Politics

Here’s why Elizabeth Warren is now calling for Brett Kavanaugh’s impeachment

"Confirmation is not exoneration, and these newest revelations are disturbing."

Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee last September.

President Donald Trump isn’t the only one who Elizabeth Warren thinks should be impeached.

The Massachusetts senator suggested that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh should be removed from the bench, following new allegations of sexual misconduct during his time in college.

“Confirmation is not exoneration, and these newest revelations are disturbing,” Warren tweeted Sunday. “Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.”

Only one Supreme Court justice has ever been impeached by the House of Representatives. Here’s why Warren is calling for Kavanaugh to be the second.

What are the newest developments?

Kavanaugh was narrowly confirmed by the Senate on mostly party lines last October, following a brief FBI investigation into three separate accusations of decades-old sexual misconduct that surfaced during his confirmation hearing. Kavanaugh categorically denied the accusations in all three accounts.

One of his accusers, former Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez, told The New Yorker at the time that Kavanaugh pulled out his penis and put it in front of her face during a drunken dorm-room party when they were both freshmen. After contacting several other Yale classmates, investigators last fall said they “found no verifiable evidence to support Ramirez’s allegations.”

However, a New York Times story Saturday, excerpting an upcoming book on Kavanaugh’s early life, complicates that conclusion.

According to the Times, at least seven people, including Ramirez’s mother, “heard about the Yale incident long before Mr. Kavanaugh was a federal judge.” Two of them were Yale students who reportedly heard about it within days of the date of the party in question.

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Additionally, the two Times reporters who wrote the book, “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation,” revealed Saturday that they had uncovered a very similar-sounding story, which the FBI did not investigate, even though it was apparently brought to their attention.

However, the story was only recalled by a third party — and not by the female student who was allegedly subject to Kavanaugh’s behavior:

A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. 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; the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say she does not recall the episode.

Kavanaugh reportedly declined to respond to questions about Stier’s account.

For her part, Warren was opposed to Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination even before any sexual misconduct accusations surfaced, citing his record on reproductive rights and “loyalty to big business.”

During his confirmation hearing, she accused Kavanaugh of lying and Senate Republicans of rushing a “sham” investigation into the misconduct accounts. In the wake of the new Times report, she reiterated Sunday that Kavanaugh’s nomination was “rammed through the Senate without a thorough examination of the allegations against him.”

Now, Warren says the situation calls for a House impeachment inquiry.

What are other 2020 candidates saying?

Warren is hardly the only, nor the first, Democratic presidential candidate to call for Kavanaugh’s impeachment.

Julian Castro, the former housing secretary and San Antonio mayor running for president, was the first out of the gate Saturday, calling for impeachment, as well as a congressional review of the FBI’s prior investigation.

California Sen. Kamala Harris, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker all echoed that call Sunday, citing the new evidence, as well as Kavanaugh’s testimony last fall, in which he repeatedly mischaracterized what others recalled about his alleged misconduct and use of alcohol.

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“This new allegation and additional corroborating evidence adds to a long list of reasons why Brett Kavanaugh should not be a Supreme Court justice,” Booker tweeted.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg told CNN in a statement Sunday that the House should impeach Kavanaugh, if he doesn’t resign first.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — who primarily cited his opposition to what he characterized as Kavanaugh’s pro-Wall Street record — tweeted Sunday that he supports “any appropriate constitutional mechanism to hold him accountable,” but didn’t specifically mention impeachment.

Several candidates did not immediately commit to backing impeachment, instead calling for further investigation into the accusations. Former Vice President Joe Biden told Axios in a statement that the Times report “raises again profoundly troubling questions about the integrity of the confirmation process” and that “we must follow the evidence wherever it leads.”

Billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also called for renewed investigations.

Trump, in a series of tweets Sunday and Monday, doubled down on his Supreme Court pick and attacked the media for reporting the new details.

“Now the Radical Left Democrats and their Partner, the LameStream Media, are after Brett Kavanaugh again, talking loudly of their favorite word, impeachment,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “He is an innocent man who has been treated HORRIBLY.”

While he didn’t directly address the report that seven other people heard about the incident Ramirez described, Trump did latch on to the detail that the woman who was allegedly subject to Kavanaugh’s behavior in the newly reported incident didn’t recall the incident.

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“DO YOU BELIEVE WHAT THESE HORRIBLE PEOPLE WILL DO OR SAY,” the president said. “They are looking to destroy, and influence his opinions – but played the game badly. They should be sued!”