A piece in today’s Times:
President Trump has urged Brett Kavanaugh, one of his Supreme Court appointees, to sue over fresh allegations of sexual harassment while at university as seven leading Democrats called for the judge to be impeached.
Mr Trump made a furious counterattack on Twitter after The New York Times, which published the allegations, amended its story to add that the alleged victim “does not recall the incident”.
The newspaper also apologised and withdrew a lurid tweet about the latest claims, which feature in a book by two of its reporters published today.
Members of the journalism community, including the Washington Post — who were aware of the accusations but had refrained from publishing the story — have since questioned the New York Times’s decision to publish the allegations as well as the tweet, which the publication said was “clearly inappropriate and offensive”.
To the president this was another example of “fake news” after the judge’s confirmation process last year was overshadowed by testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, a high school contemporary, who claimed that Mr Kavanaugh had pinned her to a bed and groped her at a teenage party.
Her emotional evidence was dismissed by Republicans in the face of Mr Kavanaugh’s strenuous denials and he was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice by 50 to 48 votes in the Senate on party lines.
Mr Trump regards his lifetime appointments of two Supreme Court justices and 150 appeal and district court judges as a core achievement of his presidency and believes his uncompromising approach to promoting conservatives galvanises his supporters.
“Just Out: ‘Kavanaugh accuser doesn’t recall incident.’”, the president tweeted. “DO YOU BELIEVE WHAT THESE HORRIBLE PEOPLE WILL DO OR SAY. They are looking to destroy, and influence his opinions — but played the game badly. They should be sued!” He posted seven tweets on the affair including one urging the Department of Justice to “rescue” Mr Kavanaugh from his accusers.
The latest unsubstantiated allegation, that “friends” of Mr Kavanaugh “pushed his penis into the hand of a female student” at a drunken Yale party mirrored the claim made publicly at the time of the confirmation by Deborah Ramirez, who accused Mr Kavanaugh of thrusting his genitals in her face at a different university party.
The new allegation was reportedly made by a classmate called Max Stier, who was said to have notified the FBI at the time, although it did not investigate. Mr Stier was a member of President Clinton’s legal team during the Monica Lewinsky scandal in 1998. Mr Kavanaugh was part of the team that drafted the Starr report calling for Mr Clinton’s impeachment.
Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke, all contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, were among those who called for Mr Kavanaugh to be impeached.
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