One day after Sen. Dianne Feinstein cryptically confirmed the existence of a secret letter containing “information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” we now have a little more insight into the allegations leveled against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick.
Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer reported in The New Yorker on Friday that the letter accuses Kavanaugh of “sexual misconduct” stemming from an incident when the nominee was in high school, decades earlier. Per their report:
In the letter, the woman alleged that, during an encounter at a party, Kavanaugh held her down, and that he attempted to force himself on her. She claimed in the letter that Kavanaugh and a classmate of his, both of whom had been drinking, turned up music that was playing in the room to conceal the sound of her protests, and that Kavanaugh covered her mouth with his hand. She was able to free herself.
While rumors regarding the mysterious letter had previously pointed toward some sort of incident involving Kavanaugh and the as-of-yet un-identified woman while the pair were in high school, Farrow and Mayer’s report is the first to offer specific allegations about the incident involving Trump’s nominee.
In a statement to the magazine, Kavanaugh said: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.” Kavanaugh’s classmate, whom the reporters do not name, also said of the allegation: “I have no recollection of that.” The woman declined to be interviewed by The New Yorker.
After Feinstein confirmed the letter’s existence, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley released a letter Friday morning by 65 women who said they knew Kavanaugh in high school that said he “behaved honorably and treated women with respect.”
Adding to the mystery surrounding the claims is Feinstein’s bizarre handling of the information, which was reportedly passed to her by Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo. Prior to her publicly confirming that she possessed the letter, The Intercept reported on Wednesday that Feinstein had declined requests from fellow Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to see the letter. Citing “a source familiar with the committee’s activities,” Farrow and Mayer reported that Feinstein told her colleagues the alleged incident had occurred too long ago to be brought up now, and that she had “taken care of it.”
Feinstein said in her statement on Thursday that she raised the allegations in the letter with federal investigators. CNN reported the letter sparked no investigation and that it was simply added to Kavanaugh’s background file.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Kavinaugh’s nomination on Sept. 20.