NBC's Kate Snow: Here's why we didn't publish that story on Avenatti's 2nd witness until now

NBC’s Kate Snow put up a tweetstorm Saturday explaining why NBC belatedly published a piece Thursday revealing that a 2nd witness provided by Michael Avenatti to back up Swetnick’s account directly contradicted claims Avenatti made on her behalf. Snow claims she and NBC hadn’t finished vetting the article about this 2nd witness until the Kavanaugh confirmation was over and so decided to drop it as old news. That supposedly changed this week, when Sen. Chuck Grassley referred Avenatti and Swetnick to the DOJ for investigation. That referral, Snow claims, suddenly made the story newsworthy again.

I don’t think this holds up or makes much sense at all but I’m going to lay all of this out as fairly as I can so you can make up your own mind. First, here’s Kate Snow’s full tweetstorm.

The important tweets here are numbers five and six. Snow says Avenatti refused to give them the 2nd woman’s contact information and that, plus vetting, wound up delaying a 2nd story past when it would have mattered. I think the simplest way to see what happened here is with a timeline, so here it is.

Sep. 30th: Avenatti puts NBC in contact with a 2nd witness intended to back up Swetnick’s claims. That witness says she never saw Kavanaugh spike anyone’s punch and never saw him act inappropriately toward girls at parties. So nothing to corroborate Swetnick.

Oct. 1st: NBC runs its exclusive story on Julie Swetnick in which Swetnick backs away from several of the specific claims she had made previously in writing. That story also notes, in a possible reference to the 2nd witness, that NBC could not find anyone to corroborate Swetnick’s claims.

Oct 2nd: Avenatti tweets out a sworn statement from the 2nd witness which appears to back up some of Swetnick’s claims.

Key points in the statement are that Kavanaugh had “inappropriate physical contact with girls of a sexual nature.” Also, the statement said, “I witnessed firsthand Brett Kavanaugh, together with others, ‘spike’ the ‘punch’ at house parties I attended with Quaaludes and/or grain alcohol.” The statement added this was for the purpose of making the girls more willing to have sex.

NBC notices the claims in the statement are directly at odds with what the woman they spoke to on Sep. 30th had said. However, Avenatti refuses to give them her full name or direct contact info to allow them to ask her about those contradictions.

Oct. 3rd: Somehow, NBC independently gets the phone number for the woman they previously spoke to on Sep. 30th. They ask her why what she told them then doesn’t match the statement tweeted by Avenatti. She replies that she had only “skimmed” the statement.

Oct. 4th: After reviewing the statement, the woman texts NBC and tells them “It is incorrect that I saw Brett spike the punch. I didn’t see anyone spike the punch…I was very clear with Michael Avenatti from day one.” She also suggests that she never saw anyone be abusive toward girls in her presence. NBC confronted Avenatti about the discrepancy and he became angry and suddenly suggested, contrary to his own previous statement, that the woman NBC had spoken with was not the woman behind the sworn statement he released on Oct. 2nd. At some point, Avenatti changes course again and says his witness has reaffirmed everything in the statement he released. NBC gets a text asking them to stop contacting her. They call her back anyway and she again says she never saw Kavanaugh spike punch or act inappropriately toward girls, directly contradicting the statement released on her behalf for the 3rd time.

At this point, it seems NBC has a pretty big scoop about the credibility of Avenatti and, by implication, Jule Swetnick.

Oct. 5th: Two things happen on this date and it’s not clear what order they happened in. This is the day, as Allahpundit pointed out, that Sen. Susan Collins announced her intent to vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh, ensuring he would be confirmed. Also, NBC received another text from the 2nd witness who said, “I will definitely talk to you again and no longer Avenatti. I do not like that he twisted my words.”

Oct. 6th: Kavanaugh confirmed by the Senate.

So the claim made by Kate Snow in tweet #5 is “By the time we were able to find the woman independently from Mr. Avenatti, who declined to give us her full legal name and phone number, and fully report and vet her story, the Kavanaugh confirmation process was over and the news value was limited.”

They had her name and phone number by Oct. 3rd. Granted, Avenatti was playing games with them, apparently to prevent them from reporting the contradictions in the 2nd witnesses’ story. At one point he told them “How about this, on background, it’s not the same woman. What are you going to do with that?”

But all of this had seemingly been straightened out by Oct. 4th when the witness contradicted Avenatti’s statement for the 3rd time. By Oct. 5th, she had accused Avenatti of twisting her words. And the vote was still a day away.

I guess the wiggle room in Snow’s statement is this, “By the time we were able to…fully report and vet her story.” I’m not sure what that means, honestly. By the 5th, they had a bombshell based on the witness’ saying Avenatti was twisting her words. The story was still relevant that day and it was still relevant on the 6th when the vote was the only story anyone cared about.

Frankly, the idea that this had no news value even after the vote is just nonsense. What idiot at NBC made that call? Of course, it was relevant that the accuser’s lawyer seemed to be lying and meddling with statements! Is NBC not aware that a lot of Americans were furiously angry Kavanaugh had been confirmed, in part because they believed he was a gang-rapist? There was never a time when evidence that story did not hold up was not worth airing.

That would be true even if this was the only high profile case Avenatti was involved in, but of course, it’s not the only one. Avenatti is on CNN and MSNBC nearly once a day attacking the president. That makes his credibility a story even apart from the Kavanaugh confirmation. That NBC would drop this as not newsworthy suggests a) they have no idea what they are doing or b) they wanted to give Avenatti a pass.

Kate Snow says (tweet #8) she wants to be “fully transparent.” If so, she should explain how this story couldn’t be readied before the vote or, alternatively, why they thought it wasn’t relevant afterward. As it stands, her statement doesn’t make much sense.