On Sunday, The New Yorker published Deborah Ramirez’s uncorroborated claim that while both were freshmen at Yale University, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a binge-drinking party.
Since The New Yorker ran the article, it has been taking heat for running it given that Ramirez admits she was intoxicated at the time some 35 years ago, and only “[a]fter six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney” did she decide Kavanaugh had been the culprit. Then The New Yorker used second- and third-hand gossip to support Ramirez’s recollection even though several individuals with first-hand knowledge denied Kavanaugh’s involvement.
Kavanaugh immediately denied Ramirez’s accusation, as he had when the Washington Post first revealed Christine Blasey Ford’s charge that he had attempted to rape her while in high school. However, while Ford’s last-minute surprise accusation upended the Senate Judiciary Committee, this time Committee Chair Charles Grassley and his team were prepared.
Mike Davis, the chief counsel for nominations for the Senate Judiciary Committee, immediately reached out to Ramirez’s attorney, asking for information and to learn if she were willing to provide investigators a statement. But instead of providing a statement to the committee or answering Davis’ simple question, Ramirez’s attorney, John Clune, started issuing demands for an FBI investigation. Davis calmly repeated his request for information six times over 48 hours, while Ramirez’s lawyer instead made it clear their sole intent was to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
This time the Republican-controlled Judiciary Committee was having none of it: Rather than wait for Ramirez to decide whether to speak to committee investigators, Grassley announced that he would not delay, based on Ramirez’s media-reported claims, Thursday’s hearing at which Ford and Kavanaugh were scheduled to testify. And he noticed a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination for Friday morning before the Judiciary Committee.
Those developments sent Ramirez’s attorney sprinting to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, where Clune told the host that Republicans were playing games and refusing to investigate Ramirez’s accusations against Kavanaugh. Unfortunately for Clune, his email exchanges with Davis have been made public and the black-and-white back-and-forth eviscerates the spin he is peddling. For instance, Clune seethed to the CNN host, “We finally had a phone all scheduled for 7 o’clock Eastern this evening, we got on the phone, and only the minority party showed.”
Not true. Davis had spent 48 hours and at least six attempts to obtain basic information from Clune, and was awaiting a statement from Ramirez and word from Clune concerning whether his client would speak to investigators, to schedule a phone call to discuss next steps. All Davis had to go on at this point was The New Yorker article.
The “scheduled” phone call Clune claims Republicans were a “no show” for was the one Clune had arranged with a Democrat representative. Yet Clune had the audacity to tell Cooper that “there’s a lot of game-playing that’s going on right now by the majority party.”
Putting aside Clune’s charge, Cooper pushed on whether Ramirez would provide a statement to Grassley as the Judiciary Committee chair had requested. At that point in the interview, Clune made clear exactly his end goal: the launch of an FBI investigation. A baffled Cooper tried to pin Clune down, asking whether Ramirez would refuse to talk to investigators unless there were an FBI investigation launched.
Once again, Clune peddled a complete falsehood, responding, that “if it is just a matter of her disclosing information, that’d be one thing,” but saying his client was not about to sit down to be grilled by the committee or a hired gun—a reference to the sex-crimes prosecutor handling Ford’s testimony—without an FBI investigation. Clune then had the chutzpah to claim, “I don’t know what else we can do if they’re not going to engage, but blaming us for being non-cooperative is just, you know, flat-out not consistent with how things have gone and what the emails show.”
But unlike his client’s recall of a memory from a 35-year old drunken binge, Clune’s claim is easily refuted with the email chains. They show (see below) that for two days all the Judiciary Committee requested from Ramirez was a statement and information concerning her willingness to speak with committee representatives. Until Ramirez submits that information to the Judiciary Committee, there is nothing for them to do.