Debunk This by Matt Palumbo

The (failing) New York Times is out with some newly public allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh that were supposedly so damning they had no effect on the outcome of his nomination whatsoever. The information is from a forthcoming book by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly called “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh,” who adapted it in a New York Times story.

Their article centers around Deborah Ramirez and a new unnamed victim. We know Ramirez from the hearings as the woman who alleged that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party with dozens of students, but yet there were no witnesses to the event. The media contacted at least 75 classmates trying to find corroboration with no avail. The Times decided to promote this story with a now-deleted tweet bizarrely captioned “Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun. But when Brett Kavanaugh did it to her, Deborah Ramirez says, it confirmed that she didn’t belong in the first place.” Questionable word choice there for sure.

Advertisement

Somehow that trainwreck of a tweet isn’t even as bad as the article itself. Rogrebin and Kelly report information that wasn’t yet public, that:

At least seven people, including Ms. Ramirez’s mother, heard about the Yale incident long before Mr. Kavanaugh was a federal judge. Two of those people were classmates who learned of it just days after the party occurred, suggesting that it was discussed among students at the time.

Recall that the Times reported at the time of the hearings last September that “Ms. Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the incident and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself.” It could be very well true that a man exposed himself to her, and that she did tell others, but that doesn’t mean the person in question was Kavanaugh. Note that Pogrebin and Kelly never say that Ramirez told seven people that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her.

And, allegedly occurring with another, unnamed woman, Pogrebin and Kelly write:

We also uncovered a previously unreported story about Mr. Kavanaugh in his freshman year that echoes Ms. Ramirez’s allegation. A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly. (We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.)

Sounds a bit cartoonish, no?

Regardless at last we have finally have a witness against Kavanaugh – Max Stier – who (probably not) coincidentally was a lawyer for the Clintons. As The Federalist’s Mollie Hemmingway (who has an advanced copy of their book) notes:

Stier [was] a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s with whom he has a long and contentious history. In the words of the Yale Daily News, they were “pitted” against each other during the Whitewater investigation in the 1990s when Kavanaugh worked for Independent Counsel Ken Starr. Stier defended President Bill Clinton, whose legal troubles began when a woman accused him of exposing himself to her in hotel room she had been brought to. Clinton later settled with the woman for $850,000 and, due to a contempt of court citation for misleading testimony, ended up losing his law license for five years. Stier worked closely with David Kendall, who went on to defend Hillary Clinton against allegations of illegally handling classified information. Kavanaugh’s reference to his opponents being motivated by “revenge on behalf of the Clintons” met with befuddlement by liberal media, despite the surprisingly large number of Clinton-affiliated attorneys who kept popping up during his confirmation hearings.

Additionally, Stier’s wife Florence Yu Pan was nominated by President Barack Obama to the Federal Bench in 2016.

But more to the point, Pogrebin and Kelly make note in their book that this unnamed alleged victim has no recollection of the events Stier describes. Their word choice seems deliberately misleading when they claim to have “corroborated the story with two officials who communicated with Mr. Stier.” No story was corroborated – what was corroborated was the fact that Stier did indeed repeat the story to those two officials.

Advertisement

It’s odd how they included that detail in their unreleased book – but don’t make mention of it in a Times column that will be read by millions, don’t you think?