NBC: Kavanaugh Conspired With His Team To Undermine His Second Accuser's Claims
In the days prior to a second woman going public with sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee and his team reportedly exchanged text messages with friends to refute the claim, NBC News reported Monday.
> Kerry Berchem, who was at Yale with both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Deborah Ramirez, has tried to get those messages to the FBI for its newly reopened investigation into the matter but says she has yet to be contacted by the bureau.
> The texts between Berchem and Karen Yarasavage, both friends of Kavanaugh, suggest that the nominee was personally talking with former classmates about Ramirez’s story in advance of the New Yorker article that made her allegation public. In one message, Yarasavage said Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense. Two other messages show communication between Kavanaugh's team and former classmates in advance of the story.
However, two days after Ramirez’s allegations were reported by The New Yorker, Kavanaugh claimed it was his accuser who was reaching out to friends, as part of “an orchestrated hit”.
> In [now-public transcripts](https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/09.25.18%20BMK%20Interview%20Transcript%20(Redacted%29..pdf) from an interview with Republican Judiciary Committee staff on September 25, two days after the Ramirez allegations were reported in the New Yorker, Kavanaugh claimed that it was Ramirez who was “calling around to classmates trying to see if they remembered it,” adding that it “strikes me as, you know, what is going on here? When someone is calling around to try to refresh other people? Is that what’s going on? What’s going on with that? That doesn’t sound — that doesn’t sound — good to me. It doesn’t sound fair. It doesn’t sound proper. It sounds like an orchestrated hit to take me out.”
> The texts also demonstrate that Kavanaugh and Ramirez were more socially connected than previously understood and that Ramirez was uncomfortable around Kavanaugh when they saw each other at a wedding 10 years after they graduated. Berchem's efforts also show that some potential witnesses have been unable to get important information to the FBI.
In a statement to NBC News, Berchem said she has “no direct or indirect knowledge about any of the allegations against” Kavanaugh; however, the former classmate said she is “in receipt of text messages from a mutual friend of both Debbie and mine that raise questions related to the allegations” and believes they warrant the attention of the FBI.
> Berchem, 51, a graduate of Yale and a Connecticut resident, reached out to Sen. Richard Blumenthal's office last week. Blumenthal, a Democrat, sits on the Judiciary Committee.
> “We heard from Kerry late on Thursday and submitted her summary to the Judiciary Committee early Friday,” a spokeswoman for Blumenthal said in a statement to NBC News. “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. With our assistance, Kerry submitted her summary to the FBI herself.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s spokesman said “the texts from Ms. Berchem do not appear relevant or contradictory to Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony."
However, this appears untrue.
> Berchem's texts with Yarasavage shed light on Kavanaugh’s personal contact with friends, including that he obtained a copy of a photograph of a small group of friends from Yale at a 1997 wedding in order to show himself smiling alongside Ramirez 10 years after they graduated. Both were in the wedding party: Kavanaugh was a groomsman and Ramirez a bridesmaid at the wedding.
> On Sept, 22nd, Yarasavage texted Berchem that she had shared the photo with “Brett’s team.”
> But when Kavanaugh was asked about the wedding during a committee interview on Sept. 25th, he said he was “probably” at a wedding with Ramirez. Asked if he interacted with her at the wedding, Kavanaugh replied, “I am sure I saw her because it wasn’t a huge wedding,” but added that he “doesn’t have a specific recollection.” Lying to Congress is a felony whether testimony is taken under oath or not.
Kavanaugh also told the committee that the first time he heard of Ramirez’s allegation was when The New Yorker reported the story, on September 23.
> In a series of texts before the publication of the New Yorker story, Yarasavage wrote that she had been in contact with “Brett's guy,” and also with “Brett,” who wanted her to go on the record to refute Ramirez. According to Berchem, Yarasavage also told her friend that she turned over a copy of the wedding party photo to Kavanaugh, writing in a text: “I had to send it to Brett’s team too.”