NBC News is taking some flak after it appears it sat on an account that torpedoes the sexual misconduct allegations lobbed by Julie Swetnick. She alleges that Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee who endured a brutal confirmation battle, was involved in a gang rape ring in high school.
Swetnick is one of five accusers, all of which have zero evidence or witnesses to corroborate their stories. Swetnick’s story is the most shoddy. As a college-aged woman, she hung out with high school kids, saw this alleged debauchery, and didn’t tell anyone about it, not even a warning. Oh, and she went back to at least several more of these parties where these supposed gang rapes were happening. It’s just unbelievable.
Well, in September, NBC apparently knew Swetnick’s allegations were straight trash, but decided to sit on them—but went ahead and published the unverified gang rape claim. Now, that Kavanaugh has been confirmed and Swetnick, along with her attorney, Michael Avenatti, have been referred for criminal prosecution for submitting false statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee, NBC News is finally coming clean. It related to the second woman Avenatti claimed corroborated Swetnick’s tale. It turned out that wasn’t the case.
Was this an intentional attempt to mislead our reporters? Evidence points that way... https://t.co/MOxE8WiGK4— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) October 26, 2018
NBC had information about this discrepancy since Sept. 30, and we're only hearing about it all now. Kate Snow did a good job in her Oct. 1 interview with Swetnick of teasing out the discrepancies. But why is Avenatti's role only now being revealed? https://t.co/ukmy8VZrRC— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) October 26, 2018
ICYMI: NBC News withheld exculpatory information on Kavanaugh regarding Avenatti/Swetnick's claims for 3 weeks. The network only published this damning report after Grassley referred Avenatti and Swetnick to DOJ. https://t.co/vRhXX2Ln25 via @dailycaller— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) October 26, 2018
In the NBC News interview that aired on Oct. 1, Swetnick back-tracked on or contradicted parts of her sworn statement where she alleged she witnessed then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh "cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so they could then be 'gang raped' in a side room or bedroom by a 'train' of boys."
NBC News also found other apparent inconsistencies in a second sworn statement from another woman whose statement Avenatti provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee in a bid to bolster Swetnick's claims.
In the second statement, the unidentified woman said she witnessed Kavanaugh "spike" the punch at high school parties in order to sexually take advantage of girls. But less than 48 hours before Avenatti released her sworn statement on Twitter, the same woman told NBC News a different story.
Referring to Kavanaugh spiking the punch, "I didn't ever think it was Brett," the woman said to reporters in a phone interview arranged by Avenatti on Sept. 30after repeated requests to speak with other witnesses who might corroborate Swetnick's claims. As soon as the call began, the woman said she never met Swetnick in high school and never saw her at parties and had only become friends with her when they were both in their 30s.
When asked in the phone interview if she ever witnessed Kavanaugh act inappropriately towards girls, the woman replied, "no." She did describe a culture of heavy drinking in high school that she took part in, and said Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were part of that group.
According to the second woman's declaration that Avenatti provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee, she said: "During the years 1981-82, I witnessed firsthand Brett Kavanaugh, together with others, 'spike' the 'punch' at house parties I attended with Quaaludes and/or grain alcohol. I understood this was being done for the purpose of making girls more likely to engage in sexual acts and less likely to say 'No.'"
The statement also said that Kavanaugh was "overly aggressive and verbally abusive to girls. This conduct included inappropriate physical contact with girls of a sexual nature."
But reached by phone independently from Avenatti on Oct. 3, the woman said she only "skimmed" the declaration. After reviewing the statement, she wrote in a text on Oct. 4 to NBC News: "It is incorrect that I saw Brett spike the punch. I didn't see anyone spike the punch...I was very clear with Michael Avenatti from day one."
When pressed about abusive behavior towards girls, she wrote in a text: "I would not ever allow anyone to be abusive in my presence. Male or female."
Kate Snow and Anna Schecter wrote the NBC News piece. Snow took to Twitter to explain why they decided to publish the article, which seems to be another footnote in the annals of liberal media bias. Our friends at Twitchy caught it. In all, Snow says that they ran out of time—but went ahead with Swetnick’s loony tale anyway, while saying that it was unverifiable. Yeah, maybe that’s where the red flags should have gone up. The New York Times didn’t do an original story on Swetnick precisely because they couldn’t confirm anything. The Times also didn’t run one on Deborah Ramirez, the second Kavanaugh accuser, who says he exposed himself at a college party. All the allegations against Kavanaugh were baseless, unsubstantiated gossip, dropped at the last minute and weaponized by Democrats to try and take down this nomination. They failed.
Important context to my and @annaschecter’s story regarding a second woman Michael Avenatti put forward to corroborate Julie Swetnick’s claims about Brett Kavanaugh 1/8— Kate Snow (@tvkatesnow) October 27, 2018
My interview with Ms. Swetnick aired on October 1. She was making serious claims, so we took care to provide viewers the full context around her allegations and our reporting with a 13+ min piece 2/8— Kate Snow (@tvkatesnow) October 27, 2018
We also made clear – in the interest of full transparency – that NBC News had not been able to independently verify her claims. 3/8— Kate Snow (@tvkatesnow) October 27, 2018
After repeated requests to Avenatti for corroboration of Swetnick’s story, he had conferenced us in to a call with a woman. The day after our Swetnick intvw aired, Mr. Avenatti tweeted out a sworn statement from that other woman. It was inconsistent with what she had told us. 4/8— Kate Snow (@tvkatesnow) October 27, 2018
By the time we were able to find the woman independently from Mr. Avenatti, who declined to give us her full legal name and phone number, and fully report and vet her story, the Kavanaugh confirmation process was over and the news value was limited. 5/8— Kate Snow (@tvkatesnow) October 27, 2018
To be clear – we did NOT have enough reporting to publish the second woman’s account until after Justice Kavanaugh secured enough votes for confirmation. 6/8— Kate Snow (@tvkatesnow) October 27, 2018
When Senator Grassley cited my interview with Swetnick this week when making a criminal referral, the second woman’s story became newsworthy again, so we published right away. 7/8— Kate Snow (@tvkatesnow) October 27, 2018
We always want to be clear and fully transparent around our reporting, and that’s what we’re doing here. 8/8— Kate Snow (@tvkatesnow) October 27, 2018
And this, “oh, gee-golly we ran out of time” explanation just doesn’t cut it. Even former CNN bureau chief Frank Sesno said that while he would have run the Christine Blasey Ford allegation, the first one to be hurled at Kavanaugh, he would not have gone ahead with the others. The network employed him during the Monica Lewinsky affair, and his number one job was to ensure hearsay didn't make it on the airwaves. Oh, how the times have changed.
We couldn’t verify those claims that actually benefited Kavanaugh’s side of the story so we held back while publishing unverified claims against him is what they are actually going with here.— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) October 27, 2018
NBC reporters want you to believe or remember that they didn’t publish several other unverified claims that week that were *against Kavanaugh because NBC thinks you’re stupid and hides behind a goofy cute peacock logo https://t.co/Prs0ndzUmV— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) October 27, 2018
Now, Snow did say that Avenatti refused to give the full legal name and contact information of the woman who blew up Swetnick’s allegation. I believe it. Look what they finally discovered—that Swetnick was full of crap. But maybe when Avenatti kept running interference, it should have been another moment where NBC should have had reservations about this whole gang rape story in the first place.