreported sexual misconduct allegation involving Kavanaugh when he was a student at Yale.

Stier reportedly said he saw Kavanaugh — a freshman at the time — at a drunken dorm party with his pants down when his friends then pushed his penis into a female student's hands. The story is similar to an allegation against Kavanaugh made by another Yale student, Deborah Ramirez, but it is unclear if they are the same incident. It is also unclear if Stier knew the female student, or if she has verified the incident as described.

The FBI reportedly did not investigate the allegation and Stier has declined to speak about it publicly, but The New York Times reports it corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Stier.

Kavanaugh faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct during his confirmation process, though only one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, was permitted to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee last year. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations. Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

October 5, 2018

In what could be the first leak from the tightly guarded FBI report on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, The Wall Street Journal reported early Friday that one of the FBI witnesses said she felt pressured by allies of accuser Christine Blasey Ford to revisit her initial statement on Ford's account of attempted rape at a party in high school. "People familiar with the matter" told the Journal that Leland Keyser, a friend of Ford's, informed FBI investigators that a mutual friend, Monica McLean, had urged her to clarify her statement.

On Sept. 23, Keyser's lawyers sent the Judiciary Committee a statement saying she didn't remember attending any party with Kavanaugh, though Keyser also told The Washington Post the same day that she believed Ford. On Sept. 29, two days after Kavanaugh told the committee that Keyser's statement "refuted" Ford's allegation, Keyser's lawyer sent the committee a statement saying that while she does not recall the alleged incident, "Ms. Keyser does not refute Dr. Ford's account, and she has already told the press that she believes Dr. Ford's account."

This report suggests that friends of Ford, like Kavanaugh and his allies, were quietly lobbying old classmates to bolster their version of events. In supplemental materials delivered Thursday, the FBI gave senators text messages from McLean to Keyser, the Journal reports. McLean's lawyer said, "Any notion or claim that Ms. McLean pressured Leland Keyser to alter Ms. Keyser's account of what she recalled concerning the alleged incident between Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh is absolutely false."

A person close to Keyser and Ford told the Journal that she understood mutual friends had contacted Keyser to warn her that her statement was being used by Republicans against Ford, and that if that wasn't her intention, she should clarify the statement, but the friends hadn't "pressured" Keyser. There's no indication Ford or her lawyers were involved, the Journal says. Peter Weber

October 4, 2018

The White House has examined interviews conducted by the FBI into allegations that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted two women in the early 1980s and "has found no corroboration of the allegations," The Wall Street Journal reported late Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter. "It was unclear whether the White House, which for weeks has raised doubts about the allegations, had completed its review of the FBI interview reports," the Journal says, and the "senators who will decide Mr. Kavanaugh's fate are set to review the findings on Thursday, and some of them may draw different conclusions."

Republicans, who agreed to the investigation only after a few conflicted Republicans demanded it, say that if the FBI's supplemental background investigation doesn't include any bombshell revelations, Kavanaugh should be confirmed. Democrats and potential witnesses are complaining the the investigation was too constrained to be credible.

"President Trump has insisted publicly he was not curtailing the FBI probe," The Washington Post reports. "But privately, the White House restricted the FBI from delving deeply into Kavanaugh's youthful drinking and exploring whether he had lied to Congress about his alcohol use, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity."

The Post could only confirm six witnesses interviewed by the FBI, including one of his accusers, Deborah Ramirez, but not the other, Christine Blasey Ford. "We are profoundly disappointed that after the tremendous sacrifice she made in coming forward, those directing the FBI investigation were not interested in seeking the truth," Ford's lawyers said Wednesday night. Kavanaugh himself was reportedly not interviewed either.

Only one copy of the FBI's report will be available for viewing, and senators will view it in shifts in a secure location on Thursday. Senate GOP leaders say it will not be made public. Peter Weber

October 4, 2018

The FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is over, and several potential witnesses who approached the FBI and said they had information to share say they're frustrated they were unable to get through to anyone.

Several of those people told The New Yorker they sent statements to the FBI and senators hoping they would listen to them before the investigation finished. Deborah Ramirez, who says Kavanaugh exposed himself when they were at a party at Yale, told The New Yorker she feels like she's being "silenced" because she gave the FBI a list of people "who were key to corroborating my story," but they were not contacted.

One of Kavanaugh's suitemates, Kenneth Appold, said he heard about the alleged incident around the time it took place, and is "100 percent certain" he was told Kavanaugh was involved. "I can corroborate Debbie's account," he said. "I believe her, because it matches the same story I heard 35 years ago, although the two of us have never talked." He contacted the FBI but never heard back, so he submitted a statement through the bureau's website.

A former Georgetown Prep classmate says he often heard Kavanaugh talking about Renate Schroeder Dolphin — Kavanaugh told senators that the "Renate Alumni" references he and his friends included in the yearbook was a platonic term of "endearment" — and the clear inference was that "Renate was the girl that everyone passed around for sex." He also said he heard Kavanaugh sing a crude rhyme about her, which he found "sickening." This man submitted a sworn declaration to the FBI, as did Angela Walker, a classmate of Dolphin's. She told The New Yorker she had a friend who attended Georgetown Prep, and he warned her during a house party "not to go upstairs, where the bedrooms were, cautioning me that it could be dangerous." Read more from these potential witnesses at The New Yorker. Catherine Garcia

October 3, 2018

The FBI indicated Tuesday that it will wrap up its supplemental background investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as early as Wednesday, leading Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to vow, "We'll have an FBI report this week, and we'll have a vote this week." The FBI has finished interviewing several key witnesses named by two women accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault in the early 1980s, but other potential witnesses have lamented that the FBI has not contacted them despite their requests to submit evidence.

There is also disagreement over which parts of the FBI report will be made public, if any. McConnell says the FBI's findings will be available only to senators while colleagues in both parties insist it's politically imperative to make at least part of the report public. Under a 2009 agreement between the White House and Senate Judiciary Committee, only senators and 10 congressional aides with "top secret" clearances are able to review FBI background information for Supreme Court nominees, The New York Times reports, but the White House or Senate could decide to make an exception.

As for McConnell's promise to hold a final vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation this week, it "was as much about bluffing as it was about confidence, giving the nomination an air of inevitability even as five undecided senators will determine Judge Kavanaugh's fate," the Times reports. "Those five — the Republicans Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Jeff Flake of Arizona, and the Democrats Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia — are refusing to tip their hands." Asked about McConnell's timeline, Murkowski told The Associated Press on Tuesday that McConnell "talked about a vote last week, too." Collins, who was riding with Murkowski in the Senate's underground train, smiled and said, "Good answer." Peter Weber

October 3, 2018

The FBI interviewed more of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's friends from high school on Tuesday as part of its investigation into allegations of sexual assault made against the judge, people with knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post.

One of the people interviewed was Tim Gaudette, who attended Georgetown Prep with Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh brought his old calendars to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, and noted that on July 1, 1982, he went to a party at Gaudette's house, which was of interest to members of the panel. The FBI also finished an interview with Mark Judge, another Georgetown Prep friend, who Christine Blasey Ford said was in the room when Kavanaugh allegedly sexually assaulted her when they were both teenagers.

The FBI was given one week to investigate allegations made by Ford and Deborah Ramirez, who says Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a party when they were at Yale. The investigation is being led by the Security Division of the FBI, which is part of the Human Resources branch, and on Sunday, Ramirez was interviewed by two agents. Her attorney, John Clune, tweeted that it was a "detailed and productive interview," and Ramirez gave the agents the names and contact information of more than 20 witnesses.

Clune said as of Tuesday, he does not believe any of those people have been called. "Though we appreciated the agents who responded on Sunday, we have great concern that the FBI is not conducting — or not being permitted to conduct — a serious investigation," he said. Ford's attorneys also expressed bewilderment at the fact that FBI agents haven't contacted their client. The FBI has until Friday to finish the inquiry. Catherine Garcia

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