New allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh triggered a storm of controversy on Sunday, prompting calls by Democrats to impeach him after one year on the bench, while conservatives dismissed the charge as unfounded and President Trump cheered on a libel lawsuit.
At least three Democratic presidential candidates, former Housing Secretary Julian Castro and Sens. Kamala D. Harris and Elizabeth Warren, have called for impeachment.
“Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached,” tweeted Ms. Warren, who ranks somewhere between first and third in polling of the primary field.
Ms. Harris and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who did not explicitly support impeaching Justice Kavanaugh, sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee that oversaw the confirmation hearing and investigations. Both said Sunday that process was a “sham.”
“Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people,” Ms. Harris tweeted. “He was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice. He must be impeached.”
Republicans, however, said the news was a desperate show from liberals. President Trump even suggested that Justice Kavanaugh begin suing for libel, while accusing Democrats and the media of trying to bully the justice into “turning liberal.”
“The lies being told about him are unbelievable. False Accusations without recrimination. When does it stop? They are trying to influence his opinions. Can’t let that happen!” he tweeted Sunday morning.
The charges were based on a New York Times’ article focusing on Deborah Ramirez, who accused Justice Kavanaugh of thrusting his penis in her face at a party during their time at Yale. The article by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly is adapted from their anti-Kavanaugh book set for release this week.
The article found that none of the purported witnesses about whom Ms. Ramirez’s legal team told the FBI were interviewed and that her lawyers claiming the agents were limited by the Republican-held Senate Judiciary Committee on what they could investigate.
The FBI’s report on the claims from Ms. Ford and Ms. Ramirez was released in early October, but provided little clarity on the events. The investigators talked to 10 people, including three unnamed individuals related to Ms. Ramirez’s claims.
The New York Times article also reveals an accusation from Max Stier, a classmate at Yale, who claimed he saw Justice Kavanaugh with his pants down at a party and friends pressed his genitals into a different girl’s hand. The article says it “echoes Ms. Ramirez’s allegation” and lends credence to her claims.
Mr. Stier reached out to the FBI, but his claim wasn’t investigated, The Times reported. The Times did not report having tried to corroborate Mr. Stier’s account itself.
Mollie Hemingway, the author of a book defending Justice Kavanaugh, said the Times article left out an important detail included in Ms. Pogrebin and Ms. Kelly’s book, of which she received a copy.
“The book notes, quietly, that the woman Max Stier named as having been supposedly victimized by Kavanaugh and friends denies any memory of the alleged event,” she tweeted.