The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow defended their reporting Monday morning about a second woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, while Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway pointed to a New York Times article to highlight issues with the story.
“This is starting to feel like a vast left-wing conspiracy,” she said in an interview for CBS’ “This Morning.”
The Times published a report about the first Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford, which included a few paragraphs addressing the latest accusations made by Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate. In its piece, it noted that after contacting several dozen classmates, The Times could not find any supporting evidence.
“The Times had interviewed several dozen people over the past week in an attempt to corroborate her story, and could find no one with firsthand knowledge,” The Times wrote. “Ms. Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the incident and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself.”
Mrs. Conway said The Times’ made that point in the article, “Not because they are supportive of the president’s Supreme Court nominee, but because they have some standards.”
The Times acknowledged in a separate article that many used their piece to counter The New Yorker.
“Many cited a Times article that said The Times had conducted numerous interviews but was unable to corroborate Ms. Ramirez’s story,” they wrote. “But The Times did not rebut her account and, unlike The New Yorker, was not able to obtain an interview with Ms. Ramirez.”
During an interview on CNN’s “New Day,” Mr. Farrow argued that the New Yorker article does have corroborating testimony.
Mr. Farrow explained that there were “several accounts” from other classmates that heard about the incident in the days following the party, and one had the same fact pattern as Ms. Ramirez despite never speaking with her.
In the New Yorker article, the email chain and two classmates were described supporting Ms. Ramirez’ claims.
One of those accounts, who wished to remain anonymous in print, heard about it second-hand but still said he was “one hundred percent sure” he heard Brett Kavanaugh was involved. The other classmate, Richard Oh, said he overheard someone “tearfully” recounting the incident but didn’t know who.
The two men alleged to be at the party, the wife of another man supposedly involved and three other classmates all denied the incident.
“We were the people closest to Brett Kavanaugh during his first year at Yale. He was a roommate to some of us, and we spent a great deal of time with him, including in the dorm where this incident allegedly took place,” they said in a statement to the New Yorker. “Some of us were also friends with Debbie Ramirez during and after her time at Yale. We can say with confidence that if the incident Debbie alleges ever occurred, we would have seen or heard about it — and we did not.”
The New Yorker updated its story Monday night after two of the other three classmates requested to remove their name from the statement. They said that they had not heard about it, but also did not want to dispute Ms. Ramirez’s account since they were not present at the incident.
The wife was also described as a former friend of Ms. Ramirez, and said, “This is a woman I was best friends with. We shared intimate details of our lives. And I was never told this story by her, or by anyone else. It never came up. I didn’t see it; I never heard of it happening.”
“This is a fairly high level of evidence for this kind of case,” Mr. Farrow said. “This exceeds the evidentiary basis we’ve used in the past in several cases that were found to be very credible.”
“We found classmates had been talking about this for weeks and months since July. There’d been an email chain of Yale classmates of Kavanaugh talking about will this thing come out? — long before Christine Blasey Ford came forward,” Ms. Mayer said in her interview on CBS’ “This Morning.”
Both Ms. Mayer and Mr. Farrow argue that the eyewitnesses that denied the incident were also alleged to have “egged” Judge Kavanaugh on in the moment.
“It’s not surprising that they don’t want to say more,” Ms. Mayer said.
• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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