Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings took an unexpected turn when he was accused of attempted rape.
Professor Christine Blasey Ford wrote a confidential letter to her congresswoman this summer accusing Kavanaugh of pinning her down and attempting to rape her as his friend stood watch when they were teenagers. She later identified herself in an interview with The Washington Post after her identity was leaked to the press.
The situation became more complicated Monday, because another woman, Deborah Ramirez, has come forward with another set of allegations.
Here’s what you need to know about this increasingly messy situation.
1. What happened?
The second incident allegedly happened when Ramirez and Kavanaugh were freshmen at Yale University during the 1983-1984 school year. Ramirez told The New Yorker she was at a dorm party and participated in a drinking game.
“We were sitting in a circle,” she said. “People would pick who drank.” After she was chosen several times, Ramirez became intoxicated and was on the floor. She remembers male students standing over her and suddenly, there was a penis in her face. Ramirez unwillingly touched it to move it away.
“Brett was laughing. I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants,” she recalled. “Somebody yelled down the hall, ‘Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face.’ It was his full name. I don’t think it was just ‘Brett.’ And I remember hearing and being mortified that this was out there.”
2. Kavanaugh denies everything.
Kavanaugh released a statement denying the incident ever happened, and accused Ramirez of lying to sabotage his campaign.
“This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen,” he said. “The people who knew me then know that this did not happen and have said so. This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth and defending my good name — and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building — against these last-minute allegations.”
In a letter to the Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh refused to withdraw from Supreme Court consideration.
“As I told the Committee during my hearing, a federal judge must be independent, not swayed by public or political pressure,” he wrote. “That is the kind of judge I will always be. I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out.”
3. The White House is standing by him, and refuses to rescind the nomination.
White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec released a statement affirming the Trump administration’s support for the embattled judge.
“This 35-year-old, uncorroborated claim is the latest in a coordinated smear campaign by the Democrats designed to tear down a good man,” Kupec wrote. “This claim is denied by all who were said to be present and is wholly inconsistent with what many women and men who knew Judge Kavanaugh at the time in college say. The White House stands firmly behind Judge Kavanaugh.”
The New Yorker rebutted this statement, pointing out that some people present at the party did not deny, but in fact corroborated Ramirez's claims.
President Trump, who faces nearly 20 accusations of sexual misconduct himself, dismissed the allegations as “totally political,” according to CNBC.
"There is a chance this could be one of the single most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything," Trump said. "But I am with Judge Kavanaugh, and I look forward to a vote."
HUD Secretary Ben Carson believes the allegations are a conspiracy by liberals to take over America, and compared those calling for Kavanaugh to step aside to “wet hornets.”
“If you really understand the big picture of what’s going on, then what’s going on with Judge Kavanaugh will make perfectly good sense to you,” he said. “There have been people in this country for a very long time, going all the way back to the Fabians, who have wanted to fundamentally change this country.”
White House advisor Kellyanne Conway told CBS the accusations are "starting to feel like a vast left-wing conspiracy."
4. Democrats want to postpone Thursday’s Senate hearing.
The Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a hearing with Ford for Thursday. She, along with Kavanaugh, have agreed to testify, but Democrats want to halt the hearing until a full investigation of Ramirez’s claims takes place. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) wrote a letter to committee chairman Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) requesting a delay and tweeted her stance.
Thursday's hearing should be canceled in light of a disturbing new allegation of sexual misconduct against Brett Kavanaugh. The FBI must investigate ALL allegations.
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) September 24, 2018
“Thursday's hearing should be canceled in light of a disturbing new allegation of sexual misconduct against Brett Kavanaugh. The FBI must investigate ALL allegations,” she wrote.
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) also tweeted a call for an investigation:
The FBI must investigate these claims and Dr. Blasey Ford’s. It is also more clear than ever that Mark Judge must be compelled to testify in front of the Judiciary Committee. https://t.co/wzaZWH1ygc
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 24, 2018
“The FBI must investigate these claims and Dr. Blasey Ford’s. It is also more clear than ever that Mark Judge must be compelled to testify in front of the Judiciary Committee,” she wrote.
5. There might be a third accuser.
On Sunday night, Michael Avenatti, attorney for one of the women accusing Trump of misconduct, Stormy Daniels, tweeted he has agreed to represent a woman who has some more tea about Kavanaugh.
I represent a woman with credible information regarding Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge. We will be demanding the opportunity to present testimony to the committee and will likewise be demanding that Judge and others be subpoenaed to testify. The nomination must be withdrawn.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 23, 2018
“I represent a woman with credible information regarding Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge,” he said. “We will be demanding the opportunity to present testimony to the committee and will likewise be demanding that Judge and others be subpoenaed to testify. The nomination must be withdrawn.”
Thirty minutes later, he confirmed Ramirez is not his client.
My client is not Deborah Ramirez.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 23, 2018
Avenatti later tweeted he received an email from Mike Davis, chief counsel for nominations for the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“We are aware of significant evidence of multiple house parties in the Washington, D.C., area during the early 1980s during which Brett Kavanaugh, Mark Judge and others would participate in the targeting of women with alcohol/drugs in order to allow a 'train' of men to subsequently gang rape them,” the email read.
My e-mail of moments ago with Mike Davis, Chief Counsel for Nominations for U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. We demand that this process be thorough, open and fair, which is what the American public deserves. It must not be rushed and evidence/witnesses must not be hidden. pic.twitter.com/11XLZJBTtY
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 24, 2018
This plot continues to thicken.
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