NBC News' Managing Editor, Dafna Linzer, took to Twitter to explain the issue based off of the text messages that her political team has received copies of:
Update: When asked, Kavanaugh told committee staff Sept. 25th he was “probably” at a wedding with Ramirez. “I am sure I saw her because it wasn’t a huge wedding,” but “doesn’t have a specific recollection.” Texts show his team had the photo, from a friend, at least since Sept. 22 https://t.co/yQVYmHlmbp— Dafna Linzer (@DafnaLinzer) October 2, 2018
And one more: Kavanaugh claimed Ramirez had been calling friends to see if they remembered the allegation and that it sounded "like an orchestrated hit to take me out." Texts show he and his team were communicating with friends and former classmates to refute her. https://t.co/rWtMSfvO2t— Dafna Linzer (@DafnaLinzer) October 2, 2018
Two mutual friends of Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Deborah Ramirez from Yale, Kerry Berchem and Karen Yarasavage, have damning text messages, NBC News reported. According to Berchem, Kavanaugh and his team were texting her asking her to refute Ramirez's sexual assault allegations before her allegations were published in The New Yorker piece.
From NBC News:
The texts between Berchem and Karen Yarasavage, both friends of Kavanaugh, suggest that the nominee was personally talking with former classmates about Ramirez’s story in advance of the New Yorker article that made her allegation public. In one message, Yarasavage said Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense. Two other messages show communication between Kavanaugh's team and former classmates in advance of the story.
The texts also demonstrate that Kavanaugh and Ramirez were more socially connected than previously understood and that Ramirez was uncomfortable around Kavanaugh when they saw each other at a wedding 10 years after they graduated. Berchem's efforts also show that some potential witnesses have been unable to get important information to the FBI.
Berchem contacted the FBI on Sunday night to hand the text messages over as part of their investigation into Ramirez's allegations. When she failed to receive a response from the bureau, she typed up a memo and included texts that she thought were most relevant.
“I’m sure he’s really busy and expect that he’ll get back to me,” Bercham said.
Bercham, a Connecticut resident, on Thursday reached out to Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“We heard from Kerry late on Thursday and submitted her summary to the Judiciary Committee early Friday,” a spokeswoman for Blumenthal said in a statement to NBC News. “After we were made to jump through several hoops that delayed our moving forward, it became clear that the majority Committee staff had not turned this summary over to the FBI and, in fact, had no intention of turning it over to the FBI. With our assistance, Kerry submitted her summary to the FBI herself.”
George Hartmann, a spokesman for Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), said the text messages appear not to be relevant.
"This appears to be another last-ditch effort to derail the nomination with baseless innuendo by Democrats who have already decided to vote no," Hartmann said.
According to Bercham, Ramirez appeared uncomfortable at Yarasavage's wedding and did her best to stay away from Kavanaugh. She said Ramirez "clung" to her the entire night and never went up to Kavanaugh or her other friends. Bercham even referenced the following photo from the wedding:
Deborah Ramirez (left), Brett Kavanaugh (second from right) at a friend's wedding in 1997. pic.twitter.com/bOGk9t2ma2— Beth Baumann (@eb454) October 2, 2018
NBC News also suggested that Kavanuagh be questioned about how far back he knew about Ramirez's allegations:
Further, the texts show Kavanaugh may need to be questioned about how far back he anticipated that Ramirez would air allegations against him. Berchem says in her memo that Kavanaugh “and/or” his friends “may have initiated an anticipatory narrative” as early as July to “conceal or discredit” Ramirez.
Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee under oath that the first time he heard of Ramirez’s allegation was in the Sept. 23 article in The New Yorker.
Kavanaugh was asked by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, when he first heard of Ramirez’s allegations. Kavanaugh answered: “In the New Yorker story.”
Yarasavage claims to not know if anything happened between Kavanaugh and Ramirez.
“I didn’t say I would have known. … I said she never told me, I never heard a word of this ever happening and never saw it. The media surmised (that I was saying she is lying),” Yarasavage said.
It's also important to note that in Kavanaugh's testimony, he mentioned that Ramirez as calling acquaintances. From his testimony:
The New York Times says as recently as last week, she 24 was calling around to other classmates saying she wasn't 25 sure I had done this. And you know, I think -- I think 19 1 we're -- this is an outrage for this kind of thin, 2 uncorroborated, 35-year-old accusation to be leveled in 3 this fashion at this time. I've been in the public eye for 4 24 years, since I started with the independent counsel in 5 the fall of 1994, very public at various points in my life.
They couldn't -- the New York Times 16 couldn't corroborate this story and found that she was 17 calling around to classmates trying to see if they 18 remembered it. And I, at least -- and I, myself, heard 19 about that, that she was doing that. And you know, that 20 just strikes me as, you know, what is going on here? When 21 someone is calling around to try to refresh other people, 22 is that what's going on? What's going on with that?