Yesterday I wrote about Tara Reade’s friend who has claimed for months that Reade told her about the (alleged) sexual assault by Joe Biden at the time it happened. The friend has remained unnamed in the media at her own request but has given several interviews including detailing her story of what she was told. But the unnamed friend isn’t the only person Reade says she told. She also told her mother, something that her friend and brother have both mentioned.
Unfortunately, Reade’s mother died in 2016 so there has been no way to verify that aspect of her story. But today Ryan Grim reports that new information seems to confirm at least a portion of that story thanks to a call made to the Larry King Live show on CNN:
In interviews with The Intercept, Reade also mentioned that her mother had made a phone call to “Larry King Live” on CNN, during which she made reference to her daughter’s experience on Capitol Hill. Reade told The Intercept that her mother called in asking for advice after Reade, then in her 20s, left Biden’s office. “I remember it being an anonymous call and her saying my daughter was sexually harassed and retaliated against and fired, where can she go for help? I was mortified,” Reade told me…
On August 11, 1993, King aired a program titled, “Washington: The Cruelest City on Earth?” Toward the end of the program, he introduces a caller dialing in from San Luis Obispo, California. Congressional records list August 1993 as Reade’s last month of employment with Biden’s Senate office, and, according to property records, Reade’s mother, Jeanette Altimus, was living in San Luis Obispo County. Here is the transcript of the beginning of the call:
KING: San Luis Obispo, California, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hello. I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington? My daughter has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him.
KING: In other words, she had a story to tell but, out of respect for the person she worked for, she didn’t tell it?
CALLER: That’s true.
After the Intercept story went up Friday afternoon, the Media Research Center found the video of the call. The Daily Caller reports that Reade has now confirmed the voice on the call is her mother saying, “hearing her voice made me cry.”
#BREAKING: HERE is the video from August 11,1993's 'Larry King Live' described by @TheIntercept (and Tara Reade) as allegedly featuring her mother calling in and alluding to Reade's sexual assault claims against @JoeBiden (blog here by @ScottJW) https://t.co/fCgEqBnX7n pic.twitter.com/V5FGHskv56
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) April 24, 2020
So what does this prove? Ryan Grim points out that the caller never specifically mentioned sexual harassment but did say her daughter “could not get through.” That seems to jibe with Reade’s claims that she made some attempt to report the problems at the time.
Biden’s campaign has explicitly denied that. Specifically, the office manager at the time has claimed, “I never once witnessed, or heard of, or received, any reports of inappropriate conduct, period — not from Ms. Reade, not from anyone.”
While Reade’s mother doesn’t say exactly what the issue was, the fact that it was something that a) would have been newsworthy and b) would have harmed a prominent senator is pretty suggestive of the kind of thing we’re talking about.
I don’t think this proves Reade is telling the truth beyond a shadow of doubt, but it’s one more bit of evidence which supports the story she has told. Something bad happened to her involving Joe Biden and she told the people close to her about it at the time it happened. At some point, to avoid believing her story, you’re left suggesting she lied to her own mother, her brother and her best friend. In any case, there’s more than enough contemporaneous support here that Joe Biden should stop getting a pass from the media. He needs to address these claims himself.