President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, gestures over his notes as he testifies on the third day of his Senate Judiciary Committee...
Jacquelyn Martin

A background check or an ‘alibi for Republicans to vote for Kavanaugh’?

It may seem like ages ago, but it was just last week that we learned of Brett Kavanaugh’s second accuser. Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer reported for the New Yorker on an allegation from Deborah Ramirez, who was a classmate of the Supreme Court nominee at Yale.

Ramirez, who is now a board member at a non-profit group that helps victims of domestic violence, described a dorm-room party in which there was a significant amount of drinking. In her version of events, he exposed himself to her at the gathering, “thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away.”

Ramirez asked that the FBI examine her claim, and it now appears she is one of four people the bureau will speak to as part of the re-opened background check. But in a new piece for the New Yorker, Mayer and Farrow report that other fellow classmates have related information to share – and they’re running into some trouble.

A Yale classmate attempting to corroborate Deborah Ramirez’s account … has struggled unsuccessfully to reach the F.B.I. The classmate, who asked to remain anonymous, recalled hearing about Ramirez’s allegation either the night it happened or during the following two days. The classmate said that he was “one-hundred-per-cent certain” that he had heard an account that was practically identical to Ramirez’s, thirty-five years ago, but the two had never spoken about it. He had hoped to convey this to the F.B.I., but, when he reached out to a Bureau official in Washington, D.C., he was told to contact the F.B.I. field office nearest his home. When he tried that, he was referred to a recording. After several attempts to reach a live person at the field office, he finally reached an official who he said had no idea what he was talking about. At this point, he went back to the official at the F.B.I.’s D.C. headquarters, who then referred him, too, to an 800-number tip line. (He eventually left a tip through an online portal.)

“I thought it was going to be an investigation,” the Yale classmate said, “but instead it seems it’s just an alibi for Republicans to vote for Kavanaugh.”

Asked about Rameriz’s allegation during a Fox News interview last week, Kavanaugh denied the claim, adding, “If such as thing had a happened, it would’ve been the talk of campus.”

What if it was?

The same report from Farrow and Mayer quoted Roberta Kaplan, an attorney representing one potential witness, Elizabeth Rasor, a former girlfriend of Kavanaugh’s high-school friend Mark Judge. Rasor, a public-school teacher in New York, claims to have information about confessions Judge made to her privately – information she’s prepared to share with the FBI – but she’s also struggled to get a substantive response from the bureau.

Chad Ludington, a former classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Yale whom we discussed earlier, also claims to have information about the judge’s misstatements regarding his alcohol consumption. He, too, has run into hurdles sharing information with the FBI.

If you’re starting to worry that the bureau’s re-opened FBI background will be woefully incomplete, you’re not alone.

Bob Bauer, who was White House counsel during Barack Obama’s presidency, told the New Yorker that he’s never seen a background check so circumscribed. “The F.B.I. needs to utilize its expertise to investigate,” Bauer explained. “But instead the White House has dictated a restricted investigative plan. So it’s contaminated at the core.”