News & Politics

New York Times Book Review Dismissive of New Kavanaugh Book and Allegations

President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Sunday morning, President Trump accused Democrats and the media of trying to scare Brett Kavanaugh to vote liberal on the court with the latest smear against him. I wrote at the time that he was wrong, that this is about reviving interest in impeaching Kavanaugh to get him off the court. Turns out I was right, over the course of the day, several 2020 candidates came out calling for Kavanaugh’s impeachment. Clearly, none of them read the article because they would have realized just how incredibly weak the new accusation is. In fact, the book containing the new allegation, “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh,” by NYT reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, got a rather dismissive review in the New York Times—the very same publication that published the new accusation Saturday evening.

The review, written by Hanna Rosin, states that despite trying to paint Kavanaugh as a manipulative misogynist and compulsive drinker, “The picture that emerges of Kavanaugh as an actual student is admirable if indistinct.”

He works hard, graduates near or at the top in his class. A college friend recalls him having a neat stack of books and papers he would move through like a machine. A couple of people remember him as special but just as many remember him as “straightforward and uncomplicated” — or, as some college friends put it, “ham on white.” My favorite observation about his college years is: “Along with playing and writing about sports, Kavanaugh enjoyed watching them in his downtime.” Really, that could be anyone.

The review really seems the undermine the purpose of the book by pointing out that despite the extensive, year-long investigation by Pogrebin and Kelly, which included talking with witnesses, and even attempting to determine what house Christine Blasey Ford says she was assaulted in. “In the end they turn up no smoking gun, no secret confession, no friend who comes forth to say Kavanaugh was lying all this time.” The new accusation from Max Stier, a former lawyer for Hillary Clinton, isn’t addressed specifically, but they are perhaps even weaker than the Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez accusations. According to Stier, Kavanaugh’s “friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student” during a party a Yale. National Review’s John McCormack dismisses these allegations as “a dud” and not a bombshell.

Can someone explain the logistics of the allegation here? Was Kavanaugh allegedly walking around naked when his friends pushed him into the female student?

No, if I’m reading Pogrebin and Kelly right, the friends didn’t push Kavanaugh in the back. Rather, the “friends pushed his penis.”

What? How does that happen? Who are the friends? Who is the female student? Were there any witnesses besides Stier?

All that the authors write in the New York Times essay about corroborating the story is this: “Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly. (We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.)”

So they corroborated the fact that Stier made the allegation to the FBI, but the authors give no indication that they have corroborated any details of the alleged incident.

McCormack notes how the New York Times article on the new allegations omitted the fact that the woman Stier claims was the victim in this situation “denies any memory of the alleged event.” According to McCormack, “Omitting this fact from the New York Times story is one of the worst cases of journalistic malpractice in recent memory.”

Despite this, Democrats running for president are falling over each other, calling for Kavanaugh’s impeachment. Once again, willing to destroy a man’s life and reputation over a Supreme Court seat. None of the allegations against Kavanaugh have ever turned out to be credible or corroborated, and that says a lot about the forces that are trying to destroy him. It wasn’t over when Kavanaugh was confirmed. They will stop at nothing. They will continue to describe the allegations against Kavanaugh as “credible” even though they weren’t.

In the aftermath of the Kavanaugh smears last year, there was a surge of GOP enthusiasm which, many believe helped the GOP increase their majority in the Senate. This latest smear against Kavanaugh may motivate GOP voters again in 2020.