A second woman has come forward accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, The New Yorker reports, a development that puts his confirmation further into doubt.
The alleged incident occurred while Kavanaugh was a freshman at Yale University, and it is reportedly being investigated by at least two Democratic offices on Capitol Hill. Taylor Foy, a spokesman for the Republican side of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the GOP staff only learned of the new allegation from the New Yorker article and was not informed ahead of time, prompting Foy to accuse Democrats of leaking information “at politically opportune moments.”
The woman, 53-year-old Deborah Ramirez, alleges that Kavanaugh “thrust his penis in her face” during a party. She said she pushed him away after his penis touched her. She claimed Kavanaugh was laughing, adding: “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.”
Kavanaugh is set to testify about another allegation of sexual impropriety on Thursday. But later Sunday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the top Democrat on the judiciary committee, called for “an immediate postponement of any further proceedings related to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.” She also said the FBI should look into Ramirez’s allegations.
“Should the White House continue to refuse to direct the FBI to do its job, the Committee must subpoena all relevant witnesses,” Feinstein wrote to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chairman of the committee. “It is time to set politics aside. We must ensure that a thorough and fair investigation is conducted before moving forward.”
Foy said Democrats were “more interested in a political takedown than pursuing allegations through a bipartisan and professional investigative process.” He also said neither Ramirez nor her attorneys contacted Grassley’s office, adding that the committee “will attempt to evaluate these new claims.”
Ramirez was initially reluctant to go public, she says, citing gaps in her memory due to the fact that she was inebriated that night. But according to The New Yorker, she spent six days “carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney” and eventually felt comfortable with coming forward. Now she wants the FBI to investigate the alleged incident.
“I wasn’t going to touch a penis until I was married,” Ramirez told the magazine. “I was embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated.”
Kavanaugh denies the allegation.
“This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen,” he said in a statement. “The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so. This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name—and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building—against these last-minute allegations.”
The White House is standing by Kavanaugh, calling Ramirez’s claim a political hit-job.
“This 35-year-old, uncorroborated claim is the latest in a coordinated smear campaign by the Democrats designed to tear down a good man,” said spokeswoman Kerri Kupec. “This claim is denied by all who were said to be present and is wholly inconsistent with what many women and men who knew Judge Kavanaugh at the time in college say. The White House stands firmly behind Judge Kavanaugh.”
White House allies went on offense, too. Carrie Severino, a top Kavanaugh surrogate with the Judicial Crisis Network, said in a statement that the new claim “has all of the ingredients of a smear campaign on steroids.”
The New Yorker spoke with one of Ramirez’s classmates, who preferred not to be identified and said he was “100 percent sure” that another student informed him of the alleged incident shortly afterward, and that the other student named Kavanaugh as the individual who exposed himself to Ramirez. “I’ve known this all along,” the classmate said. “It’s been on my mind all these years when his name came up. It was a big deal.”
But two male classmates identified by Ramirez as having “egged on” Kavanaugh said they have no memory of the party in question.
Attorney Michael Avenatti, who represents Stormy Daniels, wrote on Twitter on Sunday night that he represents “a woman with credible information regarding Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge,” the man who was allegedly present during a separate incident detailed by Christine Blasey Ford. Avenatti later said Ramirez is not his client. The judiciary committee reached out to Avenatti shortly after his tweets were posted.
Ford, who is also scheduled to testify before the judiciary committee on Thursday, alleges that Kavanaugh pinned her down and tried to take her clothes off during a party while they were in high school. Kavanaugh denies that allegation.
Republican senators were largely silent on Sunday night after Ramirez went public. As they return to Washington on Monday, all eyes will be on Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Bob Corker (R-TN). Those lawmakers had called on the judiciary committee to press the pause button after Ford came forward last weekend, and Republican leaders are expected to lean heavily on their reactions in developing a response.