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On Saturday, The New York Times published a newly-reported allegation of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, sparking renewed calls for his impeachment. And on Sunday morning, President Trump came to his nominee’s defense via Twitter.
The Times article reports that Kavanaugh’s former classmate Max Stier told the FBI that he had seen “Kavanaugh with his pants down at a … drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student.” Reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly wrote that they “corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier,” but that the FBI did not investigate the allegation.
The bulk of the piece focused on Deborah Ramirez, the second woman to publicly claim sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh following Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that the future Supreme Court Justice covered her mouth and attempted to sexually assault her while they were in high school. The article is adapted from Pogrebin and Kelly’s upcoming book, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation.
Ramirez says that during their freshman year at Yale in 1983, Kavanaugh “pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her, prompting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it” during another party. Pogrebin and Kelly reported that seven people say they were told of this account long before Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, including two former classmates who said they heard of the alleged incident within days of the gathering.
After dramatic Senate hearings that found Blasey Ford giving a wrenching account of her allegation against Kavanaugh, he was confirmed to the Supreme Court with a 50-48 vote last year.
The new report sparked outrage on social media, with #ImpeachKavanaugh and #KavanaughLied both trending on Twitter Sunday morning. “It’s more clear than ever that Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath,” wrote presidential candidate and former HUD Secretary Julián Castro on Twitter Saturday. “He should be impeached. And Congress should review the failure of the Department of Justice to properly investigate the matter.”
President Donald Trump—who has himself been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 17 women—defended his nominee.
In a now-deleted version of his second tweet, Trump initially misspelled “libel” as “liable.”
As with presidential impeachments, the impeachment of a member of the Supreme Court requires a majority vote in the House of Representatives, which then triggers a trial in the Senate. The House has only ever impeached one sitting justice, Samuel Chase, who was appointed by George Washington. The Senate voted to acquit Chase in 1805, and he served on the court until his death in 1811.