One may hesitate to refer to this as an actual allegation, since for all we know, a Russian bot sent it.
It is noteworthy, however, because it’s not about the early 1980s. This allegation is about the year 1998.
It was sent in an anonymous letter to U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), and purports to come from a friend of the alleged victim. The friend says the alleged victim’s daughter was present for the event. But the anonymous accuser names no one supposedly involved except Kavanaugh, which makes it impossible to investigate this in any way.
Senator Gardner’s office has acknowledged receiving it on 24 September, so we’ve got that going for us. Apparently the letter actually happened. The Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have questioned Kavanaugh, and he has denied that any such event ever occurred. Democrats participated in the phone call by which Kavanaugh was questioned, although NBC says they didn’t ask any questions.
Senate Judiciary Cmte. is inquiring about at least one additional allegation of misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, according to a letter obtained by @NBCNews and multiple people familiar with the process. https://t.co/CsNMU3AegD
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 26, 2018
Here is NBC News’s description of the allegation.
According to an anonymous complaint sent to Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, Kavanaugh physically assaulted a woman he socialized with in the Washington, D.C., area in 1998 while he was inebriated.
The sender of the complaint described an evening involving her own daughter, Kavanaugh and several friends in 1998.
“When they left the bar (under the influence of alcohol) they were all shocked when Brett Kavanaugh, shoved her friend up against the wall very aggressively and sexually.”
“There were at least four witnesses including my daughter.” The writer of the letter provided no names but said the alleged victim was still traumatized and had decided to remain anonymous herself.
It’s interesting to note that this complaint was sent to a Republican senator, and is also the only complaint so far to be completely anonymous. Make of that what you will.
Interestingly (again), verifying what Kavanaugh was doing in 1998 brings the reminder that he was working for independent counsel Kenneth Starr at the time, processing information on the Vincent Foster case and the allegations about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. In addition to his long stint with Kenneth Starr, Kavanaugh later represented the U.S.-based relatives of the Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez, whom the Clinton Justice Department seized in an armed raid in order to return him to Cuba. Kavanaugh was thus on the opposite side of one of the most incendiary incidents of the Clinton presidency.
He was also on the legal team for George W. Bush’s effort to halt repeated ballot recounts in Florida in the 2000 election. All together, he spent the Clinton presidency working in a series of adversarial roles against the administration.
Notably, the Wikipedia entry for Kavanaugh features links to articles and other material (including a response from Bill Clinton’s legal team) that characterize Kavanaugh as basically having it in for the Clintons, and as demanding that the Starr indictment of Bill Clinton include graphic and salacious details about his relationship with Lewinsky.
After reflecting this evening, I am strongly opposed to giving the President any “break” in the questioning regarding the details of the Lewinsky relationship -— unless before his questioning on Monday, he either (i) resigns or (ii) confesses perjury and issues a public apology to you.
Some of the questions Kavanaugh proposes are indeed graphic. Be clear on this, however: in cases of sexual misconduct, the questions are always uncomfortably graphic. The issue was not whether such questions were appropriate to the case in question – they were – but whether the president should be excused from such questioning because he was the president.
Readers don’t need my help to form opinions on that. Opinions are likely to vary.
At any rate, the NYT article featuring the 20-year-old Kavanaugh memo was dated 20 August 2018, which would have been three weeks after Dianne Feinstein received the first communication from Christine Blasey Ford.
The article acknowledged that Kavanaugh softened his approach shortly after writing the August 1998 memo, and at one point even argued within the Starr team that details of the allegations about Clinton should be soft-pedaled in the Starr Report. As NYT says, Kavanaugh lost that argument, and the report did contain explicit details.
NYT also noted that Kavanaugh’s writings a decade later were more inclined to “give a break” to the president as regards bearing “some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship,” to include being the subject of criminal proceedings.
But the article concluded with this paragraph:
At the time, though [i.e., 1998], Mr. Kavanaugh took a hard line, aghast that Mr. Clinton had lied and tarnished the presidency — “all to cover up his oral sex from an intern.”
The Wikipedia entry also links to an extremely hostile September 2018 op-ed for NBC News written by David Brock, a Republican in 1998 but now a far-left political operative running dark-money PACs and the media consortium ShareBlue. Brock knew Kavanaugh in the 1990s, and fans a narrative of Kavanaugh as creepily obsessed with Hillary Clinton, conspiracy-minded about the Vincent Foster case, and seeking to smear Bill Clinton and set a perjury trap for him. Brock speaks of Kavanaugh as the “go-to man” for a flow of information from Clinton accuser Paula Jones to the Starr team:
… [a] critical flow of inside information [that] allowed Starr, in effect, to set a perjury trap for Clinton, laying the foundation for a crazed national political crisis and an unjust impeachment over a consensual affair.
NBC helpfully tweeted that op-ed from 19 days ago again on Wednesday, after putting up the new report about the anonymous complaint letter to Senator Gardner.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 26, 2018
In retrospect, it should probably have been more obvious that the Clintons, along with other longtime Democratic operatives, would harbor considerable resentment toward Brett Kavanaugh.
Another, and final, interesting observation for this post. Just after getting a load of what Wikipedia offers if you look up Brett Kavanaugh, and reading through the Brock op-ed from a couple of weeks ago, I saw CNN reporter Joan Walsh weigh in on Twitter on the latest allegation about Kavanaugh.
For the younger folk, 1998 was when Kavanaugh was helping Kenneth Starr ruin Bill Clinton over a consensual affair.
— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) September 26, 2018
“For the younger folk, 1998 was when Kavanaugh was helping Kenneth Starr ruin Bill Clinton over a consensual affair.” Walsh seems to have had that one pretty handy. She tweeted it 11 minutes after the NBC News tweet of the breaking news about the anonymous complaint.
There is more than one motive for the orchestrated attack on Kavanaugh, and I doubt simple “payback” is the chief one. But it looks like it probably is one.