There were two authors on the New Yorker story last night describing a new sexual misconduct allegation against Brett Kavanaugh by former Yale student Deborah Ramirez. Ronan Farrow’s co-author Jane Mayer appeared on CBS This Morning and was asked about the “corroborating witness” for their story. But as Mayer made clear, their corroborating witness wasn’t at the party in question. He’s someone who claims he remembers hearing about the party after it happened. Here’s the exchange:
John Dickerson: Jane, the corroborating witness which you say has all the details including Kavanaugh’s name, where did that witness come from and where did that witness get the information about this from if this person doesn’t know Ramirez?
Jane Mayer: He remembers it from—he was in the same door, same little building on Yale’s old campus. And he remembers it clearly. I asked him…
Dickerson: Did he see it?
Mayer: No, as I’ve said, he heard it from someone who was there. And, as I’ve said, we interviewed him and I said to him ‘Are you sure that it was Brett Kavanaugh?’ He said ‘I am 100 percent sure.’
Norah O’Donnell: But as you admit he was not at the party.
There is another second-hand witness mentioned in the story who also claims to have overheard someone discussion the party in question but that person didn’t hear the name of the female victim or any mention of Brett Kavanaugh. So it really comes down to this one person who claims he is “100 percent” sure about what he heard 30 years ago. But the witness isn’t named and chose not to come forward for fear of being drawn into the confirmation circus, which presumably means there is no way to question this person’s account to see how reliable it is.
Another interesting fact worth considered here is that in the same interview this morning, Mayer said there has been an email chain circulating among former Yale students about this allegation since July. This makes me wonder if this story had ever circulated (recently or in the past) to the corroborating witness before he spoke to Mayer and Farrow. All the New Yorker story says is that he “independently remembered” the details. That may be true but I’d like to hear more about who he has talked to about this story in the past, especially if the independence of his recollection of the details is central to backing Ramirez’ story. That’s a question congressional investigators might want to look into.
Here’s the full interview. The question from John Dickerson comes near the end: