WASHINGTON — A year ago, the New Yorker reported on Deborah Ramirez’s claim that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — when they were students at Yale — exposed himself to her at a drunken party and thrust his penis in her face.
Over the weekend, two New York Times reporters corroborated Ramirez’s claim.
“At least seven people, including Ms. Ramirez’s mother, heard about the Yale incident long before Mr. Kavanaugh was a federal judge. Two of those people were classmates who learned of it just days after the party occurred, suggesting that it was discussed among students at the time,” the reporters write.
This is significant due to the denials that Kavanaugh made under oath about the allegation before his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as to the GOP insistence that there was no corroboration:
Sen. John Kennedy, R-La.: "Are Ms. Ramirez’s allegations about you true?"
Kavanaugh: "Those are not. She — no — no — none of the witnesses in the room support that. The — if that — that had happened, that would have been the talk of campus in our freshman dorm. The New York Times reported that as recently as last week, she was calling other classmates seeking to — well, I’m not going to characterize it — but calling classmates last week and just seemed very — I’ll just stop there. But that’s not true. That’s not true."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.: "What you’re saying, if I understand it, is that the allegations by Dr. Ford, Ms. Ramirez and Ms. Swetnick are wrong?"
Kavanaugh: "Yes, that — that is emphatically what I’m saying; emphatically. The Swetnick thing is a joke. That is a farce."
More Kavanaugh: "I’m painfully aware, for my family and me to read about this breathless reporting."
Sen John Cornyn, R-Texas: "Of course, the — the sexual assault that Dr. Ford claims that you’ve denied. Then the claims of Ms. Ramirez, that not even The New York Times would report because it couldn’t corroborate it."
The two New York Times reporters also uncovered another story similar to Ramirez’s – that Kavanaugh, at another drunken Yale party, pushed his penis into the hands of another female student, according to fellow classmate Max Stier.
The Times says it corroborated the story with others, but the female student in question says she doesn’t remember the episode.
Yet NBC’s Heidi Przbyla and Leigh Ann Caldwell confirm that the FBI was notified of Stier’s claim during the Kavanaugh confirmation process.
Some 2020 Dems call for Kavanaugh’s impeachment
On Sunday, after the reporting, Kamala Harris called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment.
“I sat through those hearings. Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people. 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,” she tweeted. “He must be impeached.”
But other 2020 Dems didn’t go that far.
“The most important thing to do first is to get the documents so that you can actually look at them to make a decision about impeachment,” Amy Klobuchar said, per NBC’s Priscilla Thompson. “You can't make that decision just on news reports, you have to actually get those documents.”
And here was Michael Bennet on MSNBC yesterday: “Well, I don't think he should have been on the court in the first place, I voted against him. But I do think we need to have due process here; we can’t give up on that. And we know that there are number of people that were not interviewed, and I think they should be interviewed. The Senate and the House should see what the results of that investigation are.”
“Locked and loaded”
Trump responds to attack on Saudi oil facilities: “Oil prices spiked shortly after trading began Monday after an attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities Saturday that knocked out more than five percent of global oil supply and halted output of more than half of Saudi Arabia's daily exports,” per NBC News.
President Trump responded to the attack in a series of tweets.
“Based on the attack on Saudi Arabia, which may have an impact on oil prices, I have authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, if needed, in a to-be-determined amount....” he said.
And: “Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”
Tweet of the day
2020 Vision: Beto versus Pete on mandatory buy-backs
On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Beto O’Rourke double-downed on his claim that there should be a mandatory buyback for weapons like AR-15s – especially with Dem and GOP senators saying O’Rourke’s position doesn’t help their current negotiations.
“I think this just shows you how screwed up the priorities in Washington, DC are. I think what's truly awful is a 17-month-old baby shot in the face with an AR-15, as happened in Odessa. What's truly awful is 22 people killed in a Walmart the Saturday before school starts that next Monday, buying their school supplies, innocent of any crime or any threat to this country,” he said.
On CNN, Pete Buttigieg said that O’Rourke’s call was playing into GOP hands.
"Right now, we have an amazing moment on our hands," Buttigieg said. "We have agreement among the American people for not just universal background checks, but we have a majority in favor of red flag laws, high- capacity magazines, banning the new sale of assault weapons. This is a golden moment to finally do something, because we have been arguing about this for as long as I have been alive. When even this president and even Mitch McConnell are at least pretending to be open to reforms, we know that we have a moment on our hands."
And then O’Rourke responded to Buttigieg on Twitter: “Leaving millions of weapons of war on the streets because Trump and McConnell are ‘at least pretending to be open to reforms’? That calculation and fear is what got us here in the first place. Let’s have the courage to say what we believe and fight for it.”
On the campaign trail today
President Trump holds a rally in New Mexico at 9:00 pm ET… Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Bill de Blasio all speak at Galivants Ferry Stump in South Carolina, with Buttigieg and Klobuchar holding events in the state… Elizabeth Warren holds a rally in New York City… Andrew Yang rallies in Cambridge, Mass…. And Michael Bennet does the 92nd Street Y in New York City.
Dispatches from NBC’s embeds
Joe Biden courted Latino voters in Miami’s historic Cuban district, per NBC’s Marianna Sotomayor, where voters told NBC they were “enthusiastic, but not necessarily committed to Biden. They are interested in him given his experience, conservative family values and electability, but many cited Mayor Pete Buttigieg as a second choice. Notably, the most enthusiastic Biden supporters were registered Republicans or independents who voted for Trump.”
Amy Klobuchar distanced herself from Beto O’Rourke’s viral debate moment when he called for a mandatory buyback of assault rifles like AR-15s. NBC’s Priscilla Thompson reports in Iowa, “Klobuchar said she doesn’t look at the issue ‘politically,’ noting, ‘none of that would even matter if we don't have an assault weapons ban.’ The senator would however support a voluntary buyback program.”
Data Download: The number of the day is … 50,000
That's roughly the number of United Auto Workers who went on strike last night after negotiations faltered between their union and General Motors.
It's the first such walkout since 2007. Negotiations are set to resume this morning.
The Lid: A very special post-debate edition
Don’t miss the pod from last Friday, when we had two guest stars join one of us to break down Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate.
ICYMI: New clips you shouldn’t miss
Here's our team's readout of Joe Biden's big speech on race.
Elizabeth Warren is out with a new plan to take on corruption in Washington.
Rep. Ilhan Omar is defending her past comments about 9/11.
Andrew Yang says his $1000/month giveaway plan is "perfectly legal."
Trump Agenda: Made in (New) Mexico
Trump wants a win in ... New Mexico?
Perdue Pharma has filed for bankruptcy.
2020: Iowa or bust
Beto O'Rourke is defending his mandatory gun buyback proposal.
Pete Buttigieg hasn't won over his fellow millennials yet.