Not only has there been a second sexual misconduct allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but news is now coming out showing that senior Republican staffers learned of the allegation as early as last week, yet rallied for his confirmation anyway.
The latest allegation comes from Deborah Ramirez, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s during his years at Yale University. Ramirez alleges that during the 1983-84 school year, at which point Kavanaugh was a freshman at the university, he exposed himself to her without consent at a dorm room party. Drawing parallels to the accusation by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the alleged incident involved the nominee getting drunk and being encouraged by other male friends.
The journalists that originally broke the news on Sunday via the New Yorker, Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer, sought out Ramirez after learning of the incident from classmates of Ramirez and Kavanaugh at the time, who had been emailing about the incident dating back to July, before Ford came forward. The news spread between the classmates, to the Senate and now major media outlets.
The timeline regarding when Senate Republicans learned of this allegation is significant. Last Friday, Senator Charles Grassley—chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee—publicly presented an ultimatum to Ford demanding a quick response to the committee’s invitation to testify regarding her claim. Grassley threatened to schedule the confirmation vote as early as Monday morning if Ford’s response was not timely enough, leaving little time for an outside investigation in the matter. It is suspected that this ultimatum came after Senate Republicans learned of the second claim, though it was before the news broke publicly.
This insistence on a quick confirmation raises questions on the motivations of Senate Republicans, specifically in the desire to rush the vote both before the news broke and before an investigation could be carried out on the second allegation. Two Senate Democrats, who also learned of the allegation last week, reportedly started investigating the news to assess the credibility of Ramirez’s claim.
“This is another serious, credible, and disturbing allegation against Brett Kavanaugh,” said Senator Mazie Hirono. “It should be fully investigated.”