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On Thursday night, Washington, D.C. insider Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), suggested that Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, probably mixed him up with someone else. If true, this theory would explain why Kavanaugh vehemently denies the assault — and being at the party where it allegedly took place.
Whelan lit the spark for a firestorm of controversy on Tuesday by predicting that Kavanaugh will be “clearly vindicated” on the matter, “by one week from today.” He tweeted, “I expect that compelling evidence will show his categorical denial to be truthful. There will be no cloud over him.” He also predicted Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the first senator to see the allegations against Kavanaugh, would apologize.
By one week from today, I expect that Judge Kavanaugh will have been clearly vindicated on this matter. Specifically, I expect that compelling evidence will show his categorical denial to be truthful. There will be no cloud over him.
— Ed Whelan (@EdWhelanEPPC) September 18, 2018
On Thursday night, he explained his reasoning in a long Twitter thread.
Ed Whelan started by laying out “one set of reasons” having to do with the location of the alleged assault.
“According to Ford’s letter, the assault occurred ‘in a suburban Maryland area home at a gathering that included me and four others.’ Her WaPo account adds that the house was ‘not far from’ the Columbia Country Club,” he tweeted. “The ‘four others’ that she and her lawyer have identified are Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, P.J. Smyth, and a female classmate of Ford’s. None of the four lived in the vicinity of the Columbia Country Club.”
Whelan shared a map of the country club and the houses of each person in question. “Kavanaugh’s home was 3.6 miles away; Smyth’s 4.3 miles; Judge’s 10 miles; and the female classmate’s 7 miles,” he noted.
Then he zoomed in on one house that seems to fit Christine Blasey Ford’s account.
“Here is a house that is barely a half-mile from the Columbia Country Club. Street address: 3714 Thornapple Street, Chevy Chase,” Ed Whelan tweeted. He also shared a floor plan of the house.
“The floor plan corresponds closely to Ford’s description of the house where the gathering took place. Here’s the ‘short stair well’ (part of a U-shaped staircase with landing) running up from the foyer next to the living room,” he noted.
Whelan argued that a bedroom at the top of the stairs fit Ford’s account of the room she was “pushed” into, and a “hallway bathroom” fit the account of where she escaped after the alleged assault.
The party took place in a small family room, which also appears on the floor plan.
Here’s where it gets very interesting. This particular house was home to Chris Garrett, a Georgetown Prep classmate, friend, and Brett Kavanaugh’s football teammate.
“Folks who knew both Kavanaugh and Garrett in high school have commented on how much they resembled each other in appearance. Here are Kavanaugh and Garrett in their senior yearbook photos,” Ed Whelan tweeted.
Even in adulthood, Kavanaugh and Garrett look similar.
Then Whelan broke into speculation, connecting the dots.
“If you’re at a gathering of ‘four others’ in someone’s home, you’d ordinarily think that the four others include the host who lives in the home,” the EPPC president suggested. “And that host would be the person least likely to act like a guest and most likely to use private areas of the house.”
Whelan suggested that Kavanaugh was not there at the party in question. “Kavanaugh categorically denies being at the gathering and committing the assault. Beyond his countless character witnesses from then and now, Judge and Smyth have informed the Senate Judiciary Committee that they recall no such gathering *at which Kavanaugh was present*,” he tweeted.
Some might criticize Ed Whelan, saying his conjecture involves accusing Chris Garrett of sexual assault. The EPPC president made clear he was not accusing Garrett, however.
“To be clear, I have no idea what, if anything, did or did not happen in that bedroom at the top of the stairs, and I therefore do not state, imply or insinuate that Garrett or anyone else committed the sexual assault that Ford alleges,” Whelan tweeted.
“Further, if Ford is now mistakenly remembering Garrett to be Kavanaugh, I offer no view whether that mistaken remembrance dates from the gathering or developed at some point in the intervening years,” he added.
“Bottom line: I believe that a fair assessment of this evidence powerfully supports Judge Kavanaugh’s categorical denial,” Ed Whelan concluded.
Indeed, Ed Whelan’s alternate explanation seems plausible. It does provide specifics that have been sorely lacking from this accusation of sexual assault. It involves key aspects of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation as well as Kavanaugh’s categorical denial.
All that said, this is just a theory, and it may not prove true. It does, however, thread the needle between the two accounts in a rather plausible manner. If Ed Whelan’s theory is correct, Chris Garrett becomes the accused. In either case, the incident has long passed the statute of limitations. No charges will result from this assault — it is only a powerful smear with strong political implications.
Since Christine Blasey Ford is an activist liberal — who joined the anti-Trump Women’s March and the anti-Trump March for Science — and the Left has been presenting Kavanaugh as a threat to women’s rights (with protesters paid by the Women’s March dressing in outfits from “The Handmaids Tale”), it stands to reason that she might have decided to tell one lie to (in her mind) save the country.
Or she might have gotten so afraid of Kavanaugh that she misremembered the man involved, thinking Garrett was in fact Kavanaugh.
The judge’s account carries weight partially because a long line of women have vouched for his moral character. About 200 women have testified to Kavanaugh’s high moral character and respect for women. Two of his former girlfriends have called him “a perfect gentleman.” Kavanaugh coaches his daughter’s basketball team and literally made history for hiring the most female clerks on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
America may never know what exactly happened to Christine Blasey Ford all those years ago. She deserves to be heard, and she never deserved any threats against her. She also deserved the anonymity she requested originally.
In a blistering letter to his Democrat colleagues, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) attacked Feinstein for not privately asking Kavanaugh about these allegations when she first learned about them in June. Ford’s lawyers explained that Ford requested anonymity in delivering the accusations. Feinstein could have investigated the story in secret, without revealing it to the public. Indeed, Grassley suggested that Feinstein, in allowing Ford’s allegations to get out, has damaged the cause of whistleblowers and sexual accusers.
Toward the end of his theory, Ed Whelan lamented that private citizens have been “drawn into this” due to Feinstein’s “shockingly shoddy handling of the whole matter.”
“If the matter had been handled as it should have been, the Committee would have investigated the matter over the summer and resolved it privately to everyone’s satisfaction without the smearing of Kavanaugh and the dragging of the names of others into the public eye,” Ed Whelan tweeted.
On that, he is almost certainly correct, unless the Senate investigation can prove Kavanaugh’s guilt, which seems highly doubtful.
On Friday morning, Whelan tweeted an apology for publicly naming Garrett.
“I made an appalling and inexcusable mistake of judgment in posting the tweet thread in a way that identified Kavanaugh’s Georgetown Prep classmate. I take full responsibility for that mistake, and I deeply apologize for it,” Whelan tweeted. “I realize that does not undo the mistake.”
I made an appalling and inexcusable mistake of judgment in posting the tweet thread in a way that identified Kavanaugh's Georgetown Prep classmate. I take full responsibility for that mistake, and I deeply apologize for it. I realize that does not undo the mistake.
— Ed Whelan (@EdWhelanEPPC) September 21, 2018
Whelan has rightly received criticism for naming Garrett, publicly involving him in the sexual assault claims. Another man does not deserve to be publicly named in this allegation, especially without evidence. That said, Whelan named Garrett to bolster his claims, and Garrett’s photo was sadly necessary for Whelan to make his case.
Perhaps Whelan should have sent this evidence to Senators privately, rather than posting them on Twitter. Confidentiality is extremely important in these matters, as Kavanaugh’s wife well knows. Innocent men do not deserve to be named in sexual assault allegations, and this can be extremely damaging for their families. Even if Garrett is guilty, he should not be named until it can be proved he was the culprit.
Where did the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” go?
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.