The vitriolic and disgraceful confirmation battle over US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was thrust back into the news cycle over the weekend, as two New York Times reporters who covered last year's political melee are previewing their forthcoming book on the subject. Leftists are expressing dutiful outrage over a "new" allegation against Kavanaugh, revealed publicly for the first time in a Times story about the co-authors' work. To the surprise of nobody who witnessed how Democrats, left-wing activists, and their allies in the mainstream media operated throughout the bruising 2018 fight, this latest development comes with a giant, flashing asterisk: Not only is there zero evidence of the new accusation, the supposed female "victim" herself reportedly cannot recall or corroborate the incident. Over to you, Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino, whose book on Kavanaugh you actually should read:
The book notes, quietly, that the woman Max Stier named as having been supposedly victimized by Kavanaugh and friends denies any memory of the alleged event. Seems, I don’t know, significant.— Mollie (@MZHemingway) September 15, 2019
This is the blockbuster "new allegation" against Kavanaugh. Except it's not actually new. It was shopped to Senate Democrats at the time and they apparently found it impossible to nail down, so they ignored it - the same Senators who found the "rape boat" allegations plausible. pic.twitter.com/0183DKr0q2— Carrie Severino (@JCNSeverino) September 15, 2019
The bizarre allegation, which was shopped around during the confirmation brouhaha and evidently went nowhere, comes from a male former Yale student (and Clinton-connected attorney) named Max Stier, who claimed to have recalled "friends" pushing Kavanaugh's genitalia into a female classmate's hand at a party. Once again, the woman in question does not remember this happening. The accusation is so weak, so thin, so unverifiable that even the ravenous Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats -- who shamefully pounced on the ludicrous, discredited 'serial gang rape' smear as the occasion to call for Kavanaugh's withdrawal -- did not pursue it at the time. John McCormack of National Review notes that the lack of corroboration from the supposed "victim" was not originally mentioned in the Times story, which he calls, "one of the worst cases of journalistic malpractice in recent memory" (the Times eventually updated the story to reflect this enormously important fact). What seems clear is that Mr. Stier's claims were meant to buttress an allegation from another Yale woman, Deborah Ramirez, whose story was litigated at length in 2018:
The new allegation is supposed to help lend credence to the on-the-record allegation that Kavanaugh’s Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez made in 2018. Pogrebin and Kelly sum up Ramirez’s allegation: “She and some classmates had been drinking heavily when, she says, a freshman named Brett Kavanaugh pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her, prompting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it. Some of the onlookers, who had been passing around a fake penis earlier in the evening, laughed.”
Allow me to remind you that all of the people who Ramirez identified as eyewitnesses to this episode say that it did not happen, and that Ramirez herself was not sure if she had the right guy. She "assessed" her decades-old memory with the assistance of her very liberal legal team, and phoned up old classmates in an attempt to crowd-source a recollection -- telling some of them that she wasn't even sure what truly happened:
More on the "evidence" behind the Ramirez story, via McCormack:
[Times reporters] Pogrebin and Kelly write that a couple students say they had heard about the alleged incident in the days after it allegedly occurred, but the authors provide no indication there is any first-hand witness to corroborate the allegation. We already knew before Kavanaugh was confirmed last October that the “corroborating” source for Ramirez’s claim, classmate Kenneth Appold, was not present when the alleged incident occurred, but Appold told the New Yorker he was “one-hundred-percent-sure” he heard about it from an eyewitness. Shortly before Kavanaugh was confirmed, the New Yorker reported that Appold’s supposed eyewitness “said that he had no memory of the incident.” Maybe Pogrebin and Kelly’s book is stronger than their essay. But I’m skeptical. “In the end they turn up no smoking gun,” Hanna Rosin writes in her New York Times review of the book.
The only corroboration, if you can even call it that, was a third-hand memory of a rumor, the source of which says he doesn't recall any of it. And the accuser (Ramirez) herself privately admitted that she wasn't confident that Kavanaugh was guilty of the act she went ahead an publicly accused him of anyway. An absolute joke. But in order to lend the Ramirez thing more credence, Stier claimed that he remembered Kavanaugh kinda sorta doing the same thing to someone else -- which is confirmed by...nobody, including that someone else (it seems we are not to believe this particular woman). This is the ostensible 'bombshell' in the upcoming book, which contains "no smoking gun," as conceded the Times' own review. Yet this utterly hollow nothingness was sufficient for a Senate Judiciary Committee member and flagging presidential candidate to demand 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.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 15, 2019
He must be impeached.
Other 2020 Democrats, from Elizabeth Warren to Beto O'Rourke, have piled on this reckless, institution-undermining talking point. "Sham process," asserts Harris, whose own conduct during said process was appalling, and whose party sat on unsubstantiated allegations against the nominee until the initial hearings (including closed-door hearings for sensitive topics) were over. This is despicable and demagogic; classic Harris. I'll leave you with three reminders: First, it was recently revealed that the father of Christine Blasey Ford (Kavanaugh's lone credible accuser, who nevertheless provided no evidence to back her claims) reportedly supported Kavanaugh's confirmation. This suggests that members of Ford's own immediate family, who remained notably silent during the public controversy, did not side with her. That feels relevant and telling, does it not? Second, one of the Times reporters whose new book is getting so much attention today was accused of trying to spoon-feed an anti-Kavanaugh narrative to a source last year, allegedly attempting to put words in the source's mouth:
This malpractice was rewarded with a book deal. Finally, when the FBI reviewed the Ford case prior to Kavanaugh's successful confirmation vote, the only new information they turned up was that at least one person in Ford's orbit pressured a female witness to change her truthful story in order to benefit Ford and hurt Kavanaugh. We have documentation of anti-Kavanaugh forces, including a journalist, trying to bully or manipulate women into altering their own statements in furtherance of a political goal. One wonders who may be turning the screws on the woman who doesn't remember Mr. Stier's claim at this very moment. The bad faith and agenda-driven behavior continues apace. In short, if the Left insists on re-litigating their vile, dishonorable Kavanaugh smear campaign, conservatives should reply, bring it on.
UPDATE - It's not just her father. Blasey Ford's own close female friend, whom she named as a witness, does not believe her story:
New Book: Christine Blasey Ford's Friend Leland Keyser Doesn't Believe Her - The Federalist https://t.co/we1X5XjU6p— Mollie (@MZHemingway) September 16, 2019
We have new, additional confirmation that Keyser says she was bullied and threatened by Ford allies in order to get her to change her story in a way that would harm Kavanaugh: “I was told behind the scenes that certain things could be spread about me if I didn’t comply,” she said. I'll also remind you that Ford's lead attorney has stated in public that at least part of her, and her client's, motivation in coming after Kavanaugh was purely political; it was about putting an asterisk next to his name to delegitimize any rulings he might hand down that limit abortion. She's admitted it. This whole thing has reeked from start to finish. The Left is going to regret revisiting this entire issue.