“I’m satisfied with how he has responded,” she says.
Joe Biden has now done 19 interviews spanning nearly 4 hours in the 5 weeks since March 24, the day a former staffer in his U.S. Senate office came forward to accuse him of sexual assault. None of the 142 questions asked by his interviewers have been on the allegations…
In the past two weeks alone, Biden has sat for at least an additional 97 minutes and 16 seconds of taped interviews, according to a Free Beacon analysis. The sexual assault allegation never came up.
I can’t decide if Pelosi added in the bit about him “responding” in this interview because she knows the truth and believed CNN wouldn’t call her on a lie or if she’s in full DGAF mode on beating Trump and isn’t even following the Reade story. I lean towards the second theory. “A former employee of Joe’s has been telling friends for 25 years that he assaulted her? Oh. Well, who cares. Who cares. Let’s win.”
CNN's Alisyn Camerota calls out Nancy Pelosi after she says Joe Biden has addressed the sexual assault allegations: "He has not"pic.twitter.com/aIsNKMfpXX
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) April 30, 2020
The first goal for Republicans is to pressure Biden into finally acknowledging the allegations. Having him publicly deny it will add oxygen to the story, which of course is why Biden hasn’t done it yet. But he’ll have to do eventually. After he denies it, the next step will be to pressure him to release his papers, which are currently archived at the University of Delaware and unavailable to the public until Biden has been retired from public life for two years. Those papers could help or hurt his defense depending on whether there’s anything in there related to Reade. For instance, she claims she filed a formal sexual harassment complaint with his office but doesn’t have a copy. Biden staffers at the time say it never happened and they’d remember if it had. The archives could clear that up.
The tricky part for Biden is that they could also expose other embarrassing information completely unrelated to Reade that Team Trump might weaponize before the election. But that’s no excuse, writes Peter Beinart:
The best argument against opening the Biden papers is the simplest: It could help Donald Trump, who has been credibly accused of sexual assault by multiple women and has boasted on tape about it. Conservative commentators are already accusing mainstream media outlets of backing off the story for fear of helping to reelect the president. But journalists shouldn’t avoid exposing damaging information about one candidate because his opponent is worse. The job of the press is to ferret out evidence and analyze it honestly, without regard to the political outcome.
Besides, even Democratic partisans should want the Biden papers opened. They could strengthen his claim that he did nothing wrong. And if they don’t—if they provide any corroboration for Reade’s accusation—Democrats need to know that now, before Biden is officially nominated. As the publication of the Intercept and Business Insider stories suggest, more information may well come out between now and November, whether the Biden papers remain sealed or not. Rather than let the Reade accusation fester, Democrats should get the evidence out now—while there’s still time for the party to react.
Mitch McConnell was asked today whether Biden should unseal his papers and, wouldn’t you know it, he’s all in favor: “[W]hen you run for president of the United States your life is an open book and I can’t imagine that Vice President Biden is not going to have to participate in releasing all of the information related to the allegations.”
Let me recommend this piece to you, written by a former federal prosecutor explaining why he’s skeptical of Reade’s claims. Some of the arguments will feel familiar. She waited a long time before going public, until her alleged assailant was in line for a powerful political job; she can’t remember precisely when or where the assault happened; there are no credible accounts of similar assaults by the same perpetrator. All of that was true of Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Brett Kavanaugh and all of it was waved away by the left. But there are other criticisms more particular to Reade, like certain inconsistencies in things she’s said and the strange fact that she kept other documents from her time in Biden’s office but not the complaint she supposedly filed against him. I wonder whose side the public would take if those arguments were aired publicly in an adversarial forum.
Which brings us to our exit question: Is the Senate GOP going to hold hearings about this under some policy pretext or another? They have good electoral reasons to publicize the Reade matter, especially since Dems are likely to come after Trump for the many accusations of sexual misconduct against him. The man in charge of the Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham, would feel intense pressure to comply too. He’s up for reelection this fall and victory isn’t quite a sure thing (although it’s highly likely), especially if Trump starts complaining publicly that he’s not a team player because he won’t investigate the claims against Biden. Remember that TrumpWorld was aggrieved at Graham during the Ukraine impeachment process because he refused to sic the Judiciary Committee on Hunter Biden. The stakes in the Reade matter are even higher, and Republican voters will want some payback for the humiliation Kavanaugh endured at his own hearing courtesy of Blasey Ford.
Could Graham get away with holding a hearing about Reade and somehow prevent Senate Dems from turning it into a hearing about Trump, though? If the pretext for the hearing ends up being “Investigating sexual abuse by high government officials” or whatever, Dems are going to want to hear from E. Jean Carroll and a host of other Trump accusers. Maybe that prospect is enough of a deterrent to steer Graham and McConnell away from this.