- Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his staff were reportedly sending text messages to former classmates to underplay allegations that he exposed himself during a party at Yale University.
- One of Kavanaugh’s friends said in a message that she corresponded with “Brett” and “Brett’s guy.”
- A recipient of the text messages said she forwarded them to the FBI because “they merit investigation by the FBI and the Senate.”
- She said she conveyed the contents of the messages to the FBI twice but had not heard back as of Monday morning.
- The timing of the text messages sent from Kavanaugh and members of his team may renew the inquiry surrounding testimony he gave to the Judiciary Committee last week.
- Kavanaugh previously testified that he had not discussed or heard of Ramirez’s allegations from The New Yorker.
- But Kavanaugh later appeared to contradict himself by saying he had heard that one of his accusers was “calling around to classmates trying to see if they remembered it.”
Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, and his staff were reportedly sending text messages to former classmates to underplay allegations that he’d exposed himself during a party at Yale University.
The text messages, obtained by NBC News, were reportedly between Kavanaugh’s friends, Kerry Berchem and Karen Yarasavage. Based on the contents of the messages, Kavanaugh himself may have reached out to his classmates to undercut the claims made by former classmate Deborah Ramirez, who told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh had exposed himself in front of others at a dorm-room party during the 1983-84 school year.
According to one message, Yarasavage said that Kavanaugh had asked her to defend him on the record, NBC News reported. Other messages indicate that Kavanaugh’s surrogates had communicated with his former classmates before the story’s publication.
Yarasavage said in a message that she corresponded with “Brett” and “Brett’s guy.” Bercham also claimed Yarasavage told her friend that she sent a copy of wedding-party photo that included Kavanaugh and Ramirez “to Brett’s team.”
Berchem confirmed that the messages were sent to her but said she had no knowledge of allegations against him.
“I am in receipt of text messages from a mutual friend of both Debbie and mine that raise questions related to the allegations,” Berchem said in a statement to NBC News. “I have not drawn any conclusions as to what the texts may mean or may not mean but I do believe they merit investigation by the FBI and the Senate.”
Berchem conveyed the contents of the messages to the FBI twice but said she had not heard back as of Monday morning. In a memo, Berchem reportedly wrote that Kavanaugh “and/or” his friends “may have initiated an anticipatory narrative” in order to “conceal or discredit” Ramirez, according to NBC News.
“I’m sure he’s really busy and expect that he’ll get back to me,” Berchem said, referring to an FBI agent.
Berchem, who is a constituent of Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, reportedly contacted the lawmaker’s office last week.
“After we were made to jump through several hoops that delayed our moving forward, it became clear that the majority Committee staff had not turned this summary over to the FBI and, in fact, had no intention of turning it over to the FBI,” a Blumenthal spokeswoman said to NBC News. “With our assistance, Kerry submitted her summary to the FBI herself.”
Senate Democrats, who will be voting on Kavanaugh’s nomination with their Republican counterparts later this week, have criticised the one-week time limit the FBI was given to conduct a supplemental investigation and its scope.
Voting for Kavanaugh’s nomination, which is expected to fall on party lines, remains a contentious proceeding because of key potential Republican holdouts, such as Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona.
Kavanaugh appears to flip-flop on the timing
The timing of the text messages sent from Kavanaugh and members of his team may spark questions surrounding his testimony before the Judiciary Committee last week. Kavanaugh had already been under intense scrutiny after former classmates and friends came forward to allege he had mischaracterized his drinking habits during his high school and college years.
On Tuesday, Kavanaugh testified that he had not discussed or heard of Ramirez’s allegations from The New Yorker report before its publication.
“All right,” an interviewer said in a redacted Judiciary Committee report. “My last question on this subject is since you graduated from college, but before [The] New Yorker article publication on September 23rd, have you ever discussed or heard discussion about the incident matching the description given by Ms. Ramirez to [The] New Yorker?”
“No,” Kavanaugh said, according to the transcript.
But Kavanaugh later appeared to contradict himself by saying he’d heard that Ramirez was “calling around to classmates trying to see if they remembered it.”
“And I, at least – and I, myself, heard about that, that she was doing that,” Kavanaugh said in the transcript.
Kavanaugh, who has denied all the allegations, suggested that Ramirez was shopping around with news outlets and colleagues to fabricate a story.
“It doesn’t sound fair,” he said. “It doesn’t sound proper. It sounds like an orchestrated hit to take me out. That’s what it sounds like.”
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