In case you haven’t been following closely, here’s what we’ve learned from the new book about Brett Kavanaugh and the sexual assault charges against him:
- Back during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, Chistine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of pinning her on a bed and covering her mouth—before eventually letting her go—at a small house party when he was 17. In the book, we learn that Leland Keyser, a friend of Ford’s who was at the party, now says that she doesn’t remember the event and that “it just didn’t make sense.” And: “It would be impossible for me to be the only girl at a get-together with three guys, have her leave, and then not figure out how she’s getting home. I just really didn’t have confidence in the story.” Keyser says that her original equivocal testimony had been delivered under duress.
- Deborah Ramirez repeated her story of a freshman-year drunken dorm party at Yale during which both she and Kavanaugh were seriously blitzed. Ramiriez says that Kavanaugh pulled down his pants and she swatted his penis away, thinking it was a fake penis the boys had been passing around earlier. Then she learned it had been real, and it’s caused her nightmares ever since. The book lists seven sources who heard about the event, but none of them are actual eyewitnesses.
- In a new story, Max Stier says he saw Kavanaugh “with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student.” However, the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say she does not recall the episode.
- The FBI did a pretty cursory investigation of all this. This, of course, is something we’ve known and complained loudly about from the very start.
It’s not possible to look at all this and conclude that the Kavanaugh sexual assault story has gotten stronger. The main accusation took a hit. The secondary accusation turns out to be fairly slight and there are no actual eyewitnesses to it even after the kind of deep investigation everyone wanted originally. The third accusation may or may not have happened at all. The female student at the center of it has told friends she has no recollection of it.
Fair or not, it is difficult to think that this makes it more likely that Kavanaugh can be impeached. For the most part, this new book is a gift to Trump, not to progressives.
POSTSCRIPT: Just for the record, I maintain my original position that all of these stories are most likely true. Kavanaugh could have simply acknowledged them, apologized, and said he led a wild life for a few years as a teenager. That probably would have made it a two-day story. But he panicked the first time he was asked and instinctively denied everything. From then on, there was no choice but to keep on denying.