WaPo replies to Virginia lieutenant governor: No, we didn't find "red flags or inconsistencies" in your accuser's story

The statement he released last night claimed that not only had the Washington Post run down his accuser’s story and found nothing to substantiate it, it uncovered “significant red flags and inconsistencies” that all but discredited her.

Not true, says WaPo. What they found, it seems, is a he said/she said situation in its purest form. There’s no evidence to support the claim that Fairfax sexually assaulted anyone — and no reason to believe the accuser is lying.

Which raises a question: What led Fairfax to think WaPo found something that undermined his accuser’s credibility? Who’s his source inside the paper for what it has and hasn’t learned about the incident?

The woman approached The Post after Fairfax won election in November 2017 and before he was inaugurated in January 2018 inauguration, saying she felt like she had an obligation to speak out…

Fairfax and the woman told different versions of what happened in the hotel room with no one else present [in 2004]. The Washington Post could not find anyone who could corroborate either version. The Post did not find “significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegations,” as the Fairfax statement incorrectly said

The woman described a sexual encounter that began with consensual kissing and ended with a forced act that left her crying and shaken. She said Fairfax guided her to the bed, where they continued kissing, and then at one point she realized she could not move her neck. She said Fairfax used his strength to force her to perform oral sex.

The Post says it called people who knew Fairfax in college, law school, and socially and no one’s ever heard of him engaging in any sort of sexual misconduct. As for the accuser, the paper says they couldn’t corroborate her claim because “she had not told anyone what happened.” You mean she never told anyone until she first approached WaPo in 2017, or she didn’t tell anyone at the time and for a long time after it happened but then opened up to confidants much later? Because the latter would be the Christine Blasey Ford standard, of course.

It’s strange to me that someone who claims she was sexually assaulted would choose to tell her story for the very first time not to a friend or a spouse or a doctor or a cop or a therapist but to a newspaper. If it turns out that the accuser did tell a friend two years ago before she went to the paper, where does that leave us vis-a-vis the Ford standard?

And another question, also reminiscent of Ford vs. Kavanaugh: What’s the accuser’s motive to lie here, especially given the curious timing of her approach to WaPo? If you’re a partisan or someone who holds a grudge against a rising political star for whatever other reason and are willing to fabricate a tale of sexual assault to take him down, the obvious time to do so is before he’s installed in the important new job he’s seeking. Ford’s accusation broke big before the confirmation vote on Kavanaugh, after all. But Fairfax’s accuser waited until after his election as lieutenant governor to speak up and long before the Northam blackface scandal that’s put him on the brink of becoming governor of Virginia. Nor did she do any of the other things a motivated liar might do to put her target on the defensive, like call a media-friendly lawyer and hold a press conference laying out the assault accusation in lurid detail. There’s not even an obvious partisan motive: As noted in my earlier post, a photo exists of the accuser next to a smiling Nancy Pelosi, suggesting that she’s a Democrat just like Fairfax is.

If she’s lying, why would she lie this way, by quietly approaching a newspaper and then not forcing the issue somehow after they refused to run her story?

Ah well, too late now. Unless the accuser produces a friend whom she told about Fairfax at some point or another woman comes forward to accuse him of something, he’s off the hook. Can’t demand that he leave public life based on a bare accusation, no matter how enchanting the left finds that standard as applied to Republican Supreme Court nominees.

Here’s Fairfax discussing the way forward for human tire-fire Ralph Northam earlier this afternoon. Jonathan Last thinks Northam has digested an important lesson from the likes of Bill Clinton and Roy Moore: Since there’s little accountability for bad behavior by politicians in modern America, you’re better off gritting your teeth and riding out the storm. I’d counter that by noting that Clinton and Moore each had something Northam lacks, a base of support within their own parties. They had top leaders on their own side defending them and voters who were politically invested in them. Northam has none of that. Every Democrat with a national profile has called on him to resign and I’d guess most rank-and-file Virginia Dems would prefer to have Fairfax in charge. I think the ride-it-out strategy might work here not because Dems might rally to him but because at some point they’ll want to cease creating bad publicity for the party by flogging Northam every day and choose to let this matter die just to move past it.