This morning the Atlantic published another excerpt from the book “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh” by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly. By this afternoon, the Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway had identified another significant error which appears in the book. Specifically, the book claims that Deborah Ramirez’ allegations were met with silence by the people who she claimed were witnesses to the incident:
The claims of Deborah Ramirez, while not proven by witnesses, also ring true to us. Ramirez, who was a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s, said he drunkenly thrust his penis at her during a party in their freshman-year dormitory, Lawrance Hall. The people who allegedly witnessed the event—Kavanaugh’s friends Kevin Genda, David Todd, and David White—have kept mum about it. Kavanaugh has denied it. If such an incident had occurred, Kavanaugh said, it would have been the “talk of campus.”
But as Hemingway points out, it’s just not true that the alleged witnesses kept mum. In fact, several people Ramirez identified as having been present or involved in the incident were anonymously quoted in the New Yorker article that broke the Ramirez allegations:
One of the male classmates who Ramirez said egged on Kavanaugh denied any memory of the party. “I don’t think Brett would flash himself to Debbie, or anyone, for that matter,” he said. Asked why he thought Ramirez was making the allegation, he responded, “I have no idea.” The other male classmate who Ramirez said was involved in the incident commented, “I have zero recollection.”
In a statement, two of those male classmates who Ramirez alleged were involved in the incident, the wife of a third male student she said was involved, and one other classmate, Dan Murphy, disputed Ramirez’s account of events: “We were the people closest to Brett Kavanaugh during his first year at Yale. He was a roommate to some of us, and we spent a great deal of time with him, including in the dorm where this incident allegedly took place. Some of us were also friends with Debbie Ramirez during and after her time at Yale. We can say with confidence that if the incident Debbie alleges ever occurred, we would have seen or heard about it—and we did not. The behavior she describes would be completely out of character for Brett. In addition, some of us knew Debbie long after Yale, and she never described this incident until Brett’s Supreme Court nomination was pending. Editors from the New Yorker contacted some of us because we are the people who would know the truth, and we told them that we never saw or heard about this.”
Since the names aren’t included in the original New Yorker piece, I guess it’s possible some of Kavanaugh’s friends have remained quiet but it seems significant that several did not. As Mollie Hemingway concludes, “Pogrebin and Kelly’s work has a pattern of omitting exculpatory evidence that supports Kavanaugh’s consistent claim that he never sexually assaulted anyone.”
There really does seem to be a pattern here. During their appearance on the View today Pogrebin and Kelly admitted some responsibility for failing to ensure an allegation about Kavanaugh included the key detail that the woman involved says she doesn’t remember it. They also admitted to leaving out of their piece the fact that the alleged eyewitness to that incident once worked as an attorney for Bill Clinton. I also have some doubts about other statements that appeared in the Atlantic excerpt. For instance, this bit about Christine Blasey Ford’s honesty:
We have seen no evidence of Ford fabricating stories, either recently or historically. Multiple people attest to her honesty. Last August, she passed a polygraph test focused on her Kavanaugh memories. Her former boyfriend Brian Merrick said in a sworn affidavit to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he hadn’t known of her fear of flying or of tight spaces when they dated in the 1990s, raising questions for Republicans about the anxiety issues Ford has attributed in part to the alleged assault.
This fear of flying thing was hashed over last year. Despite her alleged fear of flying that prompted claims she would drive across country to testify, Dr. Ford flew in for the hearing. And under oath, she admitted to flying around the world on vacations. Similarly, there were stories about Ford installing a second door in her home so she would always have an escape route if she ever felt trapped. This was allegedly a lasting impact from the incident with Kavanaugh. But an investigation revealed the 2nd door in Ford’s home was installed so a marriage counselor could run her business out of the front of the house. That doesn’t prove that Ford routinely fabricated stories but she certainly seems to have embellished a few when it suited her purpose to do so. There’s also this from the book excerpt:
Using Martha’s common-sense standard, we can see no reason Ford would have come forward with her account if she didn’t believe it. Ford has led a quiet life for many years. She has no love of the spotlight, and she pleaded with lawmakers and The Washington Post for weeks to preserve her privacy.
But Ford’s own attorney recently suggested a political motive for her coming forward. “When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade, we will know who he is, we know his character, and we know what motivates him, and that is important; it is important that we know, and that is part of what motivated Christine,” Deborah Katz said.
When you add to this the fact that Ford’s best friend and her own father apparently don’t really believe her story, it seems fair to suggest Martha’s common-sense might standard migh suggest an alternative view of Dr. Ford’s allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.