President Donald Trump’s pick to replace Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court — a D.C. area judge named Brett Kavanaugh — has faced numerous challenges since emerging on the national scene. Now, there’s another undercut to the judge in the form of a letter asserting that he attempted to rape an anonymous woman in his high school days. The woman was moved to action after Trump picked Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court earlier this year. She detailed her story in a letter to her Congresswoman, California Democrat Anna Eshoo. Only now, however, has her story become public.
Ronan Farrow, famous at this point for breaking stories of sexual misconduct perpetrated by the rich and famous, is among the reporters on the story. Writing for The New Yorker with Jane Mayer, he — and Mayer — explain that California Democrat and prominent Senate Judiciary Committee member Dianne Feinstein also received a copy of the letter — months ago.
Feinstein had kept information about the woman’s story under metaphorical lock and key until pressured into briefing some of her colleagues — with no staff members present — on what was relayed to her. She did that just this past Wednesday, and has reportedly referred the matter to the FBI at this point, after originally having asserted behind the scenes that the matter was too distant in the past to demand public discussion. She didn’t even confirm what “information” about Kavanaugh she’d shared with the FBI in her public statement about the matter — news of the Kavanaugh victim’s story comes from other sources.
The FBI, for its part, confirmed that Feinstein had handed over the information and reported that they’d “included it as part of Judge Kavanaugh’s background file, as per the standard process.” That means, BuzzFeed explains, that the White House and every member of the Senate now has access to the original letter.
Kavanaugh has unsurprisingly denied the allegations against him, asserting — with an almost surprising ferocity for someone truly taken off-guard by the story:
‘I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.’
It’s among a number of roadblocks he’s faced on the road to confirmation, although he might still be set for a spot on the Supreme Court through it all on account of the Republican majority in the Senate.
The White House came out swinging in support of the president’s SCOTUS pick, asserting via Kerri Kupec:
‘Senator Schumer promised to ‘oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have,’ and it appears he is delivering with this 11th hour attempt to delay his confirmation.’
In other words — the White House couldn’t care less about a story of an attempted rape perpetrated by a possible soon-to-be member of the U.S. Supreme Court.
As part of the ongoing maze to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, questions remain covering issues like why Feinstein held onto the information for as long as she did. The New Yorker reports that she was concerned with exposing the victim to public scrutiny — and the woman who originally brought the story to lawmakers’ attention herself decided to stay private.
The saga figures in the broader spectacle of the Trump administration attempting to impose its lax standards on the federal government.
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