Kavanaugh Accuser Goes Public In Interview [VIDEO]
Kavanaugh Accuser Goes Public In Interview [VIDEO]
Brett Kavanaugh has sat through a ton of awful innuendo this week when Senator Dianne Feinstein threw up her “secret” letter and gave it to the FBI. The FBI, noting that they did not have the jurisdiction to handle it, gave the letter to the White House to place in Kavanaugh’s file. However, the name of the person involved has now come forward in an interview to the Washington Post.
Here we go. Anita Hill redux. https://t.co/y4KH0ARrRP
— Brit Hume (@brithume) September 16, 2018
Christine Blasey Ford, now a professor in California, alleges that Brett Kavanaugh and a friend, while they were all high school students, attacked her while drunk at a party in the 1980’s.
Speaking publicly for the first time, Ford said that one summer in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh and a friend — both “stumbling drunk,” Ford alleges — corralled her into a bedroom during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County.
While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”
Ford said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh’s friend and classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them, sending all three tumbling. She said she ran from the room, briefly locked herself in a bathroom and then fled the house.
Ford said she told no one of the incident in any detail until 2012, when she was in couples therapy with her husband. The therapist’s notes, portions of which were provided by Ford and reviewed by The Washington Post, do not mention Kavanaugh’s name but say she reported that she was attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” The notes say four boys were involved, a discrepancy Ford says was an error on the therapist’s part. Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.
Notes from an individual therapy session the following year, when she was being treated for what she says have been long-term effects of the incident, show Ford described a “rape attempt” in her late teens.
In an interview, her husband, Russell Ford, said that in the 2012 sessions, she recounted being trapped in a room with two drunken boys, one of whom pinned her to a bed, molested her and prevented her from screaming. He said he recalled that his wife used Kavanaugh’s last name and voiced concern that Kavanaugh — then a federal judge — might one day be nominated to the Supreme Court.
On Sunday, the White House sent The Post a statement Kavanaugh issued last week, when the outlines of Ford’s account first became public: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”
The Post interview now gives a timeline for how this information ended up in Feinstein’s hands.
She contacted The Post through a tip line in early July, when it had become clear that Kavanaugh was on the shortlist of possible nominees to replace retiring justice Anthony M. Kennedy but before Trump announced his name publicly. A registered Democrat who has made small contributions to political organizations, she contacted her congresswoman, Democrat Anna G. Eshoo, around the same time. In late July, she sent a letter via Eshoo’s office to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
In the letter, which was read to The Post, Ford described the incident and said she expected her story to be kept confidential. She signed the letter as Christine Blasey, the name she uses professionally.
For weeks, Ford declined to speak to The Post on the record as she grappled with concerns about what going public would mean for her and her family — and what she said was her duty as a citizen to tell the story.
She engaged Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer known for her work on sexual harassment cases. On the advice of Katz, who believed Ford would be attacked as a liar if she came forward, Ford took a polygraph test administered by a former FBI agent in early August. The results, which Katz provided to The Post, concluded that Ford was being truthful when she said a statement summarizing her allegations was accurate.
By late August, Ford had decided not to come forward, calculating that doing so would upend her life and probably would not affect Kavanaugh’s confirmation. “Why suffer through the annihilation if it’s not going to matter?” she said.
Her story leaked anyway. On Wednesday, The Intercept reported that Feinstein had a letter describing an incident involving Kavanaugh and a woman while they were in high school, and that Feinstein was refusing to share it with her Democratic colleagues.
And then the press started coming after her, including a BuzzFeed reporter who showed up at her home.
As pressure grew, the New York Times reported that the incident involved “possible sexual misconduct.”
By then, Ford had begun to fear she would be exposed, particularly after a BuzzFeed reporter visited her at her home and tried to speak to her as she was leaving a classroom where she teaches graduate students. Another reporter called her colleagues to ask about her.
However, Ford admits that she simply can’t remember all the details of what happened after 35+ years.
After so many years, Ford said she does not remember some key details of the incident. She said she believes it occurred in the summer of 1982, when she was 15, around the end of her sophomore year at the all-girls Holton-Arms School in Bethesda. Kavanaugh would have been 17 at the end of his junior year at Georgetown Prep.
At the time, Ford said, she knew Kavanaugh and Judge as “friendly acquaintances” in the private-school social circles of suburban Maryland. Her Holton-Arms friends mostly hung out with boys from the Landon School, she said, but for a period of several months socialized regularly with students from Georgetown Prep.
Ford said she does not remember how the gathering came together the night of the incident. She said she often spent time in the summer at the Columbia Country Club pool in Chevy Chase, where in those pre-cellphone days, teenagers learned about gatherings via word of mouth. She also doesn’t recall who owned the house or how she got there.
Ford said she remembers that it was in Montgomery County, not far from the country club, and that no parents were home at the time. Ford named two other teenagers who she said were at the party. Those individuals did not respond to messages on Sunday morning.
She said she recalls a small family room where she and a handful of others drank beer together that night. She said that each person had one beer but that Kavanaugh and Judge had started drinking earlier and were heavily intoxicated.
So, what happens now?
Well, here’s what I think (in no particular order)…
1) It’s pretty amazing that in all the years that Kavanaugh has undergone federal background checks, that this story has never come up – not necessarily from Ford herself, but from anyone else who may have been present at that party. Ford named names to the Washington Post, but those people did not respond in time for them to print the story. Federal background checkers talk to a LOT of people. This never came up at all?
2) The two other people that Ford names as being at the party are now going to be relentlessly hounded until they make statements. Mark Judge has already denied that this ever took place.
3) The FBI is correct that they were not the appropriate jurisdiction to handle any kind of investigation. If Ford wishes to pursue this, she would have to do so in the Montgomery County, Maryland, judicial system. It doesn’t sound like she has any interest in doing so. Maybe everyone at that party should be ticketed for being minors in possession of alcohol as well, over 35 years later.
4) Dianne Feinstein is the person who holds the blame for Ford now having to come forward. By Ford’s account, and her lawyer’s, they never intended to have Ford’s name out in public. But they screwed up, and treated Dianne Feinstein like a therapist instead of a politician. Feinstein promised Ford nothing, and though she redacted Ford’s name out of the letter (thus rendering it useless to the FBI or any investigative authority), Feinstein had to have known that the press, still longing after Merrick Garland and hating Trump, would seize on this like a dog with a steak bone, and start pumping every Capitol Hill source they could get until someone in Feinstein’s or Congresswoman Eshoo’s office was willing to spill the beans as an “anonymous source.”
5) Dianne Feinstein had this letter since July, and chose to release it after the confirmation hearing. Whether the story can be substantiated or not, this is the ugliest and dirtiest political trick ever. If Feinstein had taken this letter seriously (as the #MeToo movement demands), then she should have introduced this on Day One of the confirmation hearings. But she decided to use it in the manner of a cartoon character attempting to drop an anvil on someone’s head at the last minute. The person most badly damaged by this entire story is Feinstein.
6) But what should those who do take sexual assault seriously, and yet have supported Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, do now? Rather than excuse this as drunken teenagers (as some will), or give it a pass because it happened over 35 years ago (as some will), or point to the bad behavior, or worse, of others (as some will), let’s be serious about this. Was this story ever repeated in the course of Brett Kavanaugh’s life up to this point? If we are to believe every background check, and every character testimonial, then the answer is apparently “no.” Does that make what allegedly happened any better for Christine Blasey Ford? Of course not. Does it make it a troubling pattern of behavior that would undoubtedly be a huge problem in moving forward? No.
The truth is that this is a “he said, she said” from over 35 years ago. In today’s world, if Brett Kavanaugh had been charged with any crimes, they would have all been sealed under a juvenile record because he was a minor at the time. But this is today’s world, when anything and everything from your past is fair game to be held against you. If, as alleged, Brett Kavanaugh had continued to drink and assault women into his adulthood, this story would mean a lot more, showing that this behavior had started a lot earlier in life and ran unchecked. But taken in the totality of Kavanaugh’s entire life, this single story, while being taken seriously, should not have enough weight to derail one man’s entire career. I have no idea what will actually happen now. Kavanaugh can still be confirmed to the Supreme Court on the straight-up party line vote.
NEW: Statement from Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans pic.twitter.com/pwWsGdDsBu
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) September 16, 2018
The question is: does he still want to be?
Everything is terrible. If she’s lying it’s terrible. If he did it it’s terrible. Everything. Is. Terrible.
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) September 16, 2018
And we wonder why no “good people” want to be in public life any more.
Featured image: Brett Kavanaugh on July 19, 2018 (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)