Hours ahead of Thursday morning’s Senate hearing about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the Republican-controlled Judiciary Committee muddied the waters by releasing information about two men who stepped forward to claim they’re the real perpetrators of the assault.
As BuzzFeed reports, “The committee didn’t identify the men, offer details about what they said, state whether committee staff found their accounts credible, or indicate whether there would be any further follow-up.” Committee staff interviewed each of the men between Monday and Wednesday.
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s attempt to sow doubt on the eve of Thursday’s hearing seems intended to cast doubt upon Ford’s unequivocal claim that Kavanaugh assaulted her. During a Fox & Friends interview on Thursday morning, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway seized upon the revelation as evidence that Kavanaugh might have been falsely accused.
"Both Dr Ford & Judge Kavanaugh may be right. That she had something very awful happen to her when she was 15 & K was not there, & was not involved whatsoever. That goes to credibility." pic.twitter.com/WIaGDyUHOK
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 27, 2018
A Democratic official told Politico they fear that Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) committee is intentionally trying to discredit accusers.
Senior Senate Dem aide tells me there's a concern the GOP is "now releasing anonymous allegations in an effort to make all allegations look frivolous. We’re focusing on the ones that have names attached." https://t.co/gdzmYJLdMM
— Elana Schor (@eschor) September 26, 2018
Releasing thin information about two anonymous men who claim to be the real assailants wasn’t the only misdirection pushed by Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) committee on Wednesday.
As CNN reports, the committee also released a transcript of a conference call with Kavanaugh in which they asked him about two new uncorroborated, anonymous allegations against him.
In the transcript released Wednesday, Kavanaugh denied an allegation that he assaulted a woman he was dating in 1998 while working for independent counsel Ken Starr that investigators said stemmed from an anonymous complaint sent to Colorado GOP Sen. Cory Gardner.
“No, and we’re dealing with an anonymous letter about an anonymous person and an anonymous friend,” Kavanaugh said. “It’s ridiculous. Total Twilight Zone. And no, I’ve never done anything like that.”
Kavanaugh then was asked about, and categorically denied, an allegation made by a Rhode Island man — whose name was redacted from the transcript — raised in a call to Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s office “concerning a rape on a boat in August of 1985.”
According to the transcript, Kavanaugh seized upon the new uncorroborated allegations to spread baseless conspiracy theories about the accusations made publicly against him by Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick. He described the new allegations as evidence of a “smear campaign” involving allegations that are “just absurd and outrageous, coordinated perhaps.”
The Judiciary Committee’s attempt to gaslight the public comes less than a week after allies of Kavanaugh pushed a quickly debunked conspiracy theory that Ford was mistaken about the identity of the man who assaulted her.
Ford, however, says she has no doubts that the man who assaulted her was Kavanaugh. And she has corroboration for her allegation.
On Wednesday, NBC obtained four sworn affidavits submitted to the committee that blew a hole in the conspiracy theory Kavanaugh has been spreading about how the allegations are nothing more than a “coordinated effort to destroy my good name.”
In the affidavits, Ford’s husband and three of her friends confirm that Ford told each of them about the alleged assault and identified Kavanaugh as the perpetrator as far back as 2012, and in each case before Trump selected Kavanaugh as a nominee to the Supreme Court.